Dedication of Ad-Dar Cultural & Conference Center

On Monday, September 1, 2003, the long-awaited dedication and grand opening of the Ad-Dar Cultural and Conference Center alongside the Lutheran Christmas Church (ELCJ) in Bethlehem was held. Many guests came from Finland (the government of Finland gave generous financial support in building the Conference Center), the United States and other countries to join the Palestinian Church and people in celebrating the event. The International Center of Bethlehem (ICB) is a Lutheran based, ecumenically-oriented institution serving the whole Palestinian community. Through empowering the local community, developing human resources, cultivating artistic talents and facilitating intercultural encounters, the ICB actively promotes the building of Palestinian civil society. Another way of building the society is the Dar al-Kalima Academy which is a small community college facility offering training in music, arts and crafts, media, communication, cultural management, tourism and Christian ministry

Bishop Dr. Munib A. Younan, Ms. Paula Lehtomaki the Finnish Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, and Dr. Nabeel Kassis, Minister of Planning in the Palestinian Authority, Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb along with Palestinian dignitaries, the ICB, church and academy staff celebrated the dedication and grand opening with many guests. Music was provided by the National Conservatory of Music at ICB. Bishop Younan said: “Music, arts and theology will help in building a modern civil society, teaching freedom of speech, opinion and expression. I pray that Ad-Dar would play an active role where the ELCJ is seen as empowering the powerless.”