The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF), during a press conference held, Wednesday, March 9, 2011, proudly celebrated two exciting new developments:

(1) The opening of the HCEF INN at the Ecumenical Center for Research and Development (ECRD) and (2) the KNOW THY HERITAGE (KTH) program!

As the headquarters for the HCEF Bethlehem office, The Ecumenical Center for Research and Development (ECRD) is the perfect meeting place with its spacious conference and meeting rooms. This center will not just encourage and welcome HCEF pilgrims, but will also fulfill a vital role as a training facility in support of the local community through the empowerment of agents for social justice.

Rateb Rabie, President and CEO of HCEF, was joined at our opening celebration by honored guest His Beatitude Patriarch Fouad Twal, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. Other esteemed guests in attendance included mayors of Beit Sahour, Bethlehem and Beit Jalla, the Governor of Bethlehem District, the Minister of Tourism and members of media, TV, Radio and newspaper.

March 14, 2011, The ECRD building and resource center, with its new lobby and 25 sleeping rooms, capable of accommodating 56 people, will warmly welcome its first guests, a group of pilgrims from Russia! The INN is equipped with internet, cable TV, dining rooms other amenities to provide full service and an enjoyable visit for participants of workshops, conferences, symposiums, etc. Groups of all types are invited to contact HCEF if they too would like to be hosted in the beautiful HCEF INN during their visit to Bethlehem.

Also, HCEF launched Know Thy Heritage (KTH) program! Know Thy Heritage is a Palestinian national project to connect Palestinian youth in the Diaspora with their heritage in Palestine. To that end, HCEF will welcome 40 Palestinian-American youth to Palestine this summer, where they will gain important knowledge to stand always in solidarity with Palestine and to beAmbassadors of Peace in America, or anywhere life takes them. We have already begun accepting delegates and interest in the program is increasing every day in the US.

Our Delegation represents the great diversity and accomplishments of the Palestinian Diaspora, with young men and women, Muslims and Christians, hailing from all over the Unites States and from a wide variety of academic, professional and artistic backgrounds. HCEF President and CEO Rateb Rabie said, “The KTH program provides a unique thrust in the efforts of connecting today’s generation of youth in the Diaspora with their homeland.”

Mr. Rabie expresses his gratitude and appreciation to all members of the Advisory Board and partners for their support for program and for making it a reality. KTH Advisors and Partners are Hashim Hani Shawa, Chairman of the Board and General Manager, Bank of Palestine Samer Khoury, Executive Vice President Operations, Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) Ammar Aker, Paltel Group CEO, Paltel Foundation, Rateb Rabie, President/CEO, Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation, Dr.Mohammad Mustafa, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Palestinian Investment Fund, Azzam A. Shawwa, General Manager, Quds Bank Welfare Association, Zahi Khouri, Chairman of the Palestine Tourism Investment Co. & Chairman of the National Beverage Co. (Coca Cola), George Salem, Esq., Law Offices of George Salem, PLLC, Nafez Husseini M.SC., CCP, Chief Technology & Telecom Officer, Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC).

His Beatitude Patriarch Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and HCEF Advisory Board Chair encouraged all people to support this project to build solidarity and a sense of belonging to the Holy Land, emphasizing the importance of this project as it represents a timely message to the world to better know the reality of the Palestinian and the Holy Land. Additionally, as Ambassadors of Peace, the KTH delegates and participants will better learn to communicate their message of peace to a listening world.

For more information about the HCEF INN, KTH or other HCEF programs, visit our website at To request a KTH application, send an email to


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