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TOURISM FOR EQUALITY, PROSPERITY, AND PEACE*
Friday, October 14, 2016

9:30 am – 4:00 pm

The Holy Land, of which Palestine is central, is a source of inspiration and treasure, a place to visit and cherish. Its rich past, with impressive archaeological sites, its diverse cultural heritage, and its religious and spiritual significance are key to understanding human history and the roots of the three Abrahamic faiths. Added to these, of course, are the local cultures and customs and the magnificent natural scenery.

We invite you to forge a new bond of solidarity with your Palestinian Christian brothers and sisters through pilgrimage. And take part in this valuable discussion on pilgrimage to the Holy Land for the wellbeing and continuation of the Christian community there, as well as for the spiritual good of participating pilgrims.

9:30 am  – 10:00  am

Introduction and Welcoming Remarks

Introduction by Moderator, Fr. Michael McDonagh, Chancery Office, Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

Welcoming remarks by Sir Rateb Rabie, KCHS, Founder, President, and CEO, of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation

10:00 am – 10:45 am

Facts and Figures: Exploring Palestine as a Travel Destination in the Holy Land

 

The Palestinian tourism industry is developing and promoting pilgrimages religious tourism to Bethlehem and other sites in the Palestinian territories. This session will present facts and figures of the industry: people to visit, places to stay, sites of historic significance, and the holy sites in cities like Bethlehem, Jericho, Hebron, Nablus, Ramallah, Nazareth, and East Jerusalem. Learn about the different activities you can participate in and enjoy in the Holy Land.

 

Speakers: 

 

1.     Sami B. Khoury, President, Holy Land Incoming Tour Operators Association, HLITOA

2.     Anthony Habash, Regional Director, Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation

10:45 am – 12:00 pm

Roundtable Discussion on Promoting Tourism in Palestine and the Holy Land: the Role of the Industry, Pilgrimage Organizers, Public End Users, and International Organizations

 

Tourism is essential for economic growth, inclusive development, and environmental sustainability, as is advocated by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). These goals are essential national goals for Palestine and at the heart of the tourism industry in the Holy Land. This session will promote pilgrimage to Palestine and the region by examining the role of the tourism industry, pilgrimage organizers, Christians, and international organizations.

 

Moderator:  Rateb Rabie, KCHS, Founder, President, and CEO of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation

 

Speakers:

 

1.     Jin-Yung Woo, Adviser on Tourism and Culture to the Secretary-General, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) of the United Nations

2.     Sami B. Khoury, President, Holy Land Incoming Tour Operators Association, HLITOA

3.     Dr. Stephen M. Colecchi, Director, Office of International Justice and Peace, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

4.     Rev. Dr. David Renwick, Senior Pastor, National Presbyterian Church, Washington, DC

5.     Dr. Cynthia Finlayson, Associate Professor of Anthropology/Archeology and Museum Studies, Brigham Young University and Bethlehem Museum Consultant

6.     Sabrina Čović Radojičić, Founder and Director, Sakramento Peace Center, Bosnia and Herzegovina

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Lunch

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Living Testimonies: Pilgrims and Local Communities as Peacemakers

Pilgrimage to the Holy Land helps followers of the faith and Christians of the Holy Land alike fulfill important personal and spiritual needs. Pilgrimage strengthens the faith and creates bonds of solidarity between the pilgrims and the local Christian communities.  It fosters appreciation of pluralism and respect for the different historical and cultural identities that Christianity encompasses.  This exchange paves the way for peace and equality.  In this session, both pilgrims and Palestinian Christians will share firsthand accounts of how these pilgrimages have changed their lives.

 

Moderator: John L. Schlageter, Esq. Executive Director, Bethlehem University Foundation

 

1.     Fr. Robert Waller, Priest, Archdiocese of Cincinnati, OH

2.     Rev. Dr. Carl S. Hofmann, Pastor of Congregational Care, First Presbyterian, Boulder, CO

3.     Rev. Hovsep Karapetyan, Pastor, St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church, Washington, DC

4.     Fr. Jacek Orzechowscki, OFM, Associate Pastor, St. Camillus Parish, Silver Spring, MD

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

 

Forging a New Bond of Solidarity for Equality, Prosperity and Peace

 

Several international actors play key roles in advancing the religious tourism industry in the Holy Land and the region.  Such players include international organizations, churches, travel agencies, cultural institutions, and the local communities.  This session gives each of these players the platform to speak and share their views on why pilgrimage is essential to promoting equality, prosperity, and peace.

 

Moderator: Dr. Donald E. Hawkins, Chairman,  Solimar International

 

Speakers:

1.     Jin-Yung Woo, Adviser on Tourism and Culture to the Secretary-General, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) of the United Nations

2.     H.E. Rula Ma’ayah, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Palestine

3.     H.E. Archbishop Carlson, Archbishop of St. Louis MO, HCEF Advisory Board Member

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Where Do We Go From Here? Concrete Steps of Action

 

After learning about the effects pilgrimage has on the Holy Land in general and on local Christians in particular, we take an opportunity to reflect on the possibilities and challenges of fostering meaningful and ethical pilgrimage to the Holy Land. This interactive session is an opportunity for participants to consider what each can do to follow-up on the contents of this conference and keep the momentum going. What concrete steps can each of us take? How do we live out what we have learned and lend a helping hand to our Christian brothers and sisters in the Holy Land by promoting religious tourism?

 

Moderator: Rateb Y. Rabie, KCHS, Founder, President, and CEO, Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation

 

Speakers:

 

1.     Anthony Habash, Regional Director, Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation

2.     Sami B. Khoury, President, Holy Land Incoming Tour Operators Association, HLITOA

*Closed event, by invitation only

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