George Rishmawi

George Rishmawi

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. (
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:

Shepherds' Nights Festival 2014

Wednesday, 03 December 2014 20:35


via Indiegogo



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.

Dar Hilal Project

Friday, 02 May 2014 19:36

Dar-Hilal-EntranceThe Dar Hilal Project is one of the most crucial projects that will give PCR stability for at least 12 years to come.
Funded by the  Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), through the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization "UNESCO" - Ramallah Office. The Hilal House, is located in the heart of the old city of Beit Sahour and has been built over two hundred years ago.
The "Dar Hilal" Project will provide PCR with 1 meeting hall, and 6 rooms for offices and 1 room for the IMEMC News Studio.
A public meeting was held at the Municipality of Beit Sahour back in September 2013, where the agreement between PCR and Mr. George Hilal, the owner of the property Mr. George Hilal and The Center for Cultural Heritage Preservation the Project Supervisor and Beit Sahour Municipality was signed.
During the signing ceremony architect Mohammad Kattoush presented the project with the possible usage by PCR.
According to the agreement with CCHP and Mr. Hilal, PCR will be able to use a renovated facility for twelve years free of charge. This is part of the CCHP efforts to revive the old towns and buildings to preserve the cultural heritage in Palestine.

Finally, moving to the new facility will save the organization no less than 250 thousand dollars in the coming 12 years. We currently pay $800 per month for rent, so we will end up saving $115,200 USD in rent. We also pay an average of $400 electricity per month, so if we install the solar panels and turn PCR premises into a green building and save approximately $57,600 USD. So in total, we will end up saving $172,800.



Expected Expenses:

In order to have a smooth and productive move from the old premises, PCR needs approximately $23,400 USD.

According to the agreement with CCHP, PCR must pay 5% of the total cost of the renovation. The budget set for the renovation is approximately 150,000 USD. Therefore, must pay $7500. PCR also must install solar panels to save on electricity consumption.

Installing air conditioning units (heating and cooling) is very much needed in order to provide a pleasant working environment. There is a need for 7 units, however, PCR already has 4 units installed in our current premises. Thus, only three new units should be purchased.

The structure of the new premises, as an old building, does not allow for a central Air Conditioning unit to be installed, in addition, the power is single Faz, therefore, we need to purchase split units that work with single Faz electricity. We have 4 functioning units, we need to buy 3 others.


We need to install a new phone system that allows for minimum 12 internal extensions. The current system we have can accommodate 8 extensions and 3 input lines only. We have 5 lines and we need no less than 12 extensions.


The media project, PCR is running, has a studio, we also need to move the studio that has been installed in the old premises over 10 years ago. The Mixer is very old and the performance is not good enough. Besides, the new premises will provide us good space to enlarge the studio. We need to purchase a new mixer and install a screen inside the recording room to save on printing paper to read the news. Thus, the news anchor will read the news on a screen instead. The room will be split by an insulated separator, with a double insulated glass.

To read more about the history of PCR, please Click Here

Below is a detailed chart of the above mentioned costs:


Unit in USD



Air Conditioning




Phone System




Solar Panels




PCR Contribution




LCD Projector




Mixer for the studio




New Screen






Lump Sum


Hybrid for phone interviews




Moving, Cleaning etc















3020 El Cerrito Plaza #157

El Cerrito, CA 94530

Phone: 202-631-4060
Fax: 815-301-8048
PLEASE mention in your memo that the donation is for Dar Hilal Project



Through Young Eyes - The Training

Monday, 03 February 2014 20:01

During one of the preparatory meetings for the project with the participants.The actual training has started in October 2013.  12 young men and women have been selected to participate in the project.  The participants come from the Bethlehem area, mainly from two towns, Beit Sahour and the village of Wadi Fukin, a marginalized village in the western rural area of Bethlehem.  Wadi Fukin is a village trapped between the green line (the enforced borders between the West Bank and Israe) and the wall, Israel is buliding inside the West Bank.  This area is know and the "seam zone" and residents of this area face serious mobility issues.  Therefore, the three participants come a long way from their village to the center to attend the training.


The first sessions were conducted by the PCR Executive Dierctor, George N. Rishmawi who gave them an introductary training in communication skills.  Information needed for the training, simply because the entire project is about youth communicating their views to the community through video.


Following the Communication Skills training, the participants received training in research skills in order to give them tools on how to find out what topics they want to pursue and how can they collect information about it in order to present it in a more presentable way.


These two training packages paved the way for the video and audio production training to start.  The video training is split into two sections, the first is photography and the second is videography.  Participants are learning the basics of shooting a good video, and they they will have to edit it on the computer, using Adobe Premier video editing software.  Thus, once they are done with the project, they will be able to edit any other video, which will give them a skill that is very much needed in most of the new communication jobs.



UN-Habitat logo blue


The proejct is funded by the UN-Habitat Urban Youth Fund. 




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