Last week Friday on 8th of October a group of young staffers, interfaith and leadership team activists as well as those in charge at Notre Dame High School in Meeliya in Galilee and the ACRE young women’s program together with a teacher from ALUT school were hosted by the Central Office in Jerusalem. They were warmly welcomed as part of the deliberations and exchanges DSPR/MECC has been undertaking for its strategy review in preparation for a new strategy 2022-2026. They were welcomed by the Executive Secretary of the Department who briefly went through the early beginnings of DSPR across the region and the role that DSPR ICCI Nazareth has played in DSPR’s early years.
In particular he referred to the role the late Dr. Sami Geraisy who chaired DSPR for a number of years helped enable DSPR to feel its oneness overcoming political and geographical boundaries.Dr. Sabella mentioned that seeing this young group of people was refreshing indeed and is in line with plans in DSPR to have younger blood across the organization. He thanked them for their visit and their ongoing engagement and work across DSPR ICCI’s activities and work and wished them all the best in the Strategy Workshop. Dr. Sabella thanked both Hussam, Executive Director of DSPR ICCI Nazareth and Sami Khoury Program Manager in charge of Strategic Review for arranging the meeting.
Hanan Turjman, Administrative Assistant in Central Office went to great lengths to see to it that the workshop participants felt at home throughout the day. George Stephan, Finance Manager, followed attentively and participated in the workshop proceedings. Damaris Dilling, Communication Specialist, sat throughout the workshop and took notes learning more Arabic words in the process.
It was indeed such a pleasure to welcome Eyad Qassis, the Principal of Notre Dame High School in MEELIYA. It turns out that many of the public figures in MEELIYA and surrounding Galilee villages are common friends. Mona Louis, the Advocacy Work and Programs at Notre Dame High School in MEELIYA. It is hoped that future contacts will continue with her touching principally on advocacy and reach out. Both Charlie Jarus and Malak Elias headed the Leadership Development / Interfaith & Dialogue activities. Mary Said, with a long track in Social Work and Counseling runs the girls' program in ACRE. Amira Abu Ahmed came from ALUT School that partners with DSPR ICCI Nazareth on Interfaith and Leadership programs. Beside Hussam Elias, Executive Director DSPR ICCI in Nazareth, Hibba Abu Khatar, Programme Manager and Georgette Haddad, Assistant in DSPR ICCI in Nazareth also participated.
Sami Khoury, Program Manager in Central Officer, facilitated the Workshop. He had prepared the logistics for a successful workshop with a variety of wall attachments and other tools that helped engage the participants. At the start of the workshop, he explained its purpose and indicated that each contribution is essential to the overall effort of developing a new strategy for DSPR. The workshop began with a group effort at reflection and sharing. After extensive group brainstorming, attention was given to the individual areas and activities of the participants.
Each of the participant spoke to her/his area of expertise and how the Strategic Process would impact it and be impacted by its turn. There were a variety of ideas and novel reflections shared. The focus in general was on new programs, on empowering young students who have finished school and now want to start their studies or careers, but also on supporting girls, like in ACRE, who fall through the system and need to be supported. Closer cooperation with parents was the focus and the creation of a new centre for girls and boys where they can feel at home and can contribute.
A main objective continues to be to help Palestinian youth in Israel, both young men and women, and from the different religious backgrounds Muslim, Christian and Druze, to work together, not only to resist discrimination and recognition, but also to acquire and learn the knowledge and skills on how they can work together and with different others.
After a hard day’s work, the participants broke bread together in the Askdenya Restaurant after which they headed to the famed Jerusalem ovens that bake the Jerusalem Sesame Ka’ak in order to carry some to their family and friends. As we bid them farewell, we were confident that the future of DSPR/MECC is the future of young people and activists who can learn from the experience of the old timers in order to keep up the important work being done across DSPR in its different geographic areas. Strategic review and reflection continue with hopefully a get together of all Executive Directors with Central Office staff in November.