The fifth day of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF)’s Know Thy Heritage leadership program took its 40 Palestinian youth delegates to the de facto administrative West Bank capital of Ramallah. The trip, which began with a visit and tour of the Birzeit Pharmaceutical Company (BPC), allowed the delegates to take a focused look at the different business ventures currently taking place throughout Palestine.


BPC CEO and Founder Mr. Talal Naser Al Deen gave the delegates an overview of his company’s history, which stands as one of the oldest and foremost pharmaceutical companies in Palestine. Throughout the visit, the delegates were able to ask questions about the company’s history and learn about its strategies for growth. The tour concluded with a lunch hosted for the delegates by Mr. Al Deen at Ramallah’s Movenpick Hotel.

Palestinian business and industry quickly became the primary theme of the day as the delegates set off to their next destination: to visit HCEF’s newest partners for the KTH Future Business Leaders Program, the Palestinian Market Development Programme (PMDP). PMDP, a program funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the European Union in cooperation with the Ministry of National Economy, aims to improve private sector competitiveness through technical assistance and matching grants, as well as strengthen its trade and investment links with Palestinians in the diaspora. To that end, the delegates were able to learn more about the work PMDP is doing to engage the diaspora and the integral role they can play in Palestine’s economic development.


The delegates’ visit to Ramallah, however, wasn’t all work and no play. Next on the delegates’ agenda was a visit with the El-Funoun Palestinian Folkloric Dance Troupe to learn traditional Palestinian dabke! Established in 1979, El-Funoun aims to express the spirit of Arab-Palestinian folklore and contemporary culture through unique combinations of traditional and stylized dance and music.


After dabke, the delegates prepared to take part in the next segment of their KTH program: home stays. As part of the KTH program, each delegate has the unforgettable experience of an overnight stay with a local Palestinian family. For some delegates, this means having the opportunity to stay with their family in Palestine — possibly those whom they’ve never before had the chance to meet. For others, the home stay enables delegates to meet and connect with new Palestinian families who volunteered to open their homes to their Palestinian brothers and sisters from the diaspora. In all cases, the home stay allows delegates the opportunity to become the newest member of a local Palestinian family.

On the importance of diaspora involvement in Palestinian development, Sir Rateb Rabie, KCHS, HCEF President & CEO said, “This day was the delegates learned the high standards of Palestinian manufacturing matching those of the international market along with their professional business conduct. And today we signed the agreement to launch “Future Business Leaders of Palestine” to promote investment in Palestine and to do business with the delegates’ respective countries.”

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