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Joze Moreno Pelayo, MA 2017

This summer, I served as a development and public relations Intern at the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee (HRC), a semi-governmental organization in the city of Hebron, Palestine. Serving for this organization was truly an experience; The HRC was founded by the Palestinian Authority to preserve Hebron as a historical Arab Palestinian town, and safeguard its cultural and architectural heritage, and save the Old City from the greed of Jewish settlers. Hebron is, of course, a sacred town for Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, as it is the location of the Al Ibrahimi Mosque, which contains the tombs of the Prophet Ibrahim and his wife Sarah, along with hose of Jacob and Isaac and their wives.

In this opportunity, I had the chance to work with international donors, and other stakeholders, including OCHA and UNRWA, that also work towards improving the lives of Palestinian citizens, and look after humanitarian aspects of life in the Old City of Hebron in terms of health, education, entertainment, and social and financial aid. Most of my tasks included developing grant proposals for future projects along with the Ministry of Tourism, and other partners such as the British Consulate in Jerusalem and JICA; proposal quality assurance, proposal leadership such as  leading the proposal development process, including partner management where needed. I also contributed to existing program development, international outreach, and external communications with politicians and diplomats. In addition, a valuable experience included being able to attend a European Union conference and networking event for their “Cross Border Cooperation in the Mediterranean” programme located in Ramallah, Palestine. The purpose of this event was to connect with other interested parties, and develop a joint project that highlighted cross border cooperation and exchange, and that could benefit socioeconomic and touristic aspects of the citizens of those Mediterranean city centers. I also took this chance to travel to the Occupied Golan Heights, Syria under International Law, and met with leaders of the Druze community to learn about development challenges and outlook for the future of their town, Majdal Shams

Working in several HRC projects, and having the chance to work towards including Hebron as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on July 07 was an enriching and key part of my career as a young professional. However, this experience also included being a constant target of several interrogatories and random searches by the Israeli military, as well as being caught up in the middle of clashes between the military and Palestinians. However, this only enforced my determination to work for the rule of international law. Certainly, the Israeli occupation forces, including both the military and Jewish settlers, are constantly applying abusive measures such as curfews, barring access routes, and physically aggressing and terrorizing civilians. In front of these challenges, I am thankful to have had the chance to work along International Law, support the lives of those disadvantaged communities in the Palestinian Territories, and especially work towards overcoming a number of political, technical, and administrative obstacles along with the HRC. Indeed a life changing experience that allowed me to do a job that aligns with my values, and that could have a real impact on society. I am extremely thankful to the Executive Director Imad Hamdan for his guidance, and to Nicole Trudeau and Pablo Elek for their constant support as direct supervisors.