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Inspire Middle East

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Activist Kerry Kennedy says the Middle East region is in transition

Inspire middle east

<p>With an uncle who served as a President of the United States, and a father who ran for office, human rights activist Kerry Kennedy has a unique perspective on the state of politics and a free press in her homeland today. </p> <p>“President Trump has really said the media is the enemy,” she told Inspire Middle East’s Rebecca McLaughlin-Eastham. “He has targeted journalists and thrown journalists out of the White House, because he didn’t like the questions they were asking. [And] you know how important journalism is to routing out corruption and especially to protecting our democracy.”</p> <p>Never before, says Kerry, who recently attended the Milken Institute’s Middle East Summit in Abu Dhabi, has it been more important to hold heads of state accountable for their actions. </p> <p>It’s a theory that the author and campaigner explores through her work, and in her book, Speak Truth to Power: Human Rights Defenders Who Are Changing Our World. </p> <p><img src="https://static.euronews.com/articles/107/16/1071699/1600x900_bonus-s3e14-ime-bb1-080420.jpg" alt="" /><br /> <em>Kerry Kennedy during the interview with Inspire Middle East’s Rebecca McLaughlin-Eastham.</em></p> <h2>Kennedy on Middle East politics</h2> <p>During her time in the <span class="caps">UAE</span> capital, Kennedy shared her thoughts on the Middle East and North Africa’s current social, political and economic landscape.</p> <p>“I think this is a region in transition, and I think that’s good,” she says. “Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘History bends towards justice,’ and that is certainly the trend in the Middle East. I think the first thing government’s really need to do, is look at the laws. They need to ratify the <span class="caps">ILO</span> conventions that protect women at work. They need to implement pay equity and make sure that women have basic rights that allow them to flourish in an economy.”</p> <p>Since 1981, Kennedy has campaigned against human rights injustices, not only the U.S, but as far afield as China, Morocco and Gaza. </p> <p>She spearheads the Robert F. Kennedy Centre for Human Rights and is proud to carry on the work of her late father, who was assassinated whilst campaigning to be in the Oval Office. </p> <h2>The famous Kennedy clan</h2> <p>“When Daddy ran for president in 1968, he said, ‘Peace, justice and compassion towards those who suffer.’” she says. “I think that’s what our country is yearning for today. I think people want leadership that they believe in, and they want a future where their kids will do better than they did.” </p> <p>Kennedy doesn’t rule out a time when a member of her famous clan will once again lead the country. </p> <p><img src="https://static.euronews.com/articles/107/16/1071699/1600x900_bonus-s3e14-ime-bb2-080420.jpg" alt="" /><br /> <em>Kerry Kennedy with her family and father, former U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.</em></p> <p>“Oh, I hope so,” she beams. “I have a nephew called Joe Kennedy. He’s running for Senate right now and I just think he’s got all the markings of a great president.” </p> <p>Kennedy is the seventh child of former U.S. Attorney General, Bobby Kennedy and Ethel Skakel. Kennedy, now 60-years-old, was just eight when her father was assassinated. Her mother, pregnant with her 11th child at the time, raised Kerry and her siblings to be socially responsibly and actively involved in improving the lives of others. </p> <p>Despite the tragedy that has beset her famous family down the years, Kennedy says their strong belief system, and closeness, has seen them through tough professional and personal times. </p> <p>“I feel I’ve been so blessed coming from my family, having a father who I was so close to…my uncle Jack [President John F. Kennedy], as well, and so many other people in my family. Eunice Shriver, who started the Special Olympics,” Kennedy reflects. “Coming from our family, there’s a core value system that we hold together. We have this incredible sense of love and commitment towards one another.”</p> <p><img src="https://static.euronews.com/articles/107/16/1071699/1600x900_bonus-s3e14-ime-bb3-080420.jpg" alt="" /><br /> <em>Kerry Kennedy’s father Robert F. Kennedy and her uncle U.S. President John F. Kennedy.</em></p> <h2>Empowering the next generation</h2> <p>Kennedy is dedicated to continuing her human rights work, which has seen her target issues from the abuse of women’s rights to child labour and criminal justice reform.</p> <p>“We sued the government of Colombia and won that lawsuit – and it’s the first time in the history of Latin America where a government was held accountable for the assassination of a journalist, Nelson Carvajal,” she says. “We also got legislation passed in New York State for the protection of agriculture workers. Before, they had no right to a day off per week, no right to overtime pay.”</p> <p><img src="https://static.euronews.com/articles/107/16/1071699/1600x900_bonus-s3e14-ime-bb4-080420.jpg" alt="" /><br /> <em>Kerry Kennedy’s mission is to educate and empower students to become leaders and activists.</em></p> <p>To date, Kennedy’s foundation has educated millions of students in human rights and she is passionate about empowering the next generation of activists and leaders.</p> <p>Compassion, peace and fairness are beliefs and rules of social engagement that Kennedy believes are best instilled early on, just as her family had with her.</p> <p>“My father was Attorney General at the height of the civil rights movement,” she says. “So, when I learned to tie my shoes, I made sure if I put my left one on first, I tied my right one first. Because I wanted there to be fairness and no discrimination.” </p> <h2><span class="caps">SEEN</span> ON <span class="caps">SOCIAL</span> <span class="caps">MEDIA</span>: <span class="caps">YOUTH</span> IN <span class="caps">MEDIA</span> <span class="caps">AND</span> <span class="caps">POLICY</span></h2> <p>Lebanese-American Lama shared this photo of her graduation in social research and public policy.