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IDB and Jewish communities of Latin America and the United States to meet on fighting poverty

The Inter-American Development Bank and representatives of Jewish communities in the United States and Latin America will host an international dialogue on strategies on fighting poverty at a meeting to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Dec. 9-10.

In addition to representatives of Jewish communities of the Western Hemisphere, delegates will include Argentine authorities and other prominent personalities who will discuss the serious social problem of the "new poor," former middle class sectors who have fallen into poverty.

The meeting, organized by the IDB’s Inter-American Initiative for Social Capital, Ethics and Development, the Latin American Jewish Congress, JOINT of the United States and the Tzedaká Foundation of Buenos Aires, is among the dialogues that the IDB is promoting among religious communities of the region to unite efforts at social action. Similar meetings have been held with the Catholic Church and with Protestant and Evangelical church representatives.

"We are convoking Jewish communities, as we did with Catholic and Protestant communities, from the perspective of a joint social responsibility," said IDB President Enrique V. Iglesias said. "We must face up to social realities that are hitting is every day and which democratic Latin America should not allow."

Iglesias highlighted the social action of Jewish communities, describing them as "masters of the field of solidarity and volunteer work." By uniting efforts of governments and civil society in all their expressions, with the cooperation of international organizations, we can advance in the direction pointed out to us thousands of years ago by the prophets, whose transcendental social message has been a point of reference and inspiration for social reforms that represent the best intentions of humanity, Iglesias added.

The meeting is to be inaugurated by Argentine President Fernando de la Rúa; President Iglesias; Israel Singer, president of the World Jewish Congress; and Abraham Burg, president of Israel’s Knesset.

Co-sponsors of the event are the governments of Argentina, the City of Buenos Aires and the province of Buenos Aires; the Organization of American States; the United Nations Development Programme; the University of Buenos Aires; and the main Jewish institutions of Latin America, the United States, Canada and Israel.

Among the speakers will be the first lady of Peru, Eliane Karp de Toledo; the vice minister of education of Chile, José Wainstein; Moisés Starkman Minister of Social Investment of Honduras; the planning minister of the Province of Buenos Aires, José Octavio Bordón; Don Terry, manager of the Multilateral Investment Fund; and IDB Secretary Carlos Ferdinand.

Other presentations will be made by Claudia Costin of the World Bank; the director of World Hillel, Jay Rubin; the community development director of JOINT, Alberto Senderey; the Secretary of Social Promotion of the City of Buenos Aires; Jorge Sapoznikow, regional chief of the IDB State and Civil Society Division for Central America; Gabriela González Gass; the director of the Latin American Jewish Congress, Manuel Tenembaun; Arturo Garzón of the OAS; and Bernardo Kliksberg, coordinator of the IDB’s Inter-American Initiative for Social Capital, Ethics and Development.

Several workshops will analyze topics such as problems of the new poor and the creation of strategic alliances to deal with that issue; recycling and training for new labor opportunities; the impact of poverty of the family and community integration; and new ideas to deal with unemployment.

Kliksberg emphasized that the meeting will be focused on the search for concrete solutions. Important experiences and projects relevant to fighting against the deterioration of the middle sectors in Latin America and attempts will be made to find common solutions.

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