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Editor in Chief of The Oslo Times interview with the Hungarian Ambassador Mr. Géza Jeszenszky

Oslo – This is to inform to our readers that today a meeting was to conduct an exclusive interview at the embassy of Hungary with the honorable Ambassador Mr. Géza Jeszenszky.

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The interview was held successfully under the supervision of our editor in chief Mr. Hatef Mokhtar who had gone and conducted this exclusive interview session with the honorable Ambassador. It was a 40 minutes session of questions and answers.

Various issues and concerns were raised during this interview that range from simple economics to the concerning issues like of human rights and democratic transition.

The best part and most vocal message which The Oslo Times got from Mr. Jeszenszky was that he has been an open critique of Communism which he defines it as a long date of the world politics.

The interview session has clearly put across the most vital and strategic point across on the position of Hungary towards global politics, economic crises in Europe, situation of democracy / human rights / media in the erstwhile Communist states that are now progressing towards a major shift to democratic framework in particular Hungary which is experiencing the great leap forward towards the integration with the rest of Europe and the world at large.

In a few days of time The Oslo Times would be going to publish this exclusive interview and wish its readers would find something extra that rest of the media misses out these days.

Stay connected to The Oslo Times for more news updates.

Q&A: I was a better person than what was in front of my peers says Rebecca Rifai

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In the image above: (L) Editor in Chief of The Oslo Times Hatef Mokhtar & in (R) Speaker, Artist & Author Ms. Rebecca Rifai of Canada.

REBECCA RIFAI

Speaker, artiste, author:

She has been chiseling her path in the arts for most of her life. Working as a celebrity speaker, actor and recently becoming an author. More importantly, as a humble woman, Rebecca Rifai speaks about the boundaries and opportunities of her industry and world at large. These are her thoughts on public speaking, the arts and everything else.

Rebecca Rifai is not only a very good, humble, honest and refined human being with a lot of sincere good feelings for one and all, she is also a person who has a great understanding and insight as well as respect for freedom, democracy and human rights, for every individual in the globe.

The versatile Rebecca Rifai is also a delightful and charming woman with keen wisdom emanating from her being and added to this is her  gracious personality which radiates like a beam of enlightenment for each and everyone who meets and talks to her.

Madam Rebecca Rifai: “The Oslo Times” feels honoured and privileged to be interviewing you. We are sure that your views will be a boon for our worldwide readers.

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TOT: Well madam, today, you are an authority in the realm of speech making and presentation.  But this hasn’t always been the case for there was a time when you were terrified of public speaking.  Could you share with us the details of a certain blunder or a crippling moment emanating from a sense of stage or crowd fright that occurred early in your life or career?
Rebecca: I always knew that on the inside I was a very confident woman, but having to let this expression surface was difficult for me. Giving a speech at an assembly, conducting class orals, school camps, at Rotary and workshops, these were all opportunities that presented a major challenge. Time and time again I felt embarrassed after speaking to an audience. I knew I was a better person than what was in front of my peers; I just lacked the knowledge to conquer my crippling fear and knew it would take a lot of perseverance to get through this.

“I knew I was a better person than what was in front of my peers; I just lacked the knowledge to conquer my crippling fear and knew it would take a lot of perseverance to get through this.”

As a child, and even now as an adult, surprisingly I am quite shy. It is however the opportunities that I have been blessed with that have allowed my personality to shine. I have been given a voice to inform, inspire and excite. And so as I embrace my career I find myself opening up many opportunities for those that want to build their confidence, to find their voice, to communicate effectively and to become champion speaker.

As the author of Presenting 101, I can relate to those that get nervous. And so what I aim to do with this book is to demonstrate how these nerves can be turned into a positive experience on screen, the microphone, and on the stage. Public speaking is a fearful experience for many, but I will show readers how to run with this and to turn their energy into an empowering experience.

My passion for effective communication transcends through the words on the pages. I want nothing more than to see people succeed at public speaking.