</p> <p><blockquote class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/Bx3PsyHh-7l/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12" style=" background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:540px; min-width:326px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% - 2px); width:calc(100% - 2px);"><div style="padding:16px;"> <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/Bx3PsyHh-7l/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" style=" background:#FFFFFF; line-height:0; padding:0 0; text-align:center; text-decoration:none; width:100%;" target="_blank"> <div style=" display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style=" background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style=" background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div></div></div><div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display:block; height:50px; margin:0 auto 12px; width:50px;"><svg width="50px" height="50px" viewBox="0 0 60 60" version="1.1" xmlns="https://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="https://www.w3.org/1999/xlink"><g stroke="none" stroke-width="1" fill="none" fill-rule="evenodd"><g transform="translate(-511.000000, -20.000000)" fill="#000000"><g><path d="M556.869,30.41 C554.814,30.41 553.148,32.076 553.148,34.131 C553.148,36.186 554.814,37.852 556.869,37.852 C558.924,37.852 560.59,36.186 560.59,34.131 C560.59,32.076 558.924,30.41 556.869,30.41 M541,60.657 C535.114,60.657 530.342,55.887 530.342,50 C530.342,44.114 535.114,39.342 541,39.342 C546.887,39.342 551.658,44.114 551.658,50 C551.658,55.887 546.887,60.657 541,60.657 M541,33.886 C532.1,33.886 524.886,41.1 524.886,50 C524.886,58.899 532.1,66.113 541,66.113 C549.9,66.113 557.115,58.899 557.115,50 C557.115,41.1 549.9,33.886 541,33.886 M565.378,62.101 C565.244,65.022 564.756,66.606 564.346,67.663 C563.803,69.06 563.154,70.057 562.106,71.106 C561.058,72.155 560.06,72.803 558.662,73.347 C557.607,73.757 556.021,74.244 553.102,74.378 C549.944,74.521 548.997,74.552 541,74.552 C533.003,74.552 532.056,74.521 528.898,74.378 C525.979,74.244 524.393,73.757 523.338,73.347 C521.94,72.803 520.942,72.155 519.894,71.106 C518.846,70.057 518.197,69.06 517.654,67.663 C517.244,66.606 516.755,65.022 516.623,62.101 C516.479,58.943 516.448,57.996 516.448,50 C516.448,42.003 516.479,41.056 516.623,37.899 C516.755,34.978 517.244,33.391 517.654,32.338 C518.197,30.938 518.846,29.942 519.894,28.894 C520.942,27.846 521.94,27.196 523.338,26.654 C524.393,26.244 525.979,25.756 528.898,25.623 C532.057,25.479 533.004,25.448 541,25.448 C548.997,25.448 549.943,25.479 553.102,25.623 C556.021,25.756 557.607,26.244 558.662,26.654 C560.06,27.196 561.058,27.846 562.106,28.894 C563.154,29.942 563.803,30.938 564.346,32.338 C564.756,33.391 565.244,34.978 565.378,37.899 C565.522,41.056 565.552,42.003 565.552,50 C565.552,57.996 565.522,58.943 565.378,62.101 M570.82,37.631 C570.674,34.438 570.167,32.258 569.425,30.349 C568.659,28.377 567.633,26.702 565.965,25.035 C564.297,23.368 562.623,22.342 560.652,21.575 C558.743,20.834 556.562,20.326 553.369,20.18 C550.169,20.033 549.148,20 541,20 C532.853,20 531.831,20.033 528.631,20.18 C525.438,20.326 523.257,20.834 521.349,21.575 C519.376,22.342 517.703,23.368 516.035,25.035 C514.368,26.702 513.342,28.377 512.574,30.349 C511.834,32.258 511.326,34.438 511.181,37.631 C511.035,40.831 511,41.851 511,50 C511,58.147 511.035,59.17 511.181,62.369 C511.326,65.562 511.834,67.743 512.574,69.651 C513.342,71.625 514.368,73.296 516.035,74.965 C517.703,76.634 519.376,77.658 521.349,78.425 C523.257,79.167 525.438,79.673 528.631,79.82 C531.831,79.965 532.853,80.001 541,80.001 C549.148,80.001 550.169,79.965 553.369,79.82 C556.562,79.673 558.743,79.167 560.652,78.425 C562.623,77.658 564.297,76.634 565.965,74.965 C567.633,73.296 568.659,71.625 569.425,69.651 C570.167,67.743 570.674,65.562 570.82,62.369 C570.966,59.17 571,58.147 571,50 C571,41.851 570.966,40.831 570.82,37.631"></path></g></g></g></svg></div><div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style=" color:#3897f0; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:550; line-height:18px;"> Voir cette publication sur Instagram</div></div><div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"><div> <div style="background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"></div> <div style="background-color: #F4F4F4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"></div></div><div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style=" background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"></div> <div style=" width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg)"></div></div><div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style=" width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"></div> <div style=" background-color: #F4F4F4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"></div> <div style=" width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"></div></div></div></a> <p style=" margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;"> <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/Bx3PsyHh-7l/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" style=" color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;" target="_blank">One step closer to the “real world”, but I’ll enjoy living in this dream that I’ve built for myself for the next 3 days. 📸 Photo credit to the wonderfully talented Yasmin Al Modwahi.</a></p> <p style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;">Une publication partagée par <a href="https://www.instagram.com/_lamaahmad/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px;" target="_blank"> Lama Ahmad | لمى احمد ✨</a> (@_lamaahmad) le <time style=" font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;" datetime="2019-05-24T23:09:58+00:00">24 Mai 2019 à 4 :09 <span class="caps">PDT</span></time></p></div></blockquote> <script async src="//www.instagram.com/embed.js"></script></p> <p><em>With contributions from Nancy Sarkis, Ana De Oliva and Nicolas Tabbal.</em></p>
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