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September 4, 2011

Cape Ann Forum returns to its roots for 9/11 event

Born in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the nonprofit Cape Ann Forum — a project aimed at advancing understanding of global political and social issues — will kick off its 11th year on the 10-year anniversary of the massive assault.

Human Rights Watch's deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, Joe Stork, will be the keynote speaker for the Forum's Sept. 11 program, which is set to run from 7 to 9 p.m. in Gloucester City Hall's Kyrouz Auditorium.

The Forum, which is free and open to the public, will be one of several events next weekend commemorating the anniversary of the attacks, from memorial services hosted by city and town officials and fire departments in each of Cape Ann communities, to a Sunday night reading of "Three Weeks After Paradise," a play by noted local playwright Israel Horovitz at 8 p.m. at Gloucester Stage Company.

The Forum's City Hall presentation will focus on how this year's death of Osama bin Laden fits into the mix of protests that have risen up to challenge and in some cases overthrow deeply entrenched, repressive regimes in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen, Syria and beyond, with protests spreading in August to Israel, where Jewish and Arab activists set up tent camps to call for reforms there.

Stork, whose engagement with the region goes back 40 years and who frequently travels there for Human Rights Watch (HRW), will address these and other questions at the special Cape Ann Forum designed to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 al-Qaida attacks on New York and Washington, said Ellen Solomon, one of the Forum organizers.

Stork supervises HRW field staff, conducts field investigations, and drafts reports and recommendations for policymakers. He consults regularly with officials in the U.S., Europe and the region, as well as with global media, on behalf of Human Rights Watch.

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