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TOT: In the face of true or imagined fear, people resort to their ‘flight or fight’ mechanism.  What made you choose to fight this specific fear instead of simply avoiding it altogether?
Rebecca: I was a bright student and did extremely well in my areas of interest, which were drama, art, sport and English. The acknowledgement from my teachers helped to feed my desire to do well at what I would commit myself to. Along with this I developed an interest in motivational books. As I read I found other authors who had similar struggles in life and had turned their challenges into something great.

“I learnt at a very young age that I was capable of achieving a lot more that I ever would have thought.”

The authors, my mentors, taught me that it was okay to stand out, that life would reward me with dividends if I took opportunities when they presented themselves to me. They told me to embrace fear; that we never achieve anything great when we live within our comfort zone. And so, I knew that some day, somehow, I would be able to speak up to those that I couldn’t before and create a fruitful life.

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TOT: Well madam, in your opinion, what made you succeed in this domain?  What are the defining qualities that helped you evolve as a presenter?
Rebecca: I believe what it comes down to is the willingness to get the most out of life. Walking with a fear that we believe we cannot overcome is detrimental. Pushing through these fears is empowering. Life is to be embraced. We all have an interesting story to share and we all have the ability to achieve amazing things. A positive mind, trust in yourself and taking the leap of faith is what will build the strength in one’s character and makes one stand out as a leader.
Procrastination is one of human’s biggest flaws. Complimentary to that is a lack of belief in one’s own self. Sometimes the best part of life is about trusting our instincts and challenging others when they say that we can’t do something. If you believe you can’t then at least give it a shot and surprise yourself instead of giving in. If I listened to all of the gremlins in my life that told me to quit I wouldn’t be where I am now.

“Life is a journey. We live and we learn but we must make the most out of it.”

I trusted in myself that through all of my flaws and mistakes I would succeed in public speaking and I am proud of myself for doing so.
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TOT: Well that is nice to hear. Now madam, what was the tipping point in your career?
Rebecca: I had learnt very early on that a career in the entertainment industry meant not worrying about being embarrassed. And so I always took a chance at putting myself forward for interesting roles. Did I feel embarrassed at the time? Sometimes, yes. But I kept taking chances in the hopes that something exciting would eventuate. I had heard that the Commonwealth Games were approaching and that this could possibly be the opportunity that I was searching for, to speak at the event.

At the time I was working for a radio station as a field correspondent. I was young and ambitious and had been recording myself on camera while I would go to the stations events. What I recorded were little pieces to camera about random exciting topics out on the road.

I was never asked to do this; it was just something I liked to do for fun. I never knew, at the time, that this video I recorded would come in use for submitting me for the Commonwealth Games.
So I edited this video together and sent it off. Little did I know that soon I would get a call back to say that I would speak in front of millions of people for the gymnastics at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.

I would be running the show, interviewing the athletes, completing voice over’s and speaking on behalf of the network stations. That was a moment in my life that I will never forget and a moment that is one of the greatest memories I have to be grateful for.

TOT: Your new book, “Presenting 101”, has been launched recently.  In it, you describe the means to develop and hone one’s presenting skills – be it for TV, radio or at events and functions.

However, the book could also help in many ways all those who aren’t necessarily pursuing a career as presenters.  Could you explain in which ways your book might help non-professionals?
Rebecca: This book is about harnessing readers’ confidence to speak to an audience and giving them the tools to ‘think outside the box’. Public speaking is part and parcel of everyday life, be it at a seminar, a wedding or in an office meeting and so why not make it fun? Right? I want readers to develop a passion and excitement for their next public speaking engagement.

It’s an incredibly rewarding experience to be able to get up in front of an audience and to feed off their energy. Readers will develop an enthusiasm for improving their public speaking skills and walk away from the experience with a new open mind.

Periodically I conduct “Presenting 101” workshops. In these, there have been a whole array of people attend. Health care professionals, construction managers, CEOs, teachers, dentists and the likes have celebrated these workshops as being something that has changed their life in a positive way.

I am so proud to say that I have enriched their lives with an experience that they will never forget. I am rewarded by their successes and that is the greatest gift I could ever hope to receive.

