“Harmony Among Peoples”: Dance and Culture in Bethlehem

On Monday July 17, the third summer camp for young Palestinians named “Harmony Among Peoples” concluded with a dance show. Organized at the John Paul II Foundation in Bethlehem by the Children Without Borders Academy, the project was realized with the support of the Italian Consulate and the Italian University of Perugia.

The young Palestinians of different ages and backgrounds who performed at the show had attended an intensive two-week dance and theater course. The show included dances and artistic performances.

President of the John Paul II Foundation, Fr. Ibrahim Faltas, OFM, said, “This is the third edition of the “Harmony Among Peoples” summer camp. Sixteen people came from Montecatini (Tuscany-Italy) to train our kids who were able to present a beautiful performance. These young people have great potential but they need someone to take care of them.”

Anotonella Lombardo, President of the “Dance Lab Armonia” Cultural Association, shared, “These young people who begin studying dance and music understand that art can give them a superior language that will allow them to communicate with everyone, despite religious, political and cultural differences: this will change their life completely.”

The evening was also the occasion to deliver the Italian Language diploma to the 21 students who attended the course at the John Paul II Foundation and included a handshake with different civil and religious authorities, including the Custos of the Holy Land, Fr. Francesco Patton, Consul General of Italy in Jerusalem, Fabio Sokolowicz, and the newly elected mayor of Bethlehem, Anton Salman.

“The course is very good and formative, because we studied 5 days a week,” said student Natalie Shahin. “All of us really benefited from it.”

“I am glad to be here because we are also celebrating the ongoing collaboration between Italy and Palestine,” said Fabio Sokolowiczc, Consul General of Italy in Jerusalem. “We also rewarded some Palestinian students who will have the opportunity to study in Perugia, in a very good and prestigious Italian university; they will return to Palestine after completing these courses.”

The Franciscan Foundation is proud to support many programs similar to “Harmony Among Peoples,” which promote education while also encouraging diversity and reconciliation.

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