In the presence of the Vice President of the Italian Senate Council and his accompanied official Italian delegation, and ensuing several tour visits which included the launching of different projects, John Paul II Foundation conducts the graduation of the “Community Service & Mother of Pearl Art Course”.
The John Paul II Foundation in the Middle East concluded a full program designed and conducted for the Italian delegation which comprised members of the Pope John Paul II Foundation in Italy headed by the Vice President of the Italian Senate Council, Senator Vannino Chiti. The program included visits to the sacred and historical sites in Jericho, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem as well as different activates and meetings. Father Ibrahim Faltas , the CEO of the Foundation in the Middle East, who accompanied the delegation from arrival to departure, welcomed the delegation and reflected on the significance of the visit mainly in its first activity which included the release of the Senator Kyti’s book, entitled with: “Religions & Politics in the world of Globalization – Reasons for Dialogue”. The event took place in the headquarter of the Franciscan Holy Land Custody in Jerusalem in the presence of several number of the Franciscan Priests, the accompanying delegation, and some of the local figures. The attendance listened to the summary of the book, and the genuine political and philosophical experience that its author reflects.
The delegation then headed towards Beit Hanina to celebrate the lay-stone event for the “Beit Hanina Social Center” project, which aims to serve the youth of Jerusalem city. The project which carries the slogan of “For a Brighter Future for the Youth of Jerusalem” includes a social and sport center that serves the youth, including capacity building programs, and a greened football playground. The event was attended by several local families, key-figures, and the representatives of the organizations that the project is conducted through including John Paul II Foundation, The Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, the General Italian Consul, Qadir for Social Development, and the Italian foundation Filkos Ombrya. It is worth mentioning that the project is funded by the Municipalities Support Fund of the Italian Consulate. The delegation has attended several activities and visited several offices and organizations in Jerusalem and were exposed to the current reality and hardships that the Arab citizens suffer from.
As for Bethlehem, the delegation visited John Paul II Foundation and had a tour in its facilities. A presentation was submitted by Mr. Samer Baboun on the mission, programs and projects of the Foundation and its various activities conducted in Baghdad, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine. The delegation expressed a creditable appreciation to all the accomplished achievements, and the skillful and wonderful performance of the Foundation’s cadre and workers.
The guests together with all the attendance then headed towards the Peace Center of Bethlehem, in the Manger Square, to attend of the graduation ceremony of the first cohort who successfully accomplished the Community Service Program, and the Mother of Pearl Art Course. The activity was organized and coordinated by John Paul II Foundation, in cooperation with the Palestinian Labor Ministry, and the Christian Italian Federation of Workers Trade Unions. The ceremony was attended by several guests, including the Mayors of Bethlehem Governorate Municipalities, Bethlehem Mayor, Dr. Viktor Batarseh, Beit Jala Municipality, Architecture Raji Zeidan, Al-Doha Municipality Architecture Muhammad Malash, and the Undersecretary of the Labor Ministry, Dr. Hassan Al-Khatib, representing the Minister of the Labor Ministry. Furthermore, Dr. Samir Hazboun, the president of Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and several personals attended the ceremony, beside the Italian Delegation, which included Mr. Andrea Olivero, the Head of Christian Italian Federation of Workers Trade Unions (ACLI), his Excellency Bishop Franco Agostinelli, Mr. Angelo Rossi, and all the members of the Italian delegation, and the parents of the graduates.
The ceremony was opened by the Foundation Anthem, and then followed by a distinguished folklore dabkeh and dancing performances, which were presented by the children of “Children without Borders Academy”, under the supervision of the Dabkeh trainer Nivien D’aibes. The performance gained the highest appreciation of the atten-dance. The Italian master-ceremony, Mr. Renato Burigana, asked the children to get back to the stage to thank and greet them for their fabulous performance.
The ceremony which included several speeches started with the speech of the city mayor, Dr. Viktor Batarseh, who welcomed the attendance and thanked all the partners for their achievements. Dr. Batarseh’s speech was followed by that of the Undersecretary of the Labor Ministry, Dr. Hassan Al-Khatib, who in the name of the Labor Minister, thanked all for their generous efforts that targets Palestine and its people. Dr. Al-Kahtib pointed out that the fruits of such generosity are witnessed in the fabulous Dabkeh performance, reiterating the ardent need for Palestine for such projects and partnerships in order to build a better Palestinian community. Dr. Al-Khatib ended his speech by confirming that the Labor Ministry is keen to cooperate in all partnership endeavors to ensure its sustainability and success
As for the speech of the Head of Christian Italian Federation of Workers Trade Unions, he assured during his speech that the project for them is not a mere training course to serve their communites or a teaching for a specific handcraft, but it stems from the belief of the Union to enhance the efforts that provide job opportunities, building of qualified cadres, and mainly to support a nation building its life.
Before the speech of the Vice President of the Italian Senate Council, Senator Vannino Chiti, the ceremony-master, Mr. Suheir Deibes, introduced Senator Chiti, and gave a brief comment on the senator’s life, his achievements, and professional achievements including the high posts he occupied till his latest. The honorable guest was invited to present his speech where he reflected his gratitude and appreciation for all he has witnessed. At the same time, Senator Kyri reflected on the significant role of the Italian political parties and the European Union in supporting the Palestinian people. He ended his speech by commenting on the significance of building and establishing organizations that conduct work in a professional manner including all that it requires to create highly qualified cadres to enhance all developmental endeavors.
Father Ibrahim Faltas was the last speaker who reflected his sincere appreciation to all who contributed to such achievement. He named each by his name, extended his gratitude to the Italian delegation and its head, Senator Kyli, who is considered the fourth most prominent personality in the Italian Republic and who is member of John Paul II Foundation in Italy. Father Ibrahim elaborated on the relevant relationship between this achievement and the mission of the Foundation in building man and land. Father Ibrahim concluded his speech by confirming that the Foundation will effortlessly continue to provide the Palestinian community with efficient social activities and projects to enhance its development. Father Ibrahim pinpointed that two mother-of-Pearl gifts made by the students of the course were presented. One as a commemorative gift to Pope Benedictus XVI, and the second was presented last year to the Head of the Palestinian Police, Major General Hazem on his distinguished performance. “This handcraft which was initially introduced in the Holy land by the Franciscan priests is witnessing sustainability since the younger Palestinian generation is having the opportunity to professionally acquire it” Father Faltas added. He concluded his speech by giving a brief comment on the visit of the delegation to Palestine, its significance, and its different phases.
The distribution of the certificates was preceded by a brief comment on the stages of the course and its plan presented by Dr. Samir Hazboun. As the distribution of the certificates came to its end, the guests exchanged the commemorative gifts
The delegation in the next day continued its program, where it visited the municipality of Al Doha, and Al Danish Palestinian Refugee Camp. The delegation was exposed to the daily reality which the refugees live in their respective camps.