The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation’s (HCEF) 12th International Conference on the Holy Land Christians, co-sponsored by The Pope John Paul II Cultural Foundation, Inc. will be held Friday -Saturday, November 5-6, 2010 at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, DC. The conference theme is: “Living the Faith – Promoting Peace and Human Security in the Holy Land”.
H.E. Most Reverend Donald W. Wuerl, S.T.D., Archbishop of Washington will be the keynote speaker for the Awards Banquet, held in conjunction with the International Conference, on Friday evening, November 5, 2010.
Rateb Rabie, HCEF President/CEO anticipates the dynamics of the opportunities this conference will create as he makes this statement, “This conference is educational, as well as ecumenical, as it will bring together the interfaith and business communities to build a bridge of peace and prosperity for the good will and betterment of the people in the Holy Land.”
Eminent religious leaders including the heads of churches in Jerusalem and the U.S. will participate. Among them will be: Fr. Emile Salatya of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and via simulcast, Rt. Rev. Munib A. Younan, President of the Lutheran World Federations, and Most Rev. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, OFM of Custos of the Holy Land.
In keeping with the spirit of the late Pope John Paul II and the conference theme, the plenary session will host an inter-faith dialogue by representatives of the Christian, Jewish and Muslim traditions. The speakers include Fr. Drew Christiansen, SJ, Editor-in-Chief of America Magazine, Imam Yahya Hendi, Muslim Chaplain, Georgetown University, Rabbi Gerald Serotta of the Shirat HaNefesh Congregation and a member of Clergy Beyond Borders and, the panel moderator Br. Jack Curran,Vice President of Bethlehem University.
The conference participants will be asked to consider the prophetic call to end violence in the Holy Land outlined in the Kairos Palestine Declaration. This recent document by the church leaders of the Middle East, underlines the tragic consequences of the occupation, expulsion, and loss of freedom in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The participants on this panel will include Rev. Jamal Daibes, Dean of Bethlehem University and Dr. Judith Mendelsohn Rood, Professor of History and Middle Eastern Studies, Biola University and Berlanty Azzam, recent graduate of Bethlehem University.
A panel of Middle East experts will discuss the timely and critical questions: ‘Are the choices for Israel and Palestine peace or no peace?’ ‘Are the forces of moderation in ascendancy or not?’ Participating in this panel will be Dr. Hussein Ibish, Senior Fellow of the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP), Lara Friedman, Director of Policy and Government Relations, Americans for Peace Now (APN), and Amira Hass, correspondent of the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz.
Ambassador Maen Areikat Chief of Mission of the PLO delegation to the U.S. will present the Palestinian perspective on the current developments in the peace process.
The issue of human security and how it can be advanced in the Holy Land will be explored by distinguished business leaders and NGOs including Juan-José Daboub, Ph.D., former Managing Director of the World Bank and William Corcoran, President of American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA).
The impact of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on women, children and families will be discussed by three women from Jerusalem-Christian, Jewish, and Muslim. They will speak from their personal perspective as mothers, wives and daughters who have each endured tragedy and loss in this conflict. They will be introduced by Harriet Fulbright,Former President, J. William & Harriet Fulbright Center.
Last but not least, the conference will host a special workshop for business leaders, interested in exploring business opportunities in Palestine having the potential for improving the lives of the people there. The workshop leaders will be Hashim Hani Shawa, Chairman of the Bank of Palestine, Faris Hadad-Zervos of the World Bank, Yousef Habesch of the International Finance Corporation, and Dr. Samir Hazboun, Chairman of the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
This is a brief outline of the international conference program, for complete details of the conference venue, program and speakers, please visit us online at www.hcef.org or click on these helpful links: