In making the announcement, HCEF President Rateb Rabie hailed Mrs. Habesch for “her internationally recognized leadership in numerous charitable organizations and her lifelong commitment to initiatives for peace and reconciliation in the Arab-Israeli conflict.”
Mrs. Claudette Habesch, born in Jerusalem, attended the Notre Dame de Sion School completing the London Matriculation. She studied at the Beirut College for Women receiving a B.A. in Social Work, followed by internship in medical social work at the American University Hospital in Beirut.
Mrs. Habesch is the secretary general of Caritas Jerusalem. She has served the Palestinian community in numerous capacities. She was chair of the YMCA Women’s Council (1971-75), a National Board member (1978-84), and its president (1989-93). She was vice president of the Board of Directors of Terra Sancta Club in Jerusalem (1973-80). She was elected as president of the MONA region (Middle East and North Africa) for two consecutive terms (1999 -1007). As such, she served as vice president of Caritas Internationalis for the MONA region (Middle East and North Africa). She has been a member of delegations of the Holy See including its delegate to the UN Conference on Women, held in Beijing, China in 1995. She was a member of Pontificum Consilium-Cor Unum from 1990 to 1999.
Mrs. Habesch has served as a member of the Working Group on Refugees of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) and is a member of the Central Committee of the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees since 1992 (DSPR). Subsequently, she held the chairmanship from 2001 to 2004. She is a council member of the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) in Geneva since 1995.
Mrs. Habesch is on the Board of Trustees of Bethlehem University since 1997 and since 2007, she has served as vice president of the board. She has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Saint Yves Society since 2002. She was inducted as Lady Commander of the Order of Saint Gregory the Great with star in 1997. In recognition of her numerous humanitarian contributions, she was honored in 2004 by the Catholic University of San Antonio, Murcia, Spain, with the International Voluntary Service Award. As well, Mrs. Habesch was the 2006 recipient of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation’s HCEF Award.