On November 3, Dr. Nabil Qaddumi, the Chairman of Welfare Association’s (WA) Board of Trustees, hosted a dinner party to honor a group of Chilean businessmen at the Four Seasons Hotel, Amman, Jordan.
The dinner was attended by Chile’s Ambassador to Jordan, HE Luis Palma and 13 Chilean businessmen of Palestinian origin, as well as a number of WA members and their spouses. At the dinner, Mr. Hashim Shawa, the manager of Bank of Palestine, the official sponsor of the Palestine football club in Chile “Club Deportivo Palestino”, warmly welcomed the guests and talked about his visit to Chile, where he initiated links with a number of distinguished members of the Palestinian community in Chile.
Next, Dr. Nabil Qaddumi addressed the guests, expressing his pleasure to meet with this group of businessmen. Referring to the history of Palestinian migration to Chile since the 19th century, he stressed that one’s connection to homeland should also aim at mobilizing financial and intellectual resources among the Palestinians in destination countries towards serving their homeland and supporting their people.
Dr. Qaddumi elaborated on WA-supported development tracks geared towards nation andinstitution building in fields of education, health, rural development, culture and preservation of national identify.
He called upon the Chilean delegation to consider ways to support WA work and maintain connection between WA and fellow Palestinians and counterparts in Chile.
On behalf of the Chilean delegation, Mr. Gonzalo Said Handal made an emotional speech expressing his and his colleagues’ loyalty to their Palestinian roots and determination to reflect this connection in acts on the ground. “We have never forgotten our Palestinian origin,” he said. “To the contrary, we have preserved them in the memory of our collectivity, the values and customs of our ancestors, the wish of peace and liberty for the Palestinian People and, sometimes unconsciously, the deep desire to return to this land .” Mr. Handal explained that these were the foundations for establishing the Bethlehem 2000 association about 9 years ago by a selected group of businessmen of Palestinian origin. This association has been successful in bringing the Palestinians in Chile together in the strife towards a common goal – support of education and health for Palestinian children.“This evening we believe may form a starting point for a standing and fruitful relationship between WA and Bethlehem 2000. By joining efforts within the scope of available investment opportunities, rather than policies, we will be able to build a true unity bringing hope to the Palestinians in a better future,” he added.
Dr. Atallah Shafiq Kuttab, WA General Director, briefly talked about WA history, mission, goals and achievements using a short visual presentation, which included two documentaries on WA interventions in the Old City of Jerusalem Revitalization Program and the Early Childhood Education Program.
Next, Mr. Salvador Said Somavia talked about the early years of the creation of the football team “Club Deportivo Palestino,” which is composed of a group of professional players in Chile. He explained that due to its high professionalism, the Club has been able to win against several high-ranking teams in the world.
The final speech was made by HE Chile’s Ambassador, who praised the standing of the Palestinian community in Chile and stressed that their loyalty to Chile and to their original homeland is a source of pride. He believed their visit to Palestine and Jordan will become an effective starting point for building strong relations with their fellow Palestinians,
This event comes as part of WA efforts to strengthen communication with Palestinian communities outside the Arab region, who have the potential and influence and are interested in supporting meaningful humanitarian work in the Palestinian society.