TOT: Well madam, some people are naturally eloquent and quick on their feet while others are not.  Do you believe that such qualities could be developed?  If yes, how much could one improve such skills?
Rebecca: Absolutely. As an eternal student of the arts, improvisational skills are an asset. To be able to think quickly on our feet can be developed by tapping into our imagination, developing good listening skills and overcoming the notion of being embarrassed.

The improvisational skills taught in “Presenting 101” will help one muster their inner confidence so as to avoid and overcome being caught out. Readers will learn how to not get stuck on a script, work in synergy with an audience and harness the unexpected.

One of the greatest gifts I can offer in the book is how to overcome mistakes. People often ask me what to do if they fall over on stage, if they forget their lines, or make fools of themselves. What I teach is largely improvisational based, meaning that now people can embrace these moments and turn them into something truly magical, while speaking to a public gathering.

And so it is with learning improvisational skills that someone can overcome being nervous, because all of their greatest fears are addressed and solutions are provided, for each of these. But not only this; it’s also about making speaking memorable words. Some people also fear being boring but now they’ll be anything but this.

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TOT: How long does it take one to start noticing results or improvements – assuming that he/she avidly practices your methods and exercises?
Rebecca: For every person, it is different. But I know that changes can be immediate. Through teaching people in the book and in the workshops I have seen instantaneous improvements.

It’s important to have a mentor who knows the craft you want to learn and so as that mentor I am able to give students the confidence to practice the techniques I teach through example. Sometimes we know the answer to a challenge but lack the guidance to implement these skills.

I give readers lots of options to choose from and with this array of delicious choices come the excitement to surprise themselves. Reading is one thing, if they apply these skills miraculous things will happen. I know … I’ve seen it.

I pride myself as a positive mentor who only wants my students to excel in the art of public speaking. If readers of the book keep an open mind, which I know they can, step by step, they will become brilliant at public speaking.

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TOT: Alright madam. Now please tell us what are you currently working on?  And what is the next step for you?
Rebecca: The book and speaking are my main priority. However my other love is acting; this is something I took up at the age of six. The first half of this year has been very exciting. I’ve recently signed a contract with a leading talent agency and management company in North America and have found a great acting coach named Daniel Bacon.

They’ve been keeping me very busy sending me out on all sorts of wonderful auditions, booking several TVCs and so forth.
My latest role was on a feature for Tides Canada and a shoot for“Jugo Juice”. Canada feels like the right place to be at the moment and so I am taking each day as it comes.

So fingers crossed, I hope the momentum keeps rolling. Other than that I look forward to learning how “Presenting 101” has positively impacted people’s lives. I am truly excited to hear of the results and something tells me that there’s going to be many moments to celebrate.
TOT: Since being attached to the theatre from a long time, do you have any future plans for the promotion of this side of entertainment in your country and the world at large?

Rebecca: The more I think about my craft, the more I keep reflecting on my childhood studying theatre. That part of my life was there for a reason and propelled me into the career I have now.

So, despite my focus for the film and TV industry, I feel that at some stage the theatre will call me back. The stage is a unique platform that captures moments in time that can never be replicated. And because each performance is unique, stepping inside a theatre has always been a magical playground for me.

It’s the experimentation of emotions, serendipity, and subtle changes that an actor is encouraged to bring to the stage that breathes life into each performance. I do have a strong bond with the theatre and while nothing is planned at this stage, I feel that it won’t be long before these changes.

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TOT: In the world, as you know, there are lots of struggles & campaigns going on, so as an artist what is your message to the world audience?

Rebecca: While I am very focused on acting, one of my passions is supporting projects that contribute to the greater good of humanity. Although the film industry can be quite fickle, it is a very powerful medium for providing influential messages. And because of this, I am motivated to establish my own production company and create work that has strong content and humanitarian value. I’m not there yet; it’s only the beginning of my film and TV career.

I know it will be a long and tough road ahead but I am very passionate about the industry, as passionate as I am about public speaking. In the future I see the two of these merging to form a solid alliance of projects that have a positive impact on the world. But to answer your question, my message to the world is an old one but a good one; treat others how you’d like to be treated. If we all lived by this, the world would be a much happier and peaceful place.

TOT: What are the qualities, which are necessary for being a good artist?

Rebecca: Show business is tough. A lot of people enter the business seeking fame and fortune and are greatly disappointed. After all, it is easy to watch an actor in a movie and fantasize about replacing them on the screen, doing what they do but better. Show business is just that, a business.

We are all born a star in our own right, but to make a career out of it takes a lot of courage, discipline and skill. As artists we put ourselves in situations that truly test us. We have to face fears, endure and share pain, overcome continual rejection, sacrifice financial stability and through all of that, we need to keep believing in ourselves when it feels like no one else will.

I believe there are three groups of people in the industry. Those that quit, those that persevere and succeed, and those that are just born lucky. The vast majority of us sit in either of the first two. Those that quit are not without talent, however it is likely that the pressures put upon them pushed them toward quitting.

Those that succeed are not necessarily the most talented; however have the discipline and business acumen to navigate their way through the industry. And those born lucky, well they were born lucky!

Above all, being an artist requires an awareness and understanding of two fundamental things; our social environment (human relationships), and our physical environment. It’s through understanding these complex human elements that we are able to interpret our medium, whether it is a story, music or painting, and present it to our audience.

TOT: Who is your inspiration in the world of art and drama?

Rebecca: As an artist I feel that it necessary to stay true to my journey. While actors like Meryl Streep and Daniel Day-Lewis inspire me, it is important to carve my own future rather than becoming an idealized reflection of those who are admired.

Instead, it’s the people on the streets, the lady at the grocery store, the fighting neighbors, and the person running for the bus, the homeless man sleeping in the alley, the lost child, the sadness behind a smile, the romantic couple and the unspoken words that intrigue me.

I derive my inspiration from human interaction and from observing what goes on in the world around me. I want to know what’s on the minds of others, why people do what they do, how did they get to where they are, why do they hold themselves in a certain way, what are their obstacles and motivations.

There is a lot to be learned from observing and asking these questions and because of this, I see a strong correlation between being a journalist and an actor. Both fields satisfy my desire to learn about people and how we as humans fit into the broader spectrum of life.

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TOT: What other traits do you think are essential to become a successful artist? I mean the standards, conduct and ethics?

Rebecca: I think the three most essential traits for a successful long-term career as an artist are honesty, quality and trust. Do you like how I specifically threw in long term there? We’ve all seem what some people have done to get their fifteen minutes of fame. I think that an honest approach, a focus on quality work and an ability to gain peoples trust will get you very far in this business, as well as any other business.

By way of example, people buying my book [Presenting 101] are putting their trust in me to ensure that the book is top quality and that I have their best interest at heart. The same applies to everything I do, whether it’s filming, speaking or presenting.  Without honesty and quality, it’s hard to build trust. And without trust, it’s hard to do anything.

TOT: What are your goals, which you want to accomplish in the near future?
Rebecca: This is a tough question to answer! I have so many things that I’d like to achieve. Ok, here goes.

Firstly, I’d like knowing that my book, Presenting 101, is out there helping people overcome their fear of public speaking or making them an even better speaker than they are today.

Secondly, I’d like to firmly establish myself as an actress in film and TV within the North American market.

Finally, I have been writing two feature film screenplays. One is a comedy set in world of unusual circumstance and the other is a conspiracy thriller. So, I’d really love to see these films made within the next couple of years.

Finally, finally, I’d also like to focus on film and TV projects that empower women. It is far too often that we see women portrayed in demeaning or submissive roles. I think we need to see some more kick-ass girls in film and TV.

Rebecca Rifai – Some of her projects include: The Concours d’Elegance, The Commonwealth Games, CNBC, The World Travel Awards, Virgin Radio, Property TV, B105 and Triple M and has launched various media events for such groups as: Maserati, Ferrari, Bvlgari, Asprey, Crate & Barrel, Bloomingdales and Panasonic.

