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New York Encounter 2013: A 3-day public cultural festival exploring the meaning of freedom through panel discussions, artistic performances and exhibits

NEW YORK, Jan. 16, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On Friday, January 18, 2013, at 6:00 p.m., New York Encounter, an annual three-day cultural event organized by the Catholic movement Communion and Liberation and Crossroads Cultural Center, will open at the Manhattan Center in Midtown Manhattan (8th Avenue & 34th Street) with a presentation on freedom by Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete.

On Saturday, January 19, 2013, at 5:00 p.m., New York Encounter will present an extraordinary eyewitness account of the life and death of Shahbaz Bhatti.  From 2008 until his assassination in 2011, Shahbaz Bhatti served as the first Federal Minister for Minority Affairs in Pakistan. Mr. Bhatti, an outspoken critic of Pakistan's blasphemy laws was gunned down by Tehrik-i-Taliban for refusing to relent on his fight for the religious freedom of minorities in Pakistan. After Shahbaz's death, his brother, Paul, courageously stepped forward and now serves as Pakistan's Minister for National Harmony. Minister Bhatti will share poignant stories from his and his brother's lives in light of their fight for liberty in Pakistan.

In addition to Mr. Bhatti, New York Encounter 2013 will feature other distinguished speakers including Chairman of the Board of Southwestern Energy, Harold Korell, Irish Times columnist, John Waters, and author and writer Tony Hendra.

"The theme of the 2013 New York Encounter is 'Experiencing Freedom' and it is dedicated to exploring the topic of liberty – not through abstract analysis, but by offering living examples of freedom in action in politics, in economy, in art," said Maurizio Maniscalco, President of New York Encounter. He added, "We will also have outstanding artists and musicians to show."

On Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 3:30 p.m., the cultural festival will also feature Liberty in Modern and Contemporary Art, a presentation which will explore ways in which artists and their art have always sought to break free from constraints upon liberty, be they social, political, or other.

In 2012, four thousand people visited New York Encounter. Last year's keynote speaker, Prof. Mary Ann Glendon, called her experience "Exhilarating, refreshing and renewing: I got more out of it than I put into it."

Most events are FREE and open to the public. For more information visit http://www.newyorkencounter.org.

SOURCE New York Encounter

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