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Cassam Uteem, Former President of the Republic of Mauritius, to speak at the International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy

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Tuesday, July 28th 2009 (16:15), Amerika Haus Berlin
The ICD is pleased to confirm that Cassam Uteem, the longest serving President in the history of Mauritius (1992 – 2002), will speak at the forthcoming International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy. Mr. Uteem, who has won worldwide praise for his commitment to peace and democracy and his work in ensuring stability in Mauritius, will speak to the participants on meeting the challenges of democracy in multi-ethnic societies.

A graduate of Paris VII University (BA in Art, MA in Psychology), Mr. Uteem has devoted his life and career to serving Mauritius and helping address the challenge of ensuring a stable democratic society in a multi-ethnic, multi-religious country. Prior to his presidency he had served multiple terms in the Mauritian parliament (beginning in 1976) and also held the positions of Minister of Employment, Social Security and National Solidarity, as well as Deputy-Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and Industrial Technology.

Mr. Uteem came under the international spotlight in 2002, at the end of his second term as President, when he refused to sign into law a controversial anti-terrorism bill that would have allowed police to hold suspects for longer periods of time without charging them. He resigned as a result of this incident, leaving the position just three months before his term expired.

Mr. Uteem has since become active in the area of international public policy and serves as a member of the Haut Counseil de la Francophonie, the international jury for the UNESCO Prize of Education for Peace, a founding Member of the Global Leadership Foundation, and a Board Member for the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance in Sweden. In 2003, he was one of the candidates for the position of Chairperson for the African Union Commission, but later withdrew from the selection process.

Drawing from his experience in Mauritius, Mr. Uteem will speak to the Symposium participants on Democratic Participation and Cultural Inclusion in multi-ethnic and multi-lingual societies, following which there will be an opportunity for the audience to ask questions.