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151, November 2010 Latest update 9 2014f August 2014, at 4.39 am
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Investment: A Keystone for a Future Palestine
By Sir Rateb Y. Rabie
The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation
12th International Conference in Washington, DC
November 5-7, 2010

Now is a critical moment in the life of the Palestinian nation. Palestinians are uniting their efforts toward establishing a state founded on justice, peace, and equality. The Palestinian people are committed to their rebirth as a nation. For this dream to be realized, institutions must be built in order to meet humanitarian, cultural, and material needs. The Palestinian people are committed to building these. The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF) is eager to be a partner in this historic development.

The theme of this year’s conference is: “Living the Faith: Promoting Peace and Human Security in the Holy Land.” For more than twelve years, HCEF has endeavoured to build support among Americans who desire to make a significant impact on the promotion of peace and human security in the Holy Land.

This year’s international conference opens a unique opportunity for people from all walks of life to become key players in this process. HCEF is hosting an Investment Forum to which distinguished American, Arab-American, and Palestinian business leaders have been invited. Its focus will be the key issues related to investment in Palestine. The goal of the forum is to identify robust and effective mechanisms for implementing emerging business strategies.

Some of the distinguished speakers and participants at the Investment Forum will include: Mr. Hashim Hani Shawa, Chairman of the Board and General Manager, Bank of Palestine; Dr. Juan José Daboub, former Managing Director of the World Bank and former Minister of Finance of El Salvador; Mr. Ammar Aker, CEO of the Paltel Group; Dr. Samir Hazboun, Chairman of the Board of the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Dr. Howard Sumka, Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator, Middle East Bureau of USAID; Mr. Youssef Habesch, Country Officer, Middle East and North Africa, International Finance Corporation, World Bank Group; Mr. Faris Hadad-Zervos, Advisor to the Fragile and Conflict-Affected Countries Group (OPCFCO) of the World Bank; and Mr. Ziad Anabtawi, CEO of the Anabtawi Group. On another level, HCEF media partners will be attending the Investment Forum, including Mr. Sani P. Meo, General Manager of Turbo Design and This Week in Palestine, Mr. Danny Qumsieh, General Manager of Radio Mawwal and Radio Cool FM, and a representative from Ma’an News Network.

The presence of these distinguished participants extends beyond personal self-interest. Each sees his role as a catalyst. It is an opportunity to do good by connecting investors interested in the welfare of the Palestinian people with emerging opportunities. This dynamic can lead to the development of healthy societal institutions and usher in a new era of economic stability for the Palestinian people.

The Palestinian people in the Holy Land are looking to their brothers and sisters in the diaspora and to the rest of the world to share this important message: You need to be part of our historic process of institution building. Invest some portion of your resources in the future of Palestine. We do not need single-impact acts of philanthropy.

The Investment Forum seeks to address this challenge.
The principal objectives of the Forum are to:
Acquaint Americans, Arab-Americans, and Palestinian business leaders with recent economic developments and investment opportunities in Palestine;
Develop mechanisms to invest and conduct business in Palestine - delineating practical, detailed steps to accomplish this and gain transparency in the transactions;
Outline best practices for dealing with the Palestinians and their institutions, whether the investment is one thousand dollars or one million;
Provide specific information about safe investment opportunities such as group funds and applicable guarantees;
Review planned city and township developments in Palestine, including opportunities for personal home ownership.

The two-day conference will attract 400-500 people from around the world who are interested in promoting peace, security, and development of the human potential in the Holy Land. The Conference Awards Banquet will be held on Friday evening, November 5, 2010 at the Bethesda Marriott in Bethesda, Maryland. The Most Reverend Donald W. Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington and President of The Pope John Paul II Cultural Center will be the keynote speaker. Additional attendees will include: H.E. Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio (Vatican Ambassador) to the United States; H.E. Maen Areikat, the Palestinian Ambassador; and numerous Arab and foreign ambassadors, heads of Arab-American and American organizations, and church representatives. At the Banquet, HCEF will honour Bethlehem University with the Living Stones Solidarity Award. The other honourees will be: Mr. George Salem, Esq. receiving the Path of Peace Award; Mr. Osama Kishek and Mrs. Rula Kishek receiving the HCEF Award; and Sisters Anne Guinan, MHSH and Caritas Kennedy, RSM, receiving the HCEF President’s Award. Read more about the conference by visiting our website:

In its vision and practice, HCEF has always sought to strengthen cooperation and solidarity between the United States and the people of Palestine. For the people of Palestine, a new era has begun. The challenge for those of us in America is to build new strategic partnerships with the Palestinian people in order to realize this new dawn. Now is the time to unite our efforts and replace despair with hope, fear with security, and humiliation with human dignity.

Sir Rateb Y. Rabie is President/CEO and co-founder of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation.
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