234 Ford House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-6460
Hon. Christopher H. Smith, Chairman
Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Co-Chairman
Media Contact: Neil Simon
September 15, 2010


WASHINGTON—In the wake of the Manhattan mosque debate, U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) and Co-Chairman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) announced today that they will hold two events focusing on challenges faced by ethnic and religious minorities in the United States and Europe in national politics and other aspects of life.

WHEN: Wednesday, September 15, 2010

11:00 a.m. Roundtable Discussion: Minorities in France

1:30 p.m. Briefing: Minority Political Participation in the Obama Era

NEW ROOM: Capitol Visitor Center - South Congressional Meeting Room

1:30 p.m. - Briefing: Minority Political Participation in the Obama Era

President Obama’s historic election has increased attention to minority political leaders and others working in the public sector worldwide. In the United States and Europe, this has raised questions about the current status of racial and ethnic minority political participation in comparison to the past. Speakers will address successes and challenges to the inclusion and effective participation of racial and ethnic minorities in the political sphere. The briefing will conclude with Q & A.


Gay McDougall, United Nations Independent Expert on Minority Issues, Organizer of the United Nations Forum on Effective Minority Political Participation

Special Guest:

Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Congressional Black Caucus Chair; United Nations Forum on Effective Minority Political Participation Chair

*Other speakers may be added

11:00 a.m. - Roundtable Discussion: Minorities in France

French minority leaders will discuss current issues impacting their communities, related public and private sector anti-discrimination and diversity initiatives, and similarities with the U.S. situation.


Jackie Celestin-André, Director of Diversity, L’Oreal, France
Rokhaya Diallo, President, Les Indivisibles; Contributor, CanalPlus and RTL, France
Alain Dolium, 2010 Regional Candidate for the Democratic Movement, France
Khalid Hamdani, Director, Institute for Ethics and Diversity, France

Moderator: Rene Lake, LTL Strategies, US


Freedom of Thought, Conscience, and Religion or Belief
National Minorities


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Featured Photo
Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic (C), who serves as Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE in 2015, meeting with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (L) and Helsinki Commission Chairman Chris Smith (R) immediately after the February 25 hearing on Serbia's leadership of the OSCE. (Feb. 2015)