HCEF Launches Economic Development Initiative: Future Business Leaders of Palestine
Palestinian Diaspora Youth from all over the world are the first members of the new Future Business Leaders Initiative
¨There are 7.5 million Palestinians in the Diaspora,” Bank of Palestine representative Raya Sbitany told an audience of attendees of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation’s (HCEF) 4th Annual International Palestinian Diaspora Conference. “By meeting successful Palestinians abroad and linking them, we can do so much.¨
With more Palestinians in the Diaspora than in Palestine, the potential economic impact this population can have in the region is yet to be seen — especially within the realm of business and investment. HCEF seeks to change this, and it is well equipped to do so.HCEF has an excellent track record in effectively engaging the Palestinian Diaspora, Churches and business leaders in North and South America, encouraging them to invest in various Palestinian sectors and encouraging Christian churches—particularly Presbyterian and Episcopal churches – to do the same. HCEF is able to attract various corporations, churches and individuals because their model is centered on positive engagement, positive investment, and continued dialogue in Palestine.
Beginning this summer, in partnership with the Palestinian Market Development Programme (PMDP), HCEF launched its latest initiative aimed at the Palestinian Diaspora youth — the Future Business Leaders (FBL) of Palestine. This nascent initiative, run in conjunction with the organization’s currently existing Know Thy Heritage (KTH) Leadership Program for Palestinian Diaspora youth, aims to satisfy HCEF’s mission of highlighting business and investment opportunities in Palestine, facilitating informative awareness sessions and arranging meetings between businesses and investors by tapping into Palestine’s vast Diaspora network.
Founded in 1998 in Washington DC, HCEF is a non-profit, charitable and development organization committed to sustaining and enhancing Palestinian society and the Arab culture at large. Though the organization has spent the last 17 years cultivating a number of programs in both the United States and Palestine, a focused effort to bridge Palestine and its widespread Diaspora began in 2011 with the creation of KTH, a leadership program which seeks to strengthen the Palestinian Diaspora’s knowledge of their Palestinian heritage and culture, while also introducing the Diaspora to Palestine’s economic, political, and social structures. Since the program’s inception there are close to 200 Diaspora youth who have participated in KTH from five continents and 15 countries: Italy, Qatar, UAE, USA, Honduras, Jordan, Chile, Colombia, Australia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, UK, Guatemala, France, and Canada. The FBL initiative, which falls on the KTH program’s 5th anniversary, aims to bring the Diaspora’s economic understanding of Palestine to a whole new level.
FBL’s primary means of empowering the Palestinian economy by educating Palestinian Diaspora youth on the current and projected state of the Palestinian economy, and how they can affect it positively with their influence. In addition to developing business leaders and investment in the Diaspora, the end-goal is to create a network of various sector leaders in Palestine and elsewhere, thereby allowing FBL alumni to act as ambassadors in their countries of residence, connecting businesses and investors together. Some of the many ways HCEF aims to do this includes:
- Attract and encourage Palestinians in Diaspora to invest in the Palestinian market through the youth
- Attract and encourage citizens of the respective countries of Diaspora Palestinians to invest in the Palestinian market through the youth
- Participate in building the infrastructure of the State of Palestine
- Improve the quality of education in various sectors as well as develop the workforce and entrepreneurial competencies
- Acquaint investors of new ground-up investments in new communities and real estate developments in Palestine including showcasing potential opportunities to buy personal homes
According to HCEF President & CEO Sir Rateb Rabie, KCHS, the FBL program will not only be groundbreaking in the way Palestinians in the Diaspora engage with their ancestral homeland, but it also promises to make a significant impact on Palestine itself, by engaging the Palestinian youth.
“All Palestinians of the Diaspora and of Palestine will benefit directly from the economic expansion that correlates with a growing number of young professionals who are well-connected, well-equipped and personally driven to make a positive change where it matters,” Rabie said.
For further information about how HCEF and its many initiatives to promote Palestine, please visit its website atwww.hcef.org