George Rishmawi

George Rishmawi

GEORGE N. RISHMAWI, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Born in Beit Sahour, Graduate of Birzeit University with a BA degree in English Language and Literature and a Diploma in Translation.
Deeply involved in the Palestinian nonviolent peace movement since 1991 soon after joining the PCR, with previous involvement since 1987 with the beginning of the first intifada.
Co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a nonviolent movement that works in Palestine with a goal to promote and support the nonviolent Palestinian resistance movement. (www.palsolidarity.org)
Co-Founder and Steering Committee member of the Nonviolence Network in Arab Countries.
Has wide experience in coordinating mass activities. George has undertaken a number of speaking tours in Europe, the USA and Canada.

Website URL: http://www.facebook.com/george.rishmawi

Shepherds' Nights Festival 2015

Saturday, 23 April 2016 11:06

"Light a Candle for Jerusalem", was the slogan under which the candle procession was held this year.  Jerusalem issue is one of the hard-to-solve issues in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, as the city is under Israeli Military control since 1967 and non-Jerusalemite Palestinians are not allowd to enter the city without special permit from the Israeli Authorities, which is rarely granted.  Therefore, this year, which the increased Israeli attacks against Palestinian presence in Jerusalem, we have decided to light candles and march for Jerusalem.

On December 25, 201 Thousands of Palestinians and international visitors lit their candles and marched in Beit Sahour demanding free access to Jerusalem for the Palestinian people.  People from all over the world can visit Jerusalem, except the Palestinian residents of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

With their lit candles, the marchers also demanded access to the holy sites in the city, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Aqsa Mosque.  We demanded free access to the old city, to the Via Dolorosa to the Gethsemane, etc,,

The march started at the Gree Orthodox Shepherds' Field site, the place where the procession starts ever year since 1991, went through the towns' main road and arrived at Souk Al-Sha'ab intersection in Beit Sahour where the huge Christmas Tree is positioned.

The marchers were welcomed by some inspiring words by the MC Raed Awwad, who invited the Mayor of Beit Sahour, Hani Al-Hayek to speak to the corwed.  Al-Hayek express gratitude PCR for organizing this event which became a tradition in Beit Sahour and welcomed our special guest H.E. Kifah Odeh the Palestinian Representative to Spain.

Chairman of the Board of PCR, Michael Rishmawi spoke to the crowd and explained the importance of this procession where the people of Beit Sahour send a message to the world on behalf of the people of Palestine.

The ceremony was conlcluded with a performance by the Evangelical Luthern School Choir who chanted Christmas Carols and other hymns for Christmas.

 

The Candle Procession this is usually part of a three-day festival organized every year in cooperation with the Joint Advocacy Initiative (JAI) however due to the current situation in Palestine where young men and women are killed every day by the Israeli military and settlers, we have decided to limit the festival this year to the Candle Procession only, and keep our hope alive for peace and justice in the Holy Land.

Special Thanks to Bank of Palestine and Beit Sahour Municipality who's generous donations covered the expenses of the event.  Special thanks also go to Radio Orient in Bethlehem who provide the media coverage and Power Group who took photographs of the event and published them on Facebook. 

Tunes for Peace Second Annual ConcertFor the second year, The Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement betwen People organizes the Annual Music Concert fo the Tunes for Peace Students.

Ths year the concert was organized on Saturday November 28, 2015 in Beit Sahour, at the Greek Catholic School hall which included performances by the Tunes for Peace students.

The concert has several goals, including giving the students a chance to perform on a stage in front of an audience after practcing and playing only in closed rooms.  Additionally, the parents will have a chance to see their children playing live music on stage.

Students did solo performances on their respective instruments and then the Tunes for Peace Band performed three music pieces.  The audience consisted of mainly, the parents and friends of the students and members of the board of PCR.

The project currently serves 75 students from the Bethlehem area varied in age, sex and religious background.  The students receive training in 5 instruments, Violin, Guitar, Oud, Kanoun, Piano in addition to percussions.  Like every year, the Tunes for Peace band, has new members and we are hoping to be ready for international performances in the near future.

The project started in 2009 with support from the Municipality of Rimini in Italy, through the Social Center A La Calle.  The project is also supported by Pilgrimage People, a registered company in the UK,  which pilgrimage organizes trips to Palestine.

The concert aims to encourage the students to learn more and to break the stage fear, and to keep the parents updated with the performance of their kids and the updates of the project.

Shepherds' Nights Festival 2014

Wednesday, 03 December 2014 20:35

 

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SN-2013-Stage

Short Summary

The project was developed form the annual candle procession that Rapprochement center has been organizing since 1991. The candle procession remains an integral part of this festival through which we send out a call to the world and also to the local communities in Palestine. Every year the march carries a new message and new theme. While the theme in previous year was to light a candle for Peace and Justice, for the release of Palestinian prisoners and for the removal of the wall and the end of violence, etc.

Another major component of the festival is the Shepherds Market which provides a platform for local businesses to display their products or merchandise and sell them at a fair rate during the three days of the festival.  

The market also provides a chance to local artists to display their products, and encourage the Palestinian products at a time calls to boycott Israeli products are growing.

