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Group focuses on human rights

Story by Laura Sigal

The Middle East: a place making headlines around the world. From the Arab Spring to the Arab-Israeli conflict, there is no shortage of news coming out of the Middle East. For Drake students a new club is hoping to come to campus for those interested in viewing the Middle East from the side of a humanitarian. The Middle East Peace and Prosperity Alliance hopes to promote awareness on Drake’s campus and in the Des Moines community of human rights issues in the Middle East.

Hannah Shell and Nickey Jafari thought of the idea for the new club and put their idea to action this semester. After gathering members for the club and planning events the Middle East Peace and Prosperity Alliance will be going to Student Senate with hopes of becoming an official Drake organization this week.

Drake’s mission statement promises to prepare students for responsible global citizenship. The Middle East Peace and Prosperity Alliance hopes to further the mission on Drake’s campus as well as in the Des Moines community.

“Different political lobbies can influence the way that reporting comes out, especially about the Middle East,” Shell said.

This plays a big part in the group. It hopes to bring speakers to campus as well as work with local human rights organizations and host a variety of different activities that Drake and the local community can enjoy.

The group’s first event is working with a local chapter of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Quaker organization that works with many issues and focuses on respecting human life.

“I’m really big on human rights,” Jafari said, which explains why the first event will focus on human rights in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The event will be a forum sponsored by the AFSC. The forum hopes to look at both sides of the conflict and how to approach it from a grassroots perspective.

“How can we abandon our own ideas and opinions of what needs to happen and help the people that are suffering?” Shell said.

The forum is still in the works and more information will be available as the date is finalized.

The forum is just the beginning for the club, the Middle East Peace and Prosperity Alliance is just getting started and is ready to bring tons of events to campus. If you would like to get involved or learn more about this organization contact Shell or Jafari at hannah.shell@drake.edu and nickey.jafari@drake.edu.


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