On this day, Know thy Heritage (KTH) successfully congregated many university students and established promising joint committees from three esteemed Palestinian Universities: Birzeit University, Bethlehem University and An-Najah University. Although there is a focus on investments and Palestinian entrepreneurship, this year’s conference emphasizes an imperative discussion on how to strengthen and maintain the connection and networking system of Palestinian youth initiatives globally.

KTH strongly believes in the importance of solidifying the youth’s passion for Palestinian excellence, especially since our country’s youth are the future leaders, innovators and key holders to Palestine’s freedom. Not only did the conference allow diaspora to feel more connected to Palestine, but it also provided its participants with valuable experience to investigating significant issues associated with Palestine and its people. Our lengthily list of esteemed guests joined us on three different panels in order to discuss complex, yet fundamental topics such as ‘Countering Negative Practices in Jerusalem and the American Stand on Jerusalem,’ and ‘Building Palestine through Business, Tourism, and Investment.’ Each of the delegates proudly introduced each honourable speaker to the panel, as well as initiated discussion with the panel members in order to gain a more specified insight on the explored themes. With the knowledge and ideas gathered from the two starting panels, the KTH delegates and other Palestinian youth put their thoughts together in a powerful brainstorming session focused on the topic of  ‘Empowering and Connecting Palestinian Youth from Around the World.’ This panel offered a more intimate opportunity for the youth at the conference as it consisted of three different breakout sessions, where the conference attendees were organized into smaller groups in order to discuss the empowerment of Palestinian youth through three topics: Education and Job Creation, Solidarity, Advocacy and Organizational Mobilization and lastly, Social Media and Networking. Through these deliberations, the members were able to present their overall ideas and concepts for each topic in order to collaborate with each other to formulate an ultimate resolution.

The group members found that a common theme in all the topics is utilizing the vast world of social networking in order to connect youth with mentors in their field of work, and also bring together like-minded individuals from the thousands of Palestinian advocacy organizations across the globe. This provides opportunities to share experiences, strengthen the bond between Palestinians and provide a safe space of youth to create initiatives that reinforce the Palestinian cause. One promising idea that was explored is the concept of creating a KTH Youth App that offers a multifaceted platform similar to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram combined. Through this, diaspora can connect, discuss and share vital information that relates back to awareness and advocacy, in order inspire each young Palestinian to serve their country with their own distinctive skill set.

By the end of the event, members were not only sharing laughs and thoughts, but also exchanging contact information, in order for the KTH team leaders to create online forums with a goal of continuing the discussion even after the diaspora return to their respective countries. Additionally, KTH is delighted to announce that the 8th Palestinian Diaspora conference for 2019 will also be in partnership with Birzeit University and it’s talented staff and students.

Conference Program

is co-sponsored by:


 Saturday, July 14, 2018

Conference Objectives:

  • Implement KTH’s mission and goals
  • Make the Palestinian Birthright a reality, not only in spirit but also on-the-ground
  • Concretize the networks of Diaspora Palestinians
  • Revive the momentum among  Diaspora networks in preparation for the growth and strengthening of Diaspora initiatives
  • Ensure that Diaspora participants feel connected to Palestine
  • Give conference participants a valuable experience in examining important issues related to Palestine and the Palestinian Diaspora


Click here to download the Conference Program PDF document.

08:00 am – 09:00 am Registration
09:00 am – 9:30 am Welcoming Remarks

Nicola Kawas, Program Coordinator – Palestine, KTH and HCEF

Introduction of the KTH Delegation and Conference

Dr. Hanada Kharma, Director, Palestine and Arabic Studies Program

09:30am – 9:45am Video – KTH program
9:45 am- 10:45 am Palestine Welcomes Her Youth

Sir Rateb Rabie, KCHS, President/CEO, Know Thy Heritage,

Inc. and the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation

H.E. Dr. Abdul Latif R Abu Hijleh, President, Birzeit University

Delegate’s Message, Rasha Eliesa, Denmark

H.E. Hanan Imseh, Mayor of Birzeit

H.E Dr. Nasser Qatami, Advisor to the Prime Minister for Arab and Islamic Fund Affairs  

