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Varsen Aghabekian the first Armenian in a Palestinian government

رابط المقال: https://milhilard.org/5gp0
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رابط المقال: https://milhilard.org/5gp0

by Daoud Kuttab

Varsen Aghabekian, a veteran member of the Palestinian negotiations unit and a member of the Armenian community in Jerusalem was appointed as a minister with special focus on foreign affairs. She is expected to be sworn in on Sunday as part of the technocratic Palestinian government of Mohammad Mustafa

The Palestinian Ambassador to Denmark, Manuel Hassassian, praised Dr. Varsen as a successful academic with a long record of working with civil society and “has extensive and rich experience in the Palestinian National Negotiation Unit, which puts her in an advanced position in the field of the new appointment.” As Ambassador and an Armenian Palestinian, I am proud of this appointment and wish her success and pray to God to provide her with strength in these difficult days to fill this important position.

Former Palestinian ambassador to France Hind Khoury called the selection of Dr. Varsen as a minister in the new cabinet very important on several levels. “Dr. Varsen is a distinguished professional, she is an intellectual with cultural competence and a deep and meticulous work of research in the public affairs of Palestine and Jerusalem. She represents a qualitative addition to governmental work. She is also an reflection of the religious and ethnic pluralistic nature of the Palestinian society throughout history, and at present. This appointment has special importance regarding the Armenian presence, especially in Jerusalem, and perhaps also for communication with the influential Armenian communities in the world, especially in America and France”

Dr. Hanna Ghazi Hanania, president of the Ramallah Club in the United States, said he had met with Varen during one of her several visits to Washington,. He said she is a fighter. “She is very strong and resolute in defending the right of our people to self-determination and freedom and has a wide network of international relations that she has always used to advance the Palestinian agenda.” “I am sure she will serve our people extremely well in her new challenging role at a very critical time,” Hanania said.

Hagop Djernazian co-founder of the Save the Armenian Quarter Campaign expressed his pride for the new minister. “She grew up in the Armenian quarter of Jerusalem and I am proud to have worked with her in so many areas. Her new position as Minister of Foreign Affairs will play an important role, not only for her but for all Armenians in the world.”
Varsen Agabekian Shahin was born in Jordan in 1958. She earned a master’s degree from Indiana University/Purdue in the United States in 1983, and a doctorate in management studies and educational policy from the University of Pittsburgh in the United States in 1988. She was an associate professor at Al Quds University from 1988 to 2008, dean of the Faculty of Health Professions from 1995 to 1998, and dean of graduate studies from 1998 to 2000, at the same university. She also led the Jerusalem/Orient House Sectoral Studies Project.

She served as coordinator of the Human Resources Development Unit at the Palestinian Health Council and management of the Health Human Resources Development Project in Palestine, director of the Institutional Building Project at the Office of the Palestinian President, executive director of Jerusalem, Capital of Arab Culture in 2009, director of research and planning at the Cooperation Foundation, and commissioner-general of the Independent Commission for Human Rights in 2016-2018. I have worked on the Negotiations Support Project since 2010 until now. I was selected as a member of the committee that drafted the strategic plan for maintaining the Christian presence in the Holy Land.

Varsen is a founding member of the Presidential Commission for the Restoration of the Church of the Nativity, and the Presidential Commission for Church Affairs. She has been involved in human rights and women’s issues and has been a member of several Palestinian NGOs. She has published several studies, research and reports such as Palestinian Christian Emigration, Reform and Women’s Rights, Challenges of Planning in Jerusalem, Palestinian-Armenian Book, Social-Political Intersection (2021) and Armenian Book of British Mandate Palestine (2023). She also serves as an associate professor and strategic planning officer at Dar Al-Kalima University in Bethlehem.

تكافح مجلة “ملح الأرض” من أجل الاستمرار في نشر تقارير تعرض أحوال المسيحيين العرب في الأردن وفلسطين ومناطق الجليل، ونحرص على تقديم مواضيع تزوّد قراءنا بمعلومات مفيدة لهم ، بالاعتماد على مصادر موثوقة، كما تركّز معظم اهتمامها على البحث عن التحديات التي تواجه المكون المسيحي في بلادنا، لنبقى كما نحن دائماً صوت مسيحي وطني حر يحترم رجال الدين وكنائسنا ولكن يرفض احتكار الحقيقة ويبحث عنها تماشيًا مع قول السيد المسيح و تعرفون الحق والحق يحرركم
من مبادئنا حرية التعبير للعلمانيين بصورة تكميلية لرأي الإكليروس الذي نحترمه. كما نؤيد بدون خجل الدعوة الكتابية للمساواة في أمور هامة مثل الإرث للمسيحيين وأهمية التوعية وتقديم النصح للمقبلين على الزواج وندعم العمل الاجتماعي ونشطاء المجتمع المدني المسيحيين و نحاول أن نسلط الضوء على قصص النجاح غير ناسيين من هم بحاجة للمساعدة الإنسانية والصحية والنفسية وغيرها.
والسبيل الوحيد للخروج من هذا الوضع هو بالتواصل والنقاش الحر، حول هويّاتنا وحول التغييرات التي نريدها في مجتمعاتنا، من أجل أن نفهم بشكل أفضل القوى التي تؤثّر في مجتمعاتنا،.
تستمر ملح الأرض في تشكيل مساحة افتراضية تُطرح فيها الأفكار بحرّية لتشكل ملاذاً مؤقتاً لنا بينما تبقى المساحات الحقيقية في ساحاتنا وشوارعنا بعيدة المنال.
كل مساهماتكم تُدفع لكتّابنا، وهم شباب وشابات يتحدّون المخاطر ليرووا قصصنا.

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