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Dec 29, 2013

no more #Tomorrow for the President's Conference

The past 5 years there has been an annual conference in Jerusalem called The President's Conference. President Shimon Peres was behind it. The conference took place in the International Convention Center, Binyanei HaUma, and it was an elegant and prestigious affair. World leaders from all walks of life flew to Israel to be a part of it. Leading politicians, businessmen, doctors, economists, environmentalists, social entrepreneurs, innovators, scientists, religious leaders, academics, entertainers, and on and on (and even Dr. Ruth Westheimer!). They would come and talk about what needs to be done, what is being done, what Israel is doing, how Israel is a leader in this or that.

A lot of pomp and circumstance.

The past couple of years saw the conference come under a lot of criticism. Some were upset that one could not find an Israeli flag anywhere near the conference. Others were upset with the high cost of the event. Even though it was funded by private donations and was not coming from the taxpayers pockets, many people thought it inappropriate to have such an expensive event at a time when so  many Israelis are having a hard time making it to the end of the month.

Personally, I felt that even if it was a bit "over the top" it was still worth it. it brought great PR to Israel on the world stage, it brought world leaders to Israel, it had world leaders talking nicely about Israel, and I am sure many of the workshops probably spurred ideas for innovation and/or improvement in various fields. Maybe certain things could have been changed, I don't know, but overall I think it was a positive event that was worth having, especially as it came at no cost to the taxpayer.

Unfortunately, the President's Conference is no more.

Walla News is reporting, and one of the organizers confirmed it for me, that there will be no President's Conference this year, and probably not at all in the future.

There were actually two problems with the upcoming President's Conference:
1. it has been held annually in June, and this years conference would have been very close to the time in which Shimon Peres would finish his term as president and a new president would be stepping in.
2. The cost, and according to Walla the criticism as a result of the cost.

It is a shame that the conference is being canceled. It could have been scaled down a bit, the schedule changed - the issues do not seem so major that they could not be overcome.

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