To find out more about the book Presenting 101: for Television, Radio & Events please head to the website – http://www.presenting101.com

TOT: Thank you madam. We are delighted to have been provided this opportunity. We very much appreciate the fact that despite being involved in several fields you have an independent and open mind with candid and unbiased perception of freedom, democracy and human rights, on the vast vista of the global scenario. We are very much sure that our worldwide readers will benefit a lot from this exclusive interview. Thanks yet again!
Interviewed by Hatef Mokhtar, Editor-in-Chief, The Oslo Times
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©The Oslo Times – All Rights Reserved.

Burmese Gandhi – Aung San Suu Kyi! Storm of Burmese democracy


A Lady with an angelic fist has spent almost 20 years of her life in some or the other form of detention just to bring democracy in her country Burma. Overtime she has become an example of being Burmese Gandhi behind whom the entire nation is following on her footsteps.

The 65 year old lady who has left no stone unturned to make Burma a democratic country and lift the people lives by protecting their human rights and their freedom has suffered a lot in her personal life.
“It is a famous saying that when you work for your country you lose your family”. The sacrifices made by Aung San Suu Kyi are un-matched and incomparable. She was not allowed to see her two sons or her husband, who died of cancer in March 1999.
The military authorities offered to allow her to travel to the UK to see him when he was gravely ill, but she felt compelled to refuse for fear she would not be allowed back into the country.
She has grandchildren she has never met. She has now become a symbol of peace and nobility to the world whose actions has spoken louder than her words. Her campaigns and her presence have always troubled the dictators of Burma and their subjects.
In 1991, a year after her National League for Democracy won an overwhelming victory in an election the junta later nullified, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
The committee chairman, Francis Sejested, called her “an outstanding example of the power of the powerless”. She was sidelined for Burma’s first elections in two decades on 7 November 2010 but released from house arrest six days later.

Thousands of supporters gathered to hear her issue a call for Burmese people to work together for change.
She is the daughter of General Aung San who was the country’s independence hero and was assassinated during the transition period in July 1947, just six months before independence. However assassinator didn’t knew that time that one day the legacy of Gen; Aung San would lived for ever and be carried by her daughter who have taken it on new level giving a new meaning of peace to it.
Her visit to India and later on to UK transformed her into a completely different person who became an inspiration to millions of suppressed people waiting to see a ray of democratic freedom in their lives.
Her inspirations of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi transformed her into an inspiration to the world that now has brought several changes in lives of Burmese people and have highlighted the issue of her people to the world hence making the whole international community think for Burma.
Dictatorships neither have any future nor does it have any legitimacy for long term. People have their say and their voice should not be crushed at any cost.
Banning Aung San Suu Kyi from running for premiership of the country is completely unjustified even though the government has indirectly pointed out on her but still it has cleared its intentions against the lady who wants to work for her people, for her country.
A lady who has cared for others whereas the leaders who have ruled Burma from decades have never cared even for a single citizen. Democracy is the light of freedom, a system where people rule, where their rights flourish un-regulated.
This century is belonged to people not the rulers, the world has risen from suppression now and its storm will only hold when it will sweep the pillars of dictators from every corner of this great world of civilizations.
The support shown by the International community and the efforts made by Burmese people and the respected Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi has started to bear the fruits of change which will for sure bring the enormous prosperity in the lives of the people there.
It is our fundamental responsibility to support such people like Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi who have not only bring change in the lives of Burmese people but also has given a hope to others in the nations suffering from the epidemic of tyrant regimes.

Crisis of Democracy – Libya

The security forces of the two cities Benghazi and Dern has fled according to eyewitnesses on Friday night even though the information is impossible to verify because the countries strict control of media and communication. The rumors are many and twitter is flowing over with reports that the rebels have taken over control of the border with Egypt and that two of Gaddafi’s sons have fled the country. Also the lack of foreign and independent journalists in the country makes it hard to know what is true and what is not. According to a news agency AFP based on various local sources, a total of 84 people have been killed.

Even though people were protesting peacefully, according to HRW, security forces killed 20 people in Benghazi, 23 in Baida, three in Ajdabiya, and three in Derna in a matter of days. In addition, 35 people were killed in Benghazi on Friday, nearly all with live ammunition.

