What’s Tony Blair up to these days anyway?

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    14th January, 2010

    UPDATE: 13th Feb:  A month on our press have noticed. Hat tip to John Rentoul for the Lovely “Oh look, a fact on the ground” Apart from Rentoul … s-l-o-w, aren’t they?

    Tony Blair?

    Still there.

    Mr Blair has been a busy boy recently. Not that you’d know it if you only read the British press. Their Blair airbrushing artistry is only equalled by their Blair traducement talents.

    Tony Blair, the Quartet's special envoy, in Jenin, West Bank, November 2009

    [Picture above from New York Times article]

    In the aid of balance I thought I’d fill in a few of the blanks.

    Much of Mr Blair’s time recently has been taken up with his Quartet envoy duties.  The hands-on man still seems to draw in the crowds, even – perhaps especially – in the Middle East. Odd, for such a destructive character, don’t you think? I wonder what they see that our press don’t?

    Tony Blair on a visit to Israel's wall in Qalqiliya, West Bank, August 2009. (Khaleel Reash/MaanImages)

    Quartet Middle East envoy Tony Blair (2nd L), Israeli Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Regional Cooperation Silvan Shalom (C) and Palestinian Governor of the city of Jenin Qadura Mussa (2nd R) cut the ribbon during the opening ceremony of the Jalama vehicle crossing, between the northern West Bank and Israel on November 10, 2009. Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas could resign, leading to a potential collapse of the Palestinian Authority, if US efforts to relaunch Middle East peace talks stay deadlocked, aides warn. (Photo: JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

    And this week, with the ongoing Iraq Inquiry and the British press working up a head of steam ready to blow on his appearance in a couple of weeks’ time, his mind and hands have been on far more pressing matters.

    U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell (L), Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store (C) and British Middle East envoy Tony Blair (R) attend an informal meeting regarding the co-ordination of donor assistance to Palestinian Authority, in Brussels January 12, 2010.

    French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, British Middle East envoy Tony Blair and U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell (L-R) address a joint news conference at the end of an informal meeting regarding co-ordination of donor istance to the Palestinian Authorities, in Brussels January 12, 2010. REUTERS/Thierry Roge (BELGIUM - Tags: POLITICS)

    U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell (L), Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store (C) and British Middle East envoy Tony Blair (R) attend an informal meeting regarding the co-ordination of donor assistance to Palestinian Authority, in Brussels January 12, 2010. REUTERS/Thierry Roge (BELGIUM - Tags: SOCIETY POLITICS BUSINESS)

    MAKING GEMS?  FACE TO FAITH IN DUBAI

    But it is not just the field of peace-making and peace-keeping that interests Mr Blair. The latest article at his website tells of partnering with GEMS Education in Dubai, through the FACE to FAITH element of his Faith Foundation.

    See more  for  links (below article) on his interest and involvement on climate issues, Africa governance and development, sport, religion, politics in the Middle East and more.

    Tony Blair meets GEMS Education chairman Sunny and students

    Tony Blair partners with global education providers to break down barriers between religions

    Tony Blair today met with Sunny Varkey, Founder and Chairman of GEMS Education to discuss the role that the global education leaders can play in promoting respect and understanding of the world’s major religions.

    In 2008, Mr Blair founded the Tony Blair Faith Foundation to promote respect, friendship and understanding between the major religious faiths; and to make the case for faith itself as a relevant force for good in the world. Last year, the Foundation launched the Face to Faith Schools programme, which engages secondary school students of different faiths across the world in learning directly with, from and about each other.

    Sunny Varkey welcomed Tony Blair to the GEMS Winchester School and World Academy in Dubai, saying:

    “We are delighted to welcome Mr Blair to GEMS and to Dubai. The Tony Blair Faith Foundation schools programme, ‘Face to Faith’, is a wonderful educational initiative which Mr. Blair founded in order to help the world be a better place. As globalisation brings us all closer together we need to educate the children of the world about the importance of religious tolerance.

    “We look forward to working with the Foundation to see how we can incorporate the ‘Face to Faith’ programme in our schools because we see it as an extension of the core values we instil in all our pupils. I sincerely hope that Mr Blair’s visit will mark the start of a long-term relationship between the Faith Foundation and GEMS Education globally. With 100,000 students across 125 nationalities in GEMS schools, many of them in the Middle East, we believe we can play a significant role in promoting the importance of understanding and respect of different faiths”.

    During his visit to the Winchester School in Dubai, Tony Blair spoke with students from an Islamic education class, who were keen to get his perspective on inter-faith understanding and the place of religious values in modern society. He said:

    “In today’s world, religious tolerance amongst diverse faith and cultural groups is essential. Young people will be proud of their national identities whilst becoming global citizens. They need to learn skills that help them to learn how to respectfully discuss differences. This is why I established my Foundation, and specifically established the Face to Faith project where children of different faiths, cultures and geographies link up in open discussion with each other.

    “Today, I have seen children from 87 nationalities in one GEMS school, learning about the world alongside each other. Good learning creates understanding, overcomes prejudice and opens dialogue. I am very pleased to be talking to GEMS about how we extend this.”

    Wednesday 06 January 2010 Link to this article

    MORE BLAIR INTERESTS

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    3 Responses to “What’s Tony Blair up to these days anyway?”

    1. margaret walters Says:

      good and interesting article. the antis complain all he does is get rich these days which this article shows isn’t the case.

    2. White House Press Briefing on Blair & his new Middle East position « Tony Blair Says:

      […] that have been seen in the Israel/Palestinian region in recent years have been made at the instigation and through the efforts of Tony Blair. The rest is […]

    3. Middle East Quartet’s March 19 statement in Moscow « Tony Blair Says:

      […] 14th January, 2010 – What’s Tony Blair up to these days anyway? 14th Jan 2010 […]

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