Interfaith Voices of Peace Address HCEF’s 13th International Conference Participants

Three eminent religious leaders – Christian, Jewish, and Muslim — will speak of their personal efforts to promote peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the region. The panelists are Rev. Dr. Fahed Abu Akel of the Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Atlanta and Moderator of the 214th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, Imam Yahya Hendi of Georgetown University, and Rabbi Arthur Blecher of the Beth Chai Greater Washington Jewish Humanist Congregation. Claudette Habesch, Secretary General of CARITAS Jerusalem will moderate the panel.


The panelist will share their personal testimonies as they show that a deep commitment to peace is not an option for the true believer but is integral to his belief system. They will discuss how the three Abrahamic faith traditions, each in its unique way, offer a path to reconciliation and peace in the region, especially at today’s critical juncture.

Rev. Dr. Fahed Abu-Akel is Founder/Executive Director for the Atlanta Ministry of International Students. He was born in Kuffer-Yassif, Galilee, Israel of Christian Palestinian parents. He served the Presbyterian Church in numerous executive capacities including Moderator of its 214th General Assembly, the first Palestinian Arab American to hold this office in 200 years.

Imam Yahya Hendi is the Muslim chaplain at Georgetown University. He is also the Imam of the Islamic Society of Frederick, MD and the Muslim chaplain at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. He is the Founder/President of Clergy Beyond Borders and Founder/President of the Imams for Universe, Dignity, Human Rights and Dialogue.

Rabbi Arthur Blecher is both an ordained Rabbi and a practicing psychotherapist. Since 1987 he is the Rabbi of Beth Chai, the Greater Washington Jewish Humanist Congregation.

Claudette Habesch is Secretary General of CARITAS Jerusalem and member of its international commissions since 1991. Born in Jerusalem she studied at the Beirut College for Women receiving a B.A. in Social Work in 1960.

This session will be held from 10:00 – 11:00 am, Saturday, October 29, 2011 at the plenary session of the 13th HCEF International Conference on the Holy Land at the National Presbyterian Church located at 4101 Nebraska Avenue, NW, Washington, DC.