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AIANY Denounces RIBA Resolution to Expel Israel Association of United Architects from the International Union of Architects

May 9, 2014

NEW YORK, NY, May 9, 2014 – The AIA New York Chapter (AIANY) has denounced the proposal submitted by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) to suspend the Israeli Association of United Architects (IAUA) from the International Union of Architects (UIA).

On May 1, 2014, AIANY wrote to Harry Rich, Chief Executive of the RIBA. In the letter, AIANY asks the RIBA Board to overrule its advisory council’s recent proposal to the UIA that would seek to exclude the IAUA’s membership from the UIA, claiming that the national organization is complicit in the construction of illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, along with other violations of international law. The letter, drafted by AIANY 2014 President Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, and AIANY Executive Director Rick Bell, FAIA, was unanimously approved by the AIANY Executive Committee and the Chapter’s Board of Directors.

AIANY believes that RIBA’s decision, based on disagreements over local Israeli policies, is antithetical to the UIA’s mission to unite all architects. The Chapter’s letter to the RIBA proposes dialogue and inclusion, noting that the UIA affords architects from around the world the opportunity to get together to resolve issues about practice and policy. According to Brown, “The situation in the Middle East has generated profound debates for decades. It is, as often noted, one of the great issues of our time. Sanctions that attempt to inappropriately and destructively deny the mission of the UIA and close lines of communication that are nothing but beneficial are harmful and misguided. The RIBA proposal should not be put before the UIA for consideration.”

The RIBA advisory council voted to make a motion at the upcoming XXV International UIA Congress taking place in Durban, South Africa from August 3 to August 7, 2014. To ensure that AIANY’s concerns are heard and opinions voiced on this matter, Bell and Brown will attend the UIA conference in Durban to take the ideas in the AIANY letter to the voting delegates and engage in productive dialogue with architects from around the world.

Bell and Brown are available for additional comments.

About the AIA New York Chapter
Founded in 1857, AIA New York is the oldest and largest chapter of the American Institute of Architects, with almost 5,000 architects, allied professionals, students and public members. AIANY is dedicated to three goals: design excellence, public outreach and professional development, and towards these aims, AIANY runs the Center for Architecture, a storefront exhibition space in Greenwich Village, sponsors public programs, publishes a magazine, and works with its charitable affiliate, the Center for Architecture Foundation, to provide scholarship and educational opportunities. For more information on AIANY, please visit www.aiany.org.

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