The Arab Educational Institute in Bethlehem Celebrates Advent, Christmas and the Palestinian Teacher’s Day

Bethlehem –Tuesday 13th of December 2011.

The Arab Education Institute held a celebration at the Peace Center in Bethlehem under the patronage of His Excellency Dr. Victor Batarsah – Mayor of Bethlehem on the occasion of Christmas, Teacher’s Day, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the presence of His Grace Bishop William Shomali – the Auxiliary Bishop of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem His Beatitude Fuad Twal and Mr. Sami Murwa – The Director of Ministry of Education Office in Bethlehem and the former Director Mr. Abdallah Shakarnah and Mr. George Sa’ada – deputy Mayor of Bethlehem and Mr. Tony Murcos - director of the Municipality’s Office and a group of religious figures, directors and teachers of Ramallah and Bethlehem schools in addition to the representative of some local and foreign NGO’s and the AEI groups members and some invitees.

The ceremony began with the Palestinian National Anthem sang by the AEI Bethlehem Sumud Choir conducted by Mrs. Odette Sleibi. His Grace Bishop William Shomali read our Lord Jesus Christ Birth Story according to the Gospel and then Mr. Atallah Danoun recited the Jesus Birth according to Quran.

Mr.Fuad Giacman – AEI Director delivered a welcoming word in which he greeted the audience with the Christmas message of love and peace. He congratulated the invitees on these occasions by saying, “I hope that God will bring back these joyful feasts while unity and reconciliation between Palestinian has been achieved. Let us pray that our Palestinian wound will be healed. Let us also pray for more deepening of our Christian and Muslim Living Together concepts as well as for our liberation from the Israeli occupation and its daily repressive measures which violate all human rights and international laws.

Mr. Giacaman calls upon our teachers to work hard in order to enhance the culture of love and respect and promote human rights values so as to create a young Palestinian generation who believes in God, Palestine and human, spiritual and national values. May I hope that all these values will contribute in creating change and reform for a real Arab Spring. Mr. Fuad congratulated the new director of Bureau of Education in Bethlehem. Finally Mr. Giacaman thanked all those who participated in the AEI ceremony to all those who made them success.

Later on Dr. Batarsah gave a speech in what he spoke highly of the AEI and its responsible people for holding and celebrating such great occasions. The Mayor said, “Each year we celebrate Christmas and wish that peace will prevail throughout our beloved country. He also hopes that our people will achieve all its rights in employment, education, health and living in dignity and security. Dr. Batarsah hopes that 2012 will witness the end of occupation and the establishment of a free independent state with its capital Jerusalem. The Mayor complimented the important role that the family and teachers play in providing our children with the weapon of knowledge and faith. He also congratulated the new Director of Education Office and thanked Mr. Abdallah Shakarnah, the former director for his educational services.

At the end, of his speech, Dr. Victor denounced the recent hostile statement and stand of the American candidate for the presidency the Palestinians.

Dr. Toine Van Teefelen – AEI development director – announced the launching of the three AEI publications under “Culture & Palestine” series namely: Sumud/ Soul of the Palestinians people, If you destroy my house and Only in heaven there no checkpoints. These books narrate the stories of our Palestinian people’s suffering. During the celebration – which was presented by Mrs. Rania Giacaman Murra – the honouring of Mr. Abdallah Shakarnah took place. He then responded to the AEI – the mother of pearl souvenir of Al Quran – by a thank you word in which he spoke highly of the AEI role in strengthening national unity and Christian / Muslim Living Together concepts among our people.

Christmas carols, hymns, folkloric, peace and teacher’s day songs were sung by the AEI – Bethlehem Sumud Choir conducted by Odette Sleibi.

A Palestinian Folkloric dance (Dabkah) was performed by the Artas Folokloric Center Youth Group conducted by Al Haj Abu Lutfi.

At the end of the ceremony Dr. Batarsah and Bishop William Shomali and Mr. Sami Muruwa and Mr. Giacaman inaugurated the AEI Sumud Bazaar of the Advent and Christmas. This bazaar includes many corners or wings such as:- AEI publications and books, souvenirs, sweets, Christmas decorations and other local products.



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