Representing H. E. Dr. Rami Hamdallah, Prime Minister

E. Laila Ghannam, Governor of Ramallah

Presentations of Palestine Keys

10:45 am – 12:00 pm Countering Negative Practices in Jerusalem and the American Stand on Jerusalem: Local, Regional, and International Responses
Moderator: Leila Sansour, CEO, Open BethlehemE. Dr. Tayseer Khaled, Executive Member at PLO *Head of the Department of Expatriate AffairsDr. Mahdi Abdul Hadi, Chairman, the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (PASSIA)H.E. Dr. Amb. Amal Jadou, Ph.D., the Assistant Minister of European AffairsMuch is being done to change and endanger the status quo of Jerusalem which has held for at least 250 years. The Israeli authorities are in a rush to alter the character of the Holy City through various Judaization scheme. President Donald Trump recently recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital and moved the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. These actions have ramifications not only for the local communities but also for the entire Middle East and the world. This panel will examine what can be done to counteract the negative practices toward Jerusalem.
12:00 pm- 12:15 pm Break
12:15 pm – 01:30 pm Building Palestine through Business, Tourism, and Investment
Moderator: Ghassan Anabtawi, Managing Partner, Anabtawi Creative Realities for Financial and Management Consulting, and Fratello Software HouseH.E. Mr. Azzam Shawwa, Governor, Palestine Monetary AuthorityE. Dr. Nasser Qatami, Advisor to the Prime Minister for Arab and Islamic Fund AffairsMr. Raed Saadeh, Development and Tourism Expert / ConsultantThe Palestinian economy faces many unique challenges but also has a huge potential for growth. This panel will present 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 leaders in Palestine and in the Diaspora to explore opportunities for creating jobs, building a strong infrastructure, and capacity building to prepare the economy for the future State of Palestine. We will hear from representatives in information technology, the food industry, and the stock market and learn what role the youth can play.
01:30 pm – 02:15 pm Lunch
02:15 pm – 03:15 pm Empowering and Connecting Palestinian Youth from Around the World
Moderator: Sir Rateb Rabie1) Roundtable Discussion:No matter the distance, Palestinian youth in the Diaspora, like all people of Palestinian origin, remain attached to their national roots. Palestinian youth in Palestine, like all people in Palestine, long to reunite with their brothers and sisters in the Diaspora. After reuniting, each feels fulfilled and whole again. This session will shed light on how the youth can create and foster a variety of connections that will enable them to live Palestine, actualize their potential, become active participants in their communities, and advocate for justice and peace.
03:15 pm – 04:15 pm 2) Breakout Sessions:

Participants split into groups, each focusing on a topic (see below) in order to explore ways of working together, of helping each other, so as to better connect in support of mutual benefit, national community advancement, and the future of Palestine.

Topics for Breakout Sessions:

  1. Education, and Job Creation
  2. Solidarity, Advocacy, and Organizational Mobilization
  3. Social Media and Networking
04:15 pm – 05:00 pm 3) Where Do We Go from Here?

Presentation of summaries of breakout sessions and of resolution regarding “The Palestinian Youth Look Forward”


First Panel

“Palestine Welcomes her Youth” Panel

“We started looking for a home, away from our home. Yet still, our land, our Palestine, is still in our hearts … There is a Palestine that dwells inside all of us, a Palestine that needs to be freed.” – Dr. Abdul Latif R Abu Hijleh, President of Birzeit University
“Speaking the Arabic language is essential to bringing life to the written and oral heritage that is used by Palestinians.” – Dr. Hanada Kharma, Director of Palestine and Arabic Studies Program

“To see what the occupation has managed to do- it has fragmented us, on the ground. Our country is separated and isolated. We have become small communities with gates. Palestinian villages have turned into jails.” – Dr. Hanada Kharma, Director of Palestine and Arabic Studies Program – Birzeit University

“The diaspora this year come from 6 different countries. They are our assets, our ambassadors. We have created a global movement to unite Palestine once again.” – Sir Rateb Rabie, KCHS, President/CEO of Know Thy Heritage and the Hold Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation

