BDF will support the Bethlehem Tourism Development Plan

Bethlehem /PNN/

The Chairman of the Board of Trustees Mr. Samer Khoury invited BDF patrons, trustees, directors and other stakeholders to a private luncheon which was attended by the foundation’s patrons his Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III and his Beatitude Patriarch Noorhan Manougian. Also in presence was Father Ibrahim Faltas, Discreet of the Custody of the Holy Land, Brother Peter Bray Vice Chancellor of Bethlehem University, Governor of Bethlehem Mr.  Kamel Hemeid and Mayor of Doha, Mr. Raafat Jawabreh.

The Board of Trustees was represented by Vice Chair Dr. Hanan Dr. Ashrawi, Secretary Dr. Varsen Aghabekian and trustees Mr. Suheil Sabbagh, Mr. Walid Salman, Mr. Akram Bader, and Mr. Sami Mroua.  The Board of Directors was represented by Dr. Victor Batarseh, Dr. Saleh Jallad, Mr. Nafez Husseini and Mrs. Hind Khoury. In presence were distinguished members of the Presidential Committee for the restoration of the Nativity Church of Nativity and several esteemed community leaders.

Mr. Samer Khoury, Chairman of BDF, welcomed all present and briefed them of President Abbas full endorsement of all efforts to support Bethlehem as the focus of the tourism cluster initiated by Prime Minister Dr. Mohammad Shtayyeh.

Mr. Mazen Karam, Managing Director / CEO updated all about the status of the BDF.

In brief, BDF commissioned an external study to evaluate the relevancy, efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability of BDF’s Development Action Plan (DAP) from launching in 2013 to date.

The Evaluation concluded that BDF has established itself as a professional non-governmental institution able to Facilitate/coordinate the development of high quality planning tools and was a pioneer in introducing spatial strategic planning for the Bethlehem area. BDF was able to mobilize resources for the design and implementation of its projects, henceforth, establishing itself as a credible and transparent vehicle for donors to implement projects. Moreover, BDF succeeded in extending its outreach to promote Bethlehem development locally, regionally, and internationally.

The study recommended that BDF institute a medium-term strategic planning & management system, utilize its strengths and accumulated experience in future fundraising, lay down a clear stakeholder long term and balanced partnerships with local stakeholders and emphasize its role as a development and change agent.

BDF focus for the next 12 months will therefore focus on Nativity Church Restoration Works, Social Charity Projects and area-wide Economic Development Projects, like Solid Waste Management, Solar Street lighting and Branding Bethlehem in support of the Ministry of Tourism Cluster Strategic Plan.