Waging Peace, November 2010, Page 61

HCEF Conference to Examine Business Opportunities in Palestine

Dr. Samir Hazboun (l), and Faris Hadad-Zervos will speak. (Photo Courtesy IRMEP)

Along with its traditional, and very popular, annual conference, the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF) is organizing a Nov. 5 and 6 forum at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, DC to examine "Business Opportunities and the Investing Environment in Palestine." The Investment Forum, co-sponsored by the Pope John Paul II Foundation, Inc. and the Bank of Palestine, will add a new dimension to HCEF's 12th international conference this year.

In announcing the Investment Forum, HCEF president and CEO Rateb Rabie noted that "HCEF is committed to building bridges of peace through dialogue and action. Indeed, this year's conference theme is 'Living the Faith: Promoting Peace and Human Security in the Holy Land.' This forum is a key part of this bridge-building and offers a unique opportunity to build dynamic economic cooperation between the U.S. and Palestine."

Forum speakers will include Hashim Hani Shawa, chairman and general manager of the Bank of Palestine; Dr. Juan José Daboub, former managing director of the World Bank; Dr. Samir Hazboun, chairman of the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Youssef Habesch, country officer with the International Finance Corporation; Faris Hadad-Zervos, adviser to the World Bank; and William Corcoran, president of American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA).

HCEF's annual conference has always been a means for HCEF to build support in the United States among people who want to make a significant impact by promoting peace and human security in the Holy Land. Organizers hope that by adding the Investment Forum they can offer attendees specific ways to help Palestinians and become key players in improving economic prospects in the Holy Land.

This multifaceted Investment Forum will cover a wide range of information with regard to business opportunities and the investment environment. Some objectives include introducing to Palestinian and Arab-Americans and other interested parties, potential investors' ideas for economic development projects in Palestine, as well as existing business and investment opportunities. Panelists will delineate practical, step-by-step explanations for how to invest and how to gain transparency in the transactions relating to investments.

Additionally, the forum will provide specific information about safe investment opportunities (group funds) in Palestine, as well as information about the Bank of Palestine, including its upcoming Jubilee Celebration and optimistic outlook for the future.

Recently returned from a visit to the occupied territories, Rabie said that people wanted him to deliver a message to their brothers and sisters in the Diaspora and to the rest of the world: "They need us to be a part of the development process and to invest ourselves and some portion of our resources in the future of Palestine. They do not need single-impact acts of philanthropy."

The 12th International Conference and the Investment Forum offer important opportunities for business leaders and individuals to become engaged in building an independent, prosperous, peaceful future in Palestine. For more information about the Investment Forum and the complete conference program visit. Interested parties and organizations can also contact Rula Dababneh, HCEF's Palestine/Arab- American outreach coordinator, at (301) 283-1600 or via e-mail at: <[email protected]>.

Karen Gainor

Additional information