“Let us work together to replace despair with HOPE, fear with human SECURITY and humiliation with DIGNITY”
Conference Program 2018-10-13T07:34:05+00:00

Conference Program


9:00-10:00 Registration

Opening Ceremony

Sir Rateb Rabie, KCHS, HCEF president/CEO
H.E. Agshin Mehdiyev, Ambassador/Permanent Observer of Organization of Islamic Cooperation to the United Nations
H.E. Ambassador Dr. Riyad H. Mansour, Permanent Observer Mission of the State of Palestine to the United Nations
H.E. Dina Kawar, Ambassador of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan*
Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Joumala, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco*


Plenary Session: What Jerusalem Means to Us:
Christian and Muslim Perspectives and Reflections

Jerusalem is the spiritual home of the three monotheistic faiths of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Each has a stake in it. In this panel, Christian and Muslim leaders will share their views on the Holy and Human City and what Christians and Muslims can do to preserve its soul and spirit before it is too late.

Moderator: Fr. Michael McDonagh, Senior advisor to the Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and Archbishop of Jerusalem
Dr. Rev. David A. Renwick, Senior Pastor, National Presbyterian Church
Imam Yehia Hendi, Muslim chaplain at Georgetown University
Fr. Drew Christiansen, S.J., HCEF Co-founder, Distinguished Professor of Ethics Global Development at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.
H.E. Bishop Richard A. Graham, Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Synod
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America




Advocacy on and Solidarity with Jerusalem:
The Crucial Role of Religious Leaders and Peace Organizations

Jerusalem’s sacredness and national significance raise questions about the role of religion in conflict and peace and the relationships between the religious and secular authorities. Several Christian and Muslim leaders as well as peace organizations are active in bringing awareness about and supporting Middle East peace. These relate to Christian-Muslim dialogue and solidarity, as well as the religious response to secular decisions. This roundtable will explain the necessity of peace, in addition to how religious institutions and secular organizations can better influence the future course of events in the United States and beyond.

Moderator: Sir Rateb Y. Rabie, KCHS: President/CEO of HCEF
Julia Pitner, Executive Director, Institute for Palestine Studies
Dr. Osama Abuirshaid, National Policy Director, American Muslim for Palestine*
Rebecca Vilkomerson, Executive Director, Jewish Voice for Peace*

6:00pm -10:00pm

Reception and Celebratory Banquet
Maggiano’s Little Italy Restaurant – Chevy Chase Banquet Room
5333 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20015

Master of Ceremonies: Stephen B. Corbin, D.D.S., M.P.H, Former Vice President, Special Olympic, and HCEF Board of Directors



8:30-9:30 Registration

Welcome and Introduction to Conference


Palestinian Geopolitical Status under the Israeli Occupation, with a Special Focus on East Jerusalem

Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank and the Israeli separation wall on Palestinian territories have complicated Palestinian daily life and have been serious obstacles to peace between Palestinians and Israelis. This presentation will focus on their impact on Palestine and the larger issue of peace.

Moderator: Dr. Hanna Hanania, HCEF Board members, Member of the Palestinian National Council and of the Palestinian Central Council
Dr. Jad Elias Isaac, General Director, the Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (ARIJ)
Hania Bitar, Executive Director, Palestinian Youth Association for Leadership and Rights Activation (PYALARA)


Enlivening Jerusalem: Christian and Muslim Contributions to the City’s Education, Culture, and Social Advancement

There is a substantial Christian and Muslim presence in Jerusalem, including religious, educational, and social service institutions and organizations. The challenges include cultural-social constraints, an ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict, a 51-year old occupation, and a lack of funds. This panel will explore what Christians and Muslims are doing to advance the education, culture, and social life in Jerusalem.

Moderator: Fr. John Predmore, S. J., HCEF Board Member
Fr. Michael McDonagh, Senior advisor to the Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and Archbishop of Jerusalem
John L. Schlageter, Executive Director of the Bethlehem University Foundation
Imam Yehia Hendi, Muslim chaplain at Georgetown University

12:30 – 1:00

Visual Presentation, HCEF “Keeping Our Vision Alive”

1:00 – 2:00


2:00 – 3:15

Building East Jerusalem and Palestine through Business and Tourism

The Palestinian economy in East Jerusalem and the West Bank faces many unique challenges but also has a huge potential for growth. This panel presents the current and projected state of the Palestinian economy and examines how the Diaspora youth can positively impact the economy through investment and knowledge sharing. The panel utilizes the experience of business leaders in Palestine and in the Diaspora to explore opportunities for creating jobs, building a strong infrastructure, and developing capacities and skills to prepare the economy for the future State of Palestine. We will hear from representatives of the food industry, the stock market, and tourism as well as learn what role the youth (e.g., KTH) can play.

3:15 – 4:30

Jerusalem Key to Palestinian-Israeli Peace

Peace negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel are at a standstill. By recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, halting its funding to UNRWA, and closing down the mission of the Palestinian Liberation Organization in Washington, DC, the United States has practically stopped being an even-handed peace mediator. By continuing its occupation and by recently enacting its basic Law, “Israel, the Nation-State of the Jewish People,” Israel has shown its true intentions, mainly its lack of seriousness about peace with the Palestinians. Are we at a dead end? How can peace be advanced? This panel will present what it takes to re-ignite the peace flame.

Moderator: Prof. Saliba Sarsar, Ph.D.: Chair, HCEF Research and Publication Committee & Professor of Political Science, Monmouth University
Khalil E. Jahshan, Executive Director, Arab Center Washington D.C.
Dr. James Zogby, President, Arab American Institute
H.E. Feda Abdelhady-Nasser, Ambassador, Deputy Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations.