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Source: OPEC Fund for International Development
4 April 2014

OFID Director-General concludes high-level mission to Palestine

07.04.2014 | PR05/2014

Meets with President Abbas and signs grant agreements in support of the Palestinian people

Vienna, Austria, April 4, 2014. A delegation from the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), headed by Director-General Mr Suleiman J Al-Herbish, has concluded a high-level mission to Palestine, which included a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the

A number of important matters were discussed during the Director-General’s meeting with President Abbas, including OFID’s long-standing partnership with Palestine, which began over 35 years ago. In the President’s presence, Mr Al-Herbish signed a US$500,000 grant agreement with Dr Mohammad Mustafa, Chairman of the Board of the Mahmoud Abbas Foundation, to fund a special OFID scholarship scheme that will enable 70 high-achieving students among Palestinian refugees in Lebanon to enroll in Lebanese universities.

At the signature ceremony, Mr Al-Herbish emphasized the full commitment of OFID’s Governing Board in support of Palestine’s socio-economic development, which it treats as a priority. He cited as an example an OFID-funded microfinance scheme that enabled Palestinian families to start their own successful projects. President Abbas thanked OFID for its efforts in helping Palestinians through the extension of grants across many different sectors, which is helping alleviate poverty among numerous families.

The five-day mission began in Amman, where Mr Al-Herbish signed a US$200,000 grant agreement with the President of the University of Jordan, Dr Ekhleif Tarawneh, in the presence of Dr Adnan Bakheet, the university’s Director of the Center for Documents and Manuscripts. The grant will support a project implemented by the Center for the restoration of rare manuscripts from Jerusalem.

Mr Al-Herbish also inaugurated the OFID Surgical Department at Al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron, the equipping of which OFID supported with a US$1 million grant. Elite members of the Palestinian leadership and Palestinian ministers participated in the inauguration ceremony. Dr Jawad Naji, Palestinian Minister of National Economy, spoke of the supportive role played by OFID in providing many forms of assistance to the Palestinian people in the social, health, education and economic sectors. Dr Naji also thanked OFID's Ministerial Council for their tireless efforts in maintaining their steadfast commitment to helping improve the lives of millions of Palestinians.

In response, Mr Al-Herbish affirmed OFID's ongoing commitment to the Palestinian people and the institution’s pursuit of a permanent relationship with Palestine. He also spoke of the possibility of OFID expanding its Palestine grant program once Palestine becomes an independent state.

Mr Al-Herbish also signed a US$2.5 million grant agreement with Ms Margot Ellis, Deputy Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Grant proceeds will co-finance a program that will help improve the quality of education for some 1,600 pupils attending three schools at the Shu’fat Refugee Camp in East Jerusalem. The delegation also visited the Shu’fat schools and Budrous village in northwest Jerusalem, where a tree had been planted in honor of Mr Al-Herbish and OFID in an olive grove dedicated to “UNRWA's friends.”

A signing ceremony also took place with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), when Mr Al-Herbish signed four grant agreements totaling US$3.3 million with Mr Frode Mauring, Special Representative of the Administrator of the UNDP Program of Assistance to the Palestinian People (UNDP/PAPP) for the following projects/programs:

The delegation also toured UNDP/PAPP sites restored under the above-mentioned housing rehabilitation project and a number of other ongoing UNDP project sites in the city.

On conclusion of the mission, a visit was made to the Edward Said National Music Conservatory Headquarters in Jerusalem, where a US$100,000 grant agreement was signed with Ms Rima Tarazi, Chairperson of the Governing Supervisory Board of the Conservatory, to support its academic and cultural activities that encourage creativity, innovation and the culture of diversity and steadfastness among Palestinian children.

Following the grant signature were two OFID-hosted events: a short concert performance by students of the Conservatory and a farewell reception that was attended by the Governor of Jerusalem, Mr Adnan El Husseini, and high-level representatives of OFID's partners in Palestine.

The UN General Assembly have proclaimed 2014 the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. OFID, marking this year, is increasing the visibility of its support to the Palestinian People.

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