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14 July 2017

Know Thy Heritage, the 6th International Palestinian Diaspora Conference at Bethlehem University

KTH ConferenceOn Friday, July 14, the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation, under the leadership of Sir Rateb Rabie and in partnership with Bank of Palestine and Bethlehem University, brought together local and diaspora Palestinian youth for a one day workshop at Bethlehem University.

The programme, known as Know Thy Heritage, celebrated the return of 22 Palestinian youth living in diaspora from 7 different countries – Australia, Canada, Chile, Denmark, France, Honduras, and USA. They joined 19 local Palestinians to discuss their roots, their feelings on return, and their hopes for the future.

Sir Rabie welcomed all and emphasized the importance of connection for the local Palestinian youth with those living in diaspora.  Dr. Michael Sansur, Executive Vice President at Bethlehem University, endorsed these remarks saying, “Like a family reunion, we are all family here.” He also added, “Land rejoices when you guys are back. Connecting to your roots and enriching us with your talents, skills, and resources.”

Dr. Jad Isaac, General Director of ARIJ Institute presented data, maps, and figures illustrating the complexity of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, the occupation, the increasing Israeli settlements, and the encroachment and effects of the Separation Wall.  

Mr. Kamel Husseini of the Bank of Palestine and Mr. Raed Saadeh of the Jerusalem Hotel presented further on the economic and political situation in Palestine today.

In the afternoon, Dr. Saliba Sarsar chaired a panel discussion between lead members of each group.  This was followed by breakout sessions where delegates from KTH interacted with Bethlehem University’s Student Ambassadors.

The main topics covered were how Palestinians living in the diaspora, like all people of Palestinian origin, remain attached to their national roots. Those in the diaspora long to reunite with their brothers and sisters in Palestine.  They talked of how to bridge the divide and strengthen ties between local Palestinians and those of the diaspora. They also shared ideas on how to help mobilize the media and globally disseminate better information about Palestine.

A Right of Return Key was presented to each of the KTH conference participants by Sir Rabie and Brother Denis Loft, Vice President for Advancement. They were encouraged to return.

As one of the KTH delegates said using Mahatma Gandhi’s great inspiring quote, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong."

Know Thy Heritage Conference

Bethlehem University Foundation
Phone: +1-240-241-4381
Fax: +1-240-553-7691
Beltsville, MD USA
Bethlehem University in the Holy Land
Phone: +972-2-274-1241
Fax: +972-2-274-4440
Bethlehem, Palestine