Thursday, 12 July 2012

My International Division Election Manifesto

Amanda Ruback - International Division Manifesto

My professional life has focused on two areas - communications and international development, enabling me to bring value and highly relevant skills to the activities of the International Division.

Over the last 10 years I have specialised in international development, encouraging businesses to engage with communities in emerging economies – providing unique experience that the International Division can use. This includes encouraging entrepreneurship, leading sustainable development programmes, supporting women’s empowerment, and disaster relief.  My work in over 30 countries has given me the opportunity to work extensively with international organisations such as the United Nations and the Clinton Global Initiative.  It has brought me into contact with world leaders in politics, diplomacy, business and academia.

Much of my work involves campaigning and developing partnerships amongst different organisations.  I look forward to bringing these experiences to the benefit of the Board and  my community.

Of specific relevance is my work engaging with the Muslim world.  In projects in Pakistan and Central Asia, I worked very closely with the Aga Khan Development Network.  This experience has equipped me with the skills to deal with cultural sensitivities, recognising there are issues which bridge religious and communal divides for the benefit of the wider community.

And for any Deputies reading this, if you want more reasons to vote for me...

Although I’m a new Deputy, I am confident that as a fast learner, I can add value to the International Division as well as bring a blend of first hand experience of real-life international development from my professional life, together with a vision of how the UK Jewish community - with all its diversity of belief, passion, energy and intrinsic benevolence can make a positive contribution and support and protect Jewish communities around the world.

I believe that as our society becomes more polarised, as different groups become more entrenched with the real danger of retreating into fundamentalism and prejudice, we need to project Jewish values in a positive light - whether secular, spiritual, or Zionist. For me this means practical engagement, such as Israel's work in areas of the world traumatised by natural disaster, for example in Haiti. In my own work, I have succeeded in getting major private and public sector bodies to support international development in many parts of the world and in a wide range of ways - from earthquake relief in Pakistan, providing micro finance in Africa, and promoting sustainability initiatives in Central and Eastern Europe – experience that I’m sure will be valuable to the International Division.

There are many active advocate groups for Israel, but the Board of Deputies can deliver its support in more practical ways than just through hasbara and lobbying. A bigger vision is needed, and I would relish the opportunity of working within the International Division to make this happen, learning from what has already worked and sharing my ideas further.

In addition to international development, I have a background in marketing and communications and so I am sure that I can support the Division in many ways and wherever it focuses its efforts. Women now make up almost a third of all Deputies.  That’s brilliant for the Board for so many reasons – not least that we’re great at making change and doing so with creativity and insight but without confrontation or conflict. I’d really love your support and your vote – as high up your preference list as possible – to help make sure that women also make up their fair share of the International Division too. 

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