Bethesda, Maryland – On April 9, 2016 the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation delegation to Chile met with the Palestinian community in Concepción to bolster the Palestinian identity and promote diaspora programs. Concepción is home to, the second largest concentration of Palestinians in Chile after Santiago. The majority of these Palestinians have been living in Chile for generations. The HCEF delegation, comprised of Sir Rateb Rabie, President and CEO, Lady Rocio Rabie, Public Relations and Outreach, and Laura Menchaca, Management and Development Officer, received a warm welcome from the community.
Sir Rateb Rabie met with Alex Cattan, President of the Arab Center in Concepción. They discussed the challenges facing the Palestinian diaspora in Concepcion and at large.
Later that morning Sir Rateb Rabie held a presentation on HCEF, and its 2016 diaspora initiatives: the Know Thy Heritage Leadership Program, the Diaspora Homecoming Journey, and the 5th Annual Palestinian Diaspora Conference. The event was open to the public and gathered local community members to learn about HCEF’s 2016 diaspora initiatives. Many signed up to be part of the diaspora initiatives of 2016.
After the HCEF presentation Sir Rateb met with the Arab Center’s Board of Directors. He was able to speak with them in detail about HCEF and the diaspora initiatives being launched this summer. The Arab Center discussed ways in which they could become involved and support these initiatives.
Sir Rateb Rabie also met with youth leaders Pía Cumsille Núñez and Scandar Borbar Escobar who lead the local Palestinian youth council. They keep the Palestinian culture alive through different cultural practices, one of which is leading a dabke dance group. It was heartening to see that, although these youth are a few generations out, their spirit is still strong for Palestine.
Following this conversation the HCEF delegation received a tour of the Arab Center. They were impressed by the community’s organization and ingenuity in keeping their Palestinian identity alive.
Sir Rateb Rabie met with Antonio Hanania, General Manager of Hanania Enterprises. They discussed the business landscape and how the Palestinian economy could benefit from more involvement from the Palestinian diaspora.
The HCEF delegation was inspired by the resilience of the Palestinian community in Concepción and their determination in keeping their bonds to Palestine alive. They left excited about the prospect of working together and hoping to see many of them in the Holy Land this summer.