Demonstrators protesting against the government is also said to have killed two policemen in Al-Bayda by first being captured and then hanged. The situation is escalating and it is also said that Gaddafi released many prisoners from prison as they were paid and armed with knives and machetes to attack the protesters. It is a “lynching situation” going on as the police executes most of the demonstrators with bullets to the head as well according to reports from hospitals.

In many places the electricity has been shut down and many internet sites blocked as well.

The regime of Muammar Gaddafi is said to be behind the massacres, according to The Guardian, which reported that it also imposed a news blackout, similar to Iran’s crackdown on journalists in 2009.

The last few days have represented an unprecedented challenge to the 41-year rule of Gaddafi, the New York Times reported, in part inspired by the Egypt revolution.

Arab World Unrest – Crisis of Democracy

The bells of Democracy has rang where the Power prevails,

Now our Blood wants the peace,

We live in a world where souls want the shine.

We have now risen to a dawn of democracy

Where the bright freedom lives in mind & loves always shine.

Now there shall be no monarch prevails & no slave lives only the light of heaven prevails!

From more than 4 – 5 decades the people were living in complete closure, where no human has freedom neither of speech nor for expressions. If some one has raised the voiced against the odds her desires & lift was crushed by the owners of the dictating monarchy. In today’s world there is no place for extremism, forced rules, dictatorships. They not only ruined the country & the nativity if governed by the corrupt rulers. The globalize world does not accept the biased system of forced conventions of the self proclaimed bunch of corrupt leaders sticking their own selves on the chair of Power supported by the four legs of corruption, extremism, red tape & greed.

The 2011 has risen up with new dawn of an era which has enlightened the people of Arab World showing the path of their true objective & about their rights towards their nation at large. They have now learn about their freedom and how much it means to them. By looking at other inspiring models of vibrant, flourishing  societies of democratic countries where people live in harmony, have a freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom to choose their leader & if not satisfy then have right to topple the government by system. Where culture has no bar, where religion has its own freedom, where humans can live freely.

After the popular uprisings in Tunisia & Egypt the storm has now turned its direction towards Yemen, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Iran though these countries are facing the protests & uprisings in fragmented volumes but the nation which has stormed by wind of democracy after Egypt is Bahrain. Bahraini demonstrators say they want constitutional democracy, the release of political prisoners, more jobs and housing, and removal of the prime minister, Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the king’s uncle, who has been in office for 40 years. At least 300 people were wounded in the assault, several dozen seriously. A trauma surgeon from Salmaniya hospital was in an intensive care ward after being attacked at the roundabout camp, then handcuffed and repeatedly kicked in the head. In Bahrain where Sunni who are in minority rules the country & Shia who are in majority are deprived of the basic facilities & privileges. When ever there will be theological divide & in justice the voices will be raised It is the same same situation which Iraq had faced during Saddam Hussein rule.

Libya which was earlier bye passed from the effects of uprisings which topple the governments of her neighboring states first in Tunisia then in Egypt is now witnessing the same after 40 years of the strict regime of Col. Maummar Gaddafi. But Libya is on somehow at the better end as it has a flourishing economy, burgeoning GDP among African Countries, employment rates are good but even having such a strong economy it faces the rage of protesters & that is because of lack of fundamental rights given to the citizens of this country. Report shows that thousands of anti-government protesters have been on the streets of Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi, a day after demonstrations led to fatal skirmishes with the security forces. Tight controls on media and communications in Libya made it difficult to assess the extent of the violence, but unverified reports on social network sites said up to 50 people had died. Gaddafi’s opponents say they want political freedoms, respect for human rights and an end to corruption. Gaddafi says Libyans enjoy true democracy. But the question arises then why people are protecting? It just because they want a simple freedom of democracy which will not only set the benchmark but also defines the future of the people.

The effects of these uprisings or it would be better to say a revolutionary change in the regional will also brings the aftermath not only to the region but also to the world economies. After the back breaking recessionary period of 2008 – 2009 the world is recovering from the ill effects of it but have also saw the rise of inflation in terms of food, & mineral resources which not only effected the growth but also grounded the process of development. & now these crisis which will push the bubble up more increasingly by affecting the oil prices through out the world. But there is a famous saying that every change has some consequences of its own which has to be borne by the future generations.

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