For many years, the Middle East has been embroiled in conflict; wealth, religion and power have been hotly contested.
Recently, the struggles of the Palestinan people have become overwhelmingly visible in the media, bringing to light the challenges faced each day.
The Rev. Mitri Raheb, born in Bethlehem, Palestine, has lived his entire life experiencing these conflicts and has spent his entire career working toward a bridge of peace and prosperity for him and his people.
Raheb will share his story and his quest for peace with Chautauqua during his lecture, “Palestine: Hope at Times of Despair?!” at 2 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Aug. 25, on the CHQ Assembly Video Platform.
Raheb is the president and founder of Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture in Bethlehem. His vision is that his fellow Palestinians will not only survive, but thrive, and that this will be facilitated through creativity and creative resistance, the tools he believes will build and maintain a sense of hope.
“Hope is the power to keep focusing on the larger vision while taking the small, often undramatic, steps toward that future,” Raheb wrote in his book Faith in the Face of Empire: The Bible Through Palestinian Eyes, one of his 17 books authored during his time as senior pastor of Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem, making him the most widley published Palestinian theologian to date.
In addition to his educational initiatives and prolific writing career, Raheb is the recipient of many awards for his local, regional and international efforts to end the occupation in Palestine and to work towards a peaceful, equitable society for all in the Middle East, most notably the Olof Palme Prize in 2015 and the German Media Prize in 2012.
Director of Religion Maureen Rovegno said she looks forward to Raheb’s lecture and that his voice is a welcome one in the discussion of peace in the Middle East.
“Giving witness to his work are the many awards for peace that he has been given, as well as the worldwide media outlets that have sought his wisdom and voice,” Rovegno said. “In a week focusing on the theme, ‘The Future We Want, the World We Need,’ we are most grateful to bring his voice for peace in the Middle East to Chautauqua.”
Raheb is the co-founder of Bright Stars of Bethlehem, a U.S.-based non-profit organization that, according to their website, “promotes peace and justice in Palestine through Dar al-Kalima University of Arts & Culture and its initiatives for youth, families and older adults, as well as public advocacy for basic human rights.”
“Our aim is that our people, who admire stars, will dare to look up and dream,” Raheb said of Bright Stars. “Our vision is for the people of Palestine to have life in abundance.”
This program is made possible by Week Nine “Program Sponsor” Erie Insurance and the Joan Brown Campbell Department of Religion Endowment.