KTH/HCEF representative, President/CEO, Sir Rateb Rabie, KCHS, recently concluded an inspirational and successful visit to El Salvador and Honduras, which are home to 70,000 and 200,000 Palestinians, respectively.
The main purpose of the visit was to reach out to various Palestinian individuals and families, organizations, and the Church to empower them by strengthening their knowledge of their Palestinian identity, culture, history, and traditions, as well as their understanding of the Palestinian economic environment, political landscape, social structures, and conditions. It is also to introduce them to the KTH mission, goals, and programs, in hopes of garnering their support and working as a unified body, with the following four tasks in mind.
- Encourage Palestinian youth to join the KTH 2023 delegation to Palestine.
- Organize Palestinian diaspora families’ trips to visit Palestine.
- Promote Palestinian tourism to the Holy Land within the Churches.
- Create an enduring presence for KTH in Latin America by engaging Palestinians in activities and advocacy for Palestine, and support the KTH Mission.
Following the visit, Sir Rateb stated, “I was received by the Palestinian diaspora in Central America with open arms and hearts. They welcomed my mission and visión, and all generations were deeply moved to awaken the Palestinian diaspora sleeping giant to care for and connect with Palestine as it is our responsibility. We are all looking forward to enhance that visión and our collective work.”
Among the highlights of the visit are the following events:
- Held a presentation to introduce the KTH and its mission at the Arabic Club in San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador, and to recruit young Palestinians to visit, live, and serve Palestine in July 2023.
- Met the leadership of the three Palestinian organizations in El Salvador separately, la Association Palestino Salvadoreño, Arabic Club, and Asociación Comunidad Palestina en El Salvador, and offered them a partnership with KTH to serve Palestine and the Palestinian diaspora.
- Held a presentation in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, at Villa San Miguel Center to introduce KTH and its mission, and to further encourage young Palestinians to visit, live, and serve Palestine in July 2023.
- Attended several meetings and events at the residencies of Palestinians in both countries and invited them to visit Palestine through KTH’s Live and Serve Palestine, a leadership initiative, or family visit program “Home Journey of a lifetime to Palestine, the Holy Land!” for all ages.
- Held a meeting with Palestinian diaspora community leaders and activists in Honduras to discuss the creation of KTH in Honduras to serve Palestine and the Palestinian diaspora and decided to create and register the KTH Honduras Association as a branch of KTH, Inc. based on the existing KTH By-Laws, and a draft concept was prepared by the community leaders who were present.
- Conducted several meetings with priests, pilgrimages coordinators, and travel agencies to introduce them to Palestinian tourism and provided them with details on true pilgrimage based on authentic Palestinian Christian teachings and connections dating to the original Christians who followed Jesus Christ since the inception of Christianity and the Church at the Pentecost. Hotels and buses are Palestinian-owned, and guides are Palestinian Christians who are most knowledgeable about Christian teachings and history. The Churches did not have an alternative until we offered it.
- Met with Monsignor Luigi Roberto Cona, the new apostolic Nuncio (the Vatican Ambassador to El Salvador appointed by Pope Francis) who promised to support our initiative in every way he can. We also shared our vision to introduce Palestinian tourism to the Church Pilgrimages to the Holy Land.
The visit was successful due to the main organizers, including the KTH Palestinian youth alumni Carmen María Miselem, Randa Hasfoura, Annette Kafie, Mae Kafati Nazar, and others – Adriana Andonie, Napoleon and Maria Elena Nazar – who put their hearts and minds to the success of the visit. Special thanks are extended to His Excellency Mr. Marwan Burini, the Palestinian Ambassador to El Salvador, and to his staff for their support and network.