 

This year we are holding our festival under the slogan, Light a Candle in Solidarity with Palestinian People.  The year 2014 is declared by the United Nations as the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

In its resolution A/68/12 of 26 November 2013, the General Assembly decided to proclaim 2014 the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People (IYSPP), and requested the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to organize activities to be held during the year, in cooperation with Governments, relevant organizations of the United Nations system, intergovernmental organizations and civil society organizations. The objective of the IYSPP would be to promote solidarity with the Palestinian people as a central theme, contributing to international awareness of (a) core themes regarding the question of Palestine, as prioritized by the Committee, (b) obstacles to the ongoing peace process, particularly those requiring urgent action such as settlements, Jerusalem, the blockade of Gaza and the humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territory and; (c) mobilization of global action towards the achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting solution of the question of Palestine in accordance with international law and the relevant resolutions of the United Nations.

 

Why on Christmas?

In Christian traditions we are informed that the angels appeared to Shepherds tending their flocks in the fields near Bethlehem announcing the birth of Christ. The Shepherds’ Field (known in Arabic as Beit Sahour) is now a community of around 15,000 people. Thousands of pilgrims come to Bethlehem and Beit Sahour during the Christmas season to celebrate the momentous events and connect to biblical sites like the churches of the Shepherds’ field and the Church of Nativity. The local Palestinians follow customs of celebrations but have few venues of collective celebrations and the two communities (natives and tourists) have little interactions.  

 

Who are we?

This project is being implemented in full cooperation and partnership between The Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement between People (PCR) and The Joint Advocacy Initiative (JAI). Both Organizations has very good reputation among its society and they have well experienced staff to carry out this activity. Both organizations designed the implementation plan after thorough evaluation process. Joint committees from both organizations have been formed to carry all the activities related based on the evaluation process. JAI has an experience for advocacy work and organizing events for locals and international, the PCR is well experienced, they have been organizing the candle procession for around 21 years and are also experienced in receiving tourists and international groups. Through the past six years, both PCR and JAI have accumulated experience in organizing such festivals.

 

Impact of the Project

The project creates a festive atmosphere in the town. In addition, the money spent in the community contributes to the economy of the city during Christmas. Young volunteers of the Joint Advocacy Initiative (JAI) and the Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement between People (PCR) leave a very positive impact on other youth who are usually encouraged to be more actively involved in their community.

 

The project provides work for, vendors, electricians, taxi drivers, printers, and graphic designers, photographers, videographers and Radio and TV stations, in addition to sound technicians and the performing groups and shop owners.  Local restaurants and businesses also find the festival a good venue for advertisement for their products.

 

Most importantly people will be aware reminded of the Christmas message of peace and love and will revive their national and justice inspirations to work for justice and end of oppression

 

Risks & Challenges

The main risk is being unable to secure the needed funds.  If the funds are secured, there will be no other obstacles or challenges.  We believe we have all needed aspects to have a very successful event provided that the funds are secured.

A special concert was organized Saturday in Beit Sahour, at the Greek Catholic School hall which included performances by the Tunes for Peace students.

 

Students had some solo performances on their respective instruments and then the Tunes for Peace Band performed three short music pieces.  The audience consisted of mainly, the parents and friends of the students and members of the board of PCR.

 

The project currently serves 75 students from the Bethlehem area varied in age, sex and religious background.  The students receive training in 5 main instruments, Violin, Guitar, Oud, Kanoun, and Piano and soon, Saxophone training will resume.

 

The Tunes for Peace band, has new members, and have restarted training one month ago after intensive preparations by the project team, students and trainers.

 

The project started in 2009 with direct support from the Municipality of Rimini in Italy, through the Social Center A La Calle.

 

The project is also supported by Pilgrimage People, a registered company in the UK,  which pilgrimage organizes trips to Palestine.

 

The concert is aimed at encouraging the students to learn more and to break the stage fear, and to keep the parents updated with the performance of their kids and the updates of the project.

Bishop-AlanOn Monday 16 June 2014, the Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement between People was honoured with a visit by H.E. Bishop Alan Hopes, Bishop of East Anglia in the UK and Reverend Father Paul Maddison of Pilgrimage People.

During the visit, Bishop Hopes and Fr. Maddison had a meeting with a number PCR officers. The meeting included Mr. Michael Rishmawi, Chairman of the Administration Board, Ms. Maheera Tawil-Isaac member of the board, Mr. George N. Rishmawi Executive Director of PCR and Mr. Maher Al-Kassis, the Coordinator of the Tunes For Peace Project.

Bishop Hopes discussed with the PCR officers the importance of the Tunes for Peace Project, to which Pilgrimage People has contributed financially.

The funds by Pilgrimage People helped Tunes for Peace Project introduce new instruments and teach more students.

After the meeting, Bishop Hopes and his secretary, together with Fr. Maddison and had a tour in the centre where the students learn music and attended for few minutes one Guitar class. Another group of Tunes for Peace Students were practicing in the meeting hall, played some Arabic music.

The one hour visit by Bishop Hopes and Fr. Maddison was a great support to our students and teachers and for the entire project.