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The Last Word: Pitching Dialogue

Welcomed as special guests at the baseball game between the Washington Nationals and the New York Mets was the "Delegation of Muslim & Jewish Leaders from the Southern Hemisphere." The announcement brought cheers and applause.

As part of that delegation, I spent two intensive days in Washington with colleagues from Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. We had ample opportunity to discuss distinctive features of our varying national experiences, issues which divide as well as unite us and determine what we could learn from our US hosts.

The Last Word: A very long-term Engagement

The American Jewish Committee is, by any standards, an outstanding organisation, and its May 2012 Annual Meeting and Global Forum provided testimony to this effect.

From debates on Iran featuring analysts who individually would command respect and attention due to their expertise; through sessions where a variety of serving Ministers for International Affairs shared understandings of contemporary challenges; to a hugely informative and educational debate on the strengths and weaknesses of President Obama and Mitt Romney - there was hardly a word spoken which was unnecessary or uninteresting.

First ever Jewish Australian involvement in high-level Vatican Dialogue

For the first time, an Australian has participated in the Jewish delegation to the International Liaison Committee, in which Jewish representatives meet with Vatican appointees to further Jewish-Catholic understanding and dialogue.

Jeremy Jones, Director of International and of Community Affairs for the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council, participated in the meeting in Paris last week, as one of the 25 members of the delegation from the International Jewish Committee on Inter-religious Consultations (Jeremy Jones is also the first Australian to serve on that body).