On Friday, the KTH Delegation attended KTH’s 6th Annual Palestinian Diaspora Conference, hosted in partnership with Bethlehem University. During the conference, KTH Delegates met with Bethlehem University Student Ambassadors, learning about the challenges that Palestinian youth face, and sharing about their own personal experiences coming home. In the morning conference session, KTH Delegates were welcomed by Mr. Rateb Rabie, President/CEO of the Holy Land Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF) and Founder of KTH, by Dr. Michael Sansour, Executive Vice President of Bethlehem University, and by Mr. Kamel Husseini, Head of International and Investor Affairs at Bank of Palestine. Throughout the morning, Delegates heard from experts on Geopolitics, the Economy and the Tourist Industry in Palestine, including such notable guests as Dr. Jad Isaac, General Director of Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem (ARIJ), Mr. Raed Saadeh, Owner and General Manager of Jerusalem Hotel, and Mr. Kamel Husseini of Bank of Palestine.
During the afternoon session, Delegates participated in a roundtable focused on the significance of the group’s homecoming led by Dr. Saliba Sarsar, Jerusalem native and Professor of Political Science at Monmouth University. Dr. Sarsar closed the roundtable session by emphasizing, “Leadership is not just about being at the head of the table by returning to Palestine, by choosing to learn about your land and heritage, you are exercising leadership.” After the roundtable, KTH Delegates met in small groups with Student Ambassadors to organize themselves for collective action. They developed a resolution that will serve as a guide for their collaborative work moving forward. Overall the day was both educational and inspiring, uniting Palestine in spirit and cause. Here is what participants had to say:
“When I look into the faces of Palestinians, I feel I am looking into the faces of my relatives. I feel at home.” – Valentina, KTH Delegate
“I hope that every year, we have the opportunity to welcome our brothers and sisters from the diaspora home” – Donna, Bethlehem University Student Ambassador
“When I interacted with the Delegates, I could feel that we are from the same background. Even though we are from different countries, we feel we are from the same culture.” – Leen, Bethlehem University Student Ambassador
“Being able to see firsthand how Palestinians live, I see that the situation here is really difficult. I hope that we can make the situation better…working together, one step at a time, we can take back the land of Palestine, and help win more rights for Palestinians.” – Layla, KTH Delegate