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Rifat Odeh Kassis ( ) is a Palestinian Christian was born in Beit Sahourmarker, in the West Bankmarker. An active human rights and political and community activist, he was arrested and imprisoned several times by Israelmarker.

In 1992 he founded the Palestinian section of the international child rights organization [345531] , Defence for Children International (DCI) and in 2005 he was elected President of the international movement. In October 2008, during the International General Assembly meeting, held in Brussels, he was reelected President for another term.

[Defence for Children International (DCI)] is an independent non-governmental organization that has been promoting and protecting children’s rights for over 30 years. On a regional, national and local level, DCI is active through its associated members and national sections in around 50 countries across the globe. All national sections and associated members design their programs according to the specific needs and priorities of the children in their respective countries, focusing on various areas of work, including juvenile justice, child labor, child rights’ to education, child participation and children in armed conflict, among others. On the international level, through its International Secretariat, DCI focuses on lobbying, research, networking and advocacy work, relating to juvenile justice issues, as well as providing technical assistance and capacity-building to its national sections and other partners.

In 1995 he helped to establish a rehabilitation programme in Chechnyamarker targeting Chechen children who have been injured and traumatized in the war.

In 1996 he left Palestine to work in Central Asia for several years, helping to develop the NGO sector there [345532].

In September 2000 he came back to Palestine to become the Executive Director of the East Jerusalem YMCA. As a response to the second Intifada he founded the "Keep Hope Alive Campaign" and founded and run the YMCA/YWCA Joint Advocacy Desk.

In 2003, he co founded the Occupied Palestine and Golan heights Advocacy Initiative (OPGAI), a network works on contributing to establishing a social movement and advocating on ending the Israeli occupation to Palestine and the Syrian Golan heights.

In 2004 he co founded the Palestinian National Coalition for Christian Organizations in Palestine (PNCCO), a network from several Christian related organizations works on enhancing the unity between these organizations and giving a national voice to the Palestinian Christians in their struggle on ending the Israeli occupation to their land.

In 2005 he joined the World Council of Churchesmarker (WCC) in Geneva to run the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) [345533]Currently he is the Special Adviser to the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches on the Middle East, .

Since September 2007 he is a Consultant at Dar Annadwa, the International Center of Bethlehem (ICB)[345534]

In March 2008 together with others he established “Badayl/Alternatives” an international consulting agency whose mission is to support NGOs and Civil Society groups around the world that wish to effect authentic and insightful changes in global society [345535].

Badayl/Alternatives, seeks to support NGOs and Civil Society groups that wish to effect authentic and insightful changes in global society. Based on the conviction that alert and agile NGOs and Civil Society can be the harbinger of change, Alternatives seeks to support organizational Transformation Processes which, in turn, enable and equip the Independent Social Sector Organizations to effectively analyze the root causes of factors that shape our world.These processes, in turn, come up with genuine alternatives to the dominant patterns of society which are negative. In line with this, Alternatives provides support to Organizational Development processes, Organizational and Project Evaluations/Assessments/Audits, Project formulation/Training in Project writing and the PME method, developing Policy papers/Research projects

He is a co founder of the Alternative Tourism Group (ATG)[345536].

The Alternative Tourism Group (ATG) is a Palestinian NGO specializing in tours and pilgrimages that include critical examinations of the history, culture, and politics of the Holy Land. It was established by five people from Beit Sahour, late Jamal Salameh, Ghassan Andoni (executive director), Dr. Majed Nassar, Dr. Elias Rishmawi and Rifat Odeh Kassis (President).

Established in 1995, ATG operates according to the tenets of justice tourism, that is, tourism that holds as its central goals the creation of economic opportunities for the local community, positive cultural exchange between guest and host through one-on-one interaction, the protection of the environment, and political/historical education.

ATG works to encourage all tourism operators to abandon exploitative mass tourism and to adopt practices that positively affect the host population. Through these methods, ATG seeks to promote a positive image of Palestine and its people and to contribute to establishment of a just peace in the area.

He is a member of ICCO International Advisory Group, the Netherlands [345537]. He is also member of the Advisory Group of Dan Church Aid- Denmark [345538].

In January 2008 he became Member of Board of Directors of The Alternative Information Center, Jerusalem, Palestine [345539] .

The Alternative Information Center (AIC) is an internationally oriented, progressive, joint Palestinian-Israeli activist organization. It is engaged in dissemination of information, political advocacy, grassroots activism and critical analysis of the Palestinian and Israeli societies as well as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The AIC strives to promote full individual and collective social, economic, political and gender equality, freedom and democracy and a rejection of the philosophy (ideology and praxis) (weltanschauung) of separation. The most urgent regional task is to find a just solution to the century-old colonial conflict in Palestine and confront the ongoing Israeli occupation-regime within its international framework. The AIC method of action develops from the awareness that local struggle must be practically and analytically situated within the framework of the global justice struggle.

In April 2008 he was requested to become a member of the Peace for Life (PfL) subgroup on the Middle East, in Manila the Philippines

In June 2008 he was selected as a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Welfare of Children, Switzerland [345540].

He is the author of several articles, study papers and researches and in 2006 he published his first book, Palestine: A Bleeding Wound in the World’s Conscience, (ISBN 9950-346-00-2)

In 2008, together with Dr. Mitri Raheb he published his second book "Christian Community, facts, figures and trends"

Articles (partial list)



References

Rifat Odeh Kassis in COSMOS

http://www.countercurrents.org/pa-kassis281103.htm

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