Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Blood Relations

The Middle East has been a regular feature of KRConnect over the past year. Last year I was in Israel celebrating the 25th anniversary of BBR Saatchi & Saatchi, the highlight of which was a meeting with the President of Israel Shimon Peres. In May 2011 I covered the efforts of Dr. Alan Kerr, a New Zealand surgeon who has been credited with saving the lives of hundreds of children in Palestine over the past 11 years with his specialist skill of pediatric cardiology. In July I celebrated the awarding of the prize for The Impossible Brief to French creative Jean-Christophe Royer. This is an effort from the creative world to bring peace to Israel and Palestine after more than 60 years of conflict. Jean-Christophe’s idea, both rich in symbolism and high on pragmatism, is called “Blood Relations” and today – on the UN International Day of Peace – we took the first steps to activating the program.

At the reception event at the Peres Peace House in Tel Aviv tonight we launched “Blood Relations”, an Israeli Palestinian blood donation operation in partnership with the Parents Circle Families Forum (PCFF), an organization of Israeli and Palestinian people who have lost an immediate family member in the conflict. Born out of the idea that shared blood would create an impossibly close bond between two peoples, The Impossible Brief’s leading idea asked: “Could you hurt someone who has your blood running through their veins?” To answer the question and spring new hope among two peoples, we launched a blood donation operation between volunteers from both countries.

This week people have come together in solidarity to donate their blood side by side. Blood donations have been taking place at the headquarters of the Israeli Blood Bank, Magen David Adom and in a mobile blood donation ambulance set up in Cinematheque Square, Tel Aviv. Blood donations will be shared by Israeli hospitals through the Israeli Blood Bank, Magen David Adom and by the Al-Makassed Islamic Charitable Society Hospital for Palestinians in East Jerusalem.

The events at the Peres Peace House also includes an exhibition of all the finalists in The Impossible Brief, a film documenting the blood donations, and a group of international, Israeli and Palestinian communications and media experts conducting a panel discussion on the role of creativity and advertising in promoting the relations between the two nations.

At the time of the UN vote on a Palestinian State, this is a symbolic act of healing and one way Saatchi & Saatchi can help make a difference.

Support the program by virtually donating blood at http://www.bloodrelations.org/.

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