“You cannot tell the difference between Muslims and Christians in Palestine. We are all the same, and we are all humiliated by the occupation. We need to come together, and connect with one another.” – Sir Rateb Rabie, KCHS, President/CEO of Know Thy Heritage, and the HCEF

“Together we plan, together we execute. At the local government level, we are trying our best to solve issues that our society is facing in order to support a withstanding Palestinian state.” – Hanan Imseh, Mayor of Birzeit
“Although we have not been raised in Palestine, we did not feel like strangers. We felt like true Palestinians, we were welcomed with open arms and open hearts.” – Rasha Eliesa, KTH Delegate, Denmark

Second Panel

“Countering Negative Practices in Jerusalem
and the American Stand on Jerusalem” Panel

Local, Regional, and International Responses

“Jerusalem is the center and identity of Palestine. We need to discover effective methods to strategically work together to make a difference.” – Laila Sansour, CEO of Open Bethlehem
“Since Israel has occupied Jerusalem, they have tried to implement a variety of strategies to conduct ethnic cleansing. They have revoked identification cards from over 14,000 Palestinians living in Jerusalem.” – Dr. Tayseer Khaled, Executive Member of the PLO
“The Israeli occupation accounts for 60% of Palestinian land. Palestinians are encouraged to be visible and engage on the ground as much as they can with the settlers. RESIST IS TO EXSIST- make it known you are there to stay.” – Dr. Mahdi Abdul Hadi, Chairman of PASSIA-Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs

“Palestine is divided, between the West Bank and Gaza. The surrounding Middle East is in constant conflict. The EU is busy with their own issues, and the US is completely aligned with Israel. All this effects the question of the Palestinian state.” – Dr. Amal Jadou, the Assistant Minister of European Affairs

“The Trump Administration does not care about international law, and is completely silent on the issue of settlements. The expansion of settlements is the death of the two state solution. Over 250,000 Israeli settlers are living among Palestinians and growing.” – Dr. Amal Jadou, the Assistant Minister of European Affairs

Third Panel

“Building Palestine through Business, Tourism, and Investment” Panel

“As an occupied country, we face many limitations. One of Israel’s goals is to negatively impact the Palestinian economy through their occupation. We should be viewed as a model for resisting such aggressive obstacles.” – Mr. Nasser Qatami, Adviser to the Prime Minister for Arab and Islamic Fund Affairs
“Cultural heritage is both tangible and intangible. Tangible is the preservation of architectural/historical centers and villages. Intangible is music, dance, and folklore. Both are part of our identity; they tell our story.” – Mr. Raed Saadeh, Development and Tourism Consultant
“Know who you are. Know your strength. Build on your strength.” – Ghassan Anabtawi, Managing Partner for Creative Realities
“We need diaspora to morally and financially support Palestine. The best way to help financially is to invest in the Palestinian people and economy.” – Mr. Azzam Shawwa, Governor of Palestine Monetary Authority

Fourth Panel

“Empowering and Connecting the Palestinian Youth from Around the World” Panel

“To the diaspora, we want you to keep coming home and visiting your land. This is how we prove to the world, that this land is ours. We are not afraid, we will not surrender. This land is ours, and you are a part of it.” – ayoub sroor nilin, Conference Participant
“The KTH program has provided us with strong insight into the Palestinian situation. Not as a victim, but as humans that are innovative, generous, and take pride in their culture and history.” – Sehan Shahin, KTH Delegate, Australia
“The network that KTH has created is incredible. After so many years, KTH alumni still keep in touch and follow each other’s journeys.” – Afife Khoury, KTH Alumni 2013, El Salvador
“I grew up in a very unusual environment in Jerusalem. My house was right next to the wall; my father didn’t have an ID card so, I grew up without him. I haven’t met some of my family members. I live that apartheid everyday.” – Farah Soudah, Student, Bethlehem University
“It is no doubt that the youth are a force that can bring about change in society.” – Sumaia Elkadomi, KTH Delegate, Australia


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