Joseph Hazboun, Regional Director of CNEWA Pontifical Mission-Jerusalem, with Nisreen Amro, Monnitte Monana, Anton Salman-Mayor of Bethlehem and Br. Peter Bray

The renovation of this Center was completed through the generous donations of friends and supporters who believe in the power of education to transform young people into responsible citizens of the community and society. Under the careful watch of the engineers (team from Ideal Design Consortium) and friends, today this venue has been completely transformed into a beautiful more functional place where interactive learning and educational meetings will continue to be held. With this physical change, a simple library has evolved into an Educational and Cultural Center, with a smaller library still existing but streamlined to serve as an adjunct resource tool to support the activities and continue to respond to the ongoing needs of a group of young and adult “booklovers”.

Hence, the new year 2020 has brought the PMECC Staff, to this new stage, new beginning leading them to new challenges and opening doors to new opportunities of serving, sharing and reaching out to the changing needs of a vast array of members regardless of age, gender or religion.

As an educational center with its qualified team, the Staff – with their dedication and commitment – will continue to expand services, thus creatively organizing various educational and cultural activities to cater to the members’ varied needs and demands.

In the words of the Founder of the Teresian Association, St. Pedro Poveda, “ we need to have our hearts and minds at the present moment”. These incisive words have encouraged and prompted the Staff to re-think and redirect their gaze in order to explore avenues where they can serve better and be more relevant at this present time – vis -a-vis the needs of the different age-group levels and those of the Palestinian community. Indeed, the PMECC Staff feel the urgency of keeping pace with a fast-changing world, to render better and more meaningful educational services to society. Their outstanding goal is to develop the full potential of persons they serve, and to help them be the best persons that God wants them to be.

This is the image and ongoing goal that the PMECC envisions and works to achieve. In doing so, we look forward to be working and collaborating with everyone in the many years to come, counting on the continued support and assistance of a network of friends and supporters. It is gratifying to know that in this network of friends and partners, there are many schools, institutions including the invaluable cooperation with the Ministry of Education working with us in the different activities aimed at the transformation of every person and the Palestinian society in general. We refer to the recently-organized three-year project of integrating educational activities in the learning-teaching process as well as the Reading Contest that was freshly-launched with resounding success.

This Educational and Cultural Center can be compared to a tiny mustard seed that has grown today into a big tree where everyone can freely take refuge and develop themselves to their full potential. It is a venue where people of all ages, of varying family backgrounds and religious beliefs can come and gather together in an atmosphere of trust, respect and responsibility in order to learn new things, discover new interests, develop valuable skills, build their character, develop their personalities and improve their social, and relational skills.

The activities that are being offered include the following: Summer Camps; Teachers Training and Workshops; Inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue; Topical Discussion and Forum (any topic or hot issues of interest); Human and Values Formation Session; Personality/self-development Session; Drama and Theater; Dabkeh (Palestinian dance); Guitar lesson; English lesson; Chess; Needlework and Art crafts; and other educational activities. Likewise, we do engage in varied specific projects throughout the year such as Reading Contest, Spelling, Storytelling, Slogan and Words Scramble Contest as well as integration of educational activities in the teaching-learning process, where various schools in Bethlehem and in its neighboring areas actively participate.

Text and photos by: Monnitte V. Monana