South Africa is set to play host to world renowned Palestinian-Canadian human rights lawyer, Diana Buttu, between the 6th and 14th October. She will be conducting a host of public lectures across the country, as well as taking part in a number of fundraising events.
A former spokesperson for the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), Buttu is synonymous for her involvement in peace negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli organizations. A strong activist for the Palestinian cause, she has often called for sanction to be imposed against Israeli until the occupied territories have been returned.
Raised in Canada to Arab citizens of Israel, Buttu has stated that she never identified as a Palestine until a visit to the region in 1987. Her visit came just days prior to the first Intifada.
Following the outbreak of the second Intifada in September 2000, she began working as a negotiator and spokesperson for the PLO’s Negotiations Support Unit. She has also worked for the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) as a political analyst, and has been involved in numerous debates advancing the Palestinian cause.
She holds various degrees including a B.A in Middle East and Islamic Studies from the University of Toronto, a J.S.M from Stanford Law School, a J.D at Queen’s University, and an M.B.A from the Northwestern University.
Buttu will kick off her tour with a public lecture at the University of Johannesburg on Monday 6th October. The following day she will be in Pretoria for a fundraising dinner for the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund. On Wednesday and Thursday she will host public lectures in Durban and Pietermaritzburg respectively. On Thursday night, Buttu will be joining Johannesburg based CII Broadcasting for a live pledgeline between 20:00pm and 22:00pm, before attending another fundraiser in Lenasia the next day.
In Cape Town, Buttu will be taking part in the International Crime Conference at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, on Monday the 13th October. An event has also been scheduled for the 12th, will details still to follow.
For more information on the tour, visit the website at http://dianabuttu.com/. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)