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Grand Opening Speech
Zeinab Habash, the General Secretary for Education of The Palestinian Authority
It is one thing to speak of the connection between immorality and social unrest, in a place like America, where peace is the norm.It is quite another to see the exact opposite, first-hand.
But even more significant, is to see how 21 simple precepts can make a difference, even in the most troubled of settings.
Our next speaker comes to us from the same strife-torn region as our last one, yet she represents the Palestinian people.
She is a life-long educator and author, and has served her country as a teacher, a school principal, and now is an executive of Palestine's government.
From her current position as General Secretary of Education for the Palestinian National Authority, she is responsible for setting the curriculum for more than 600,000 students.
Yet her influence and her desire to help others reaches even further than that.
She has become renowned in the Middle-east as an icon for passion and dedication to building a better future for the youth of her region.
Please welcome Ms. Zeinab Habash.
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is my honor and pleasure to be with all of you for this great event on behalf of the Palestinian people.
Your humanitarian efforts in improving life are well known to many, all over the world.
Now, they have also become well known to many Palestinians.
As you all know, we Palestinians live in one of the most troubled regions on this planet.
But we made a decision to continue our normal lives.
We opened schools, universities and even kindergartens, in spite of curfews, closures, and military activities.
As General Secretary of Education, I tried to find ways to help my children face this horrible situation.
I formed a special committee from related personnel to produce an action plan for improving education.
The Way to Happiness, this thin and amazing book, attracted me like a magnet. It reflects my own beliefs. It speaks of equality, justice, freedom, peace, tolerance, and good behavior.
It gives hope to anyone and everyone, of any faith.
When I later saw how it helped improve the political situation in other countries, I became even more determined to distribute the booklet to all Palestinians.
It gave me great hope in achieving peace and happiness, not only for my people, but for the people of the whole world.
With the support of this Foundation, more than one million copies of The Way to Happiness were distributed in Palestine and Israel.
And while we still have so far yet to go, it is making a difference.
I'm not dreaming.
For even during this last Intifada, and for the first time in my life, I saw many Israeli Jews, young and old, men and women, who risked their own lives to support, help and protect Palestinians.
I saw as well many Palestinians do the same.
I'm sure that The Way to Happiness can play the role of rehabilitating both peoples.
It can guide them to use their wisdom, not their weapons, in solving problems.
Once they behave like equal humans who respect and trust each other, the way to peace as well as the way to happiness will never be far away from any of us.
That is why I am very proud that the Ministry's Committee on
Improving Education has directed all school counselors to teach the Palestinian children using The Way to Happiness.
As Mr. L. Ron Hubbard has said,
"On the day when we can fully trust each other, there will be peace on Earth."
On behalf of all Palestinians who have benefited from The Way to Happiness, and the future generations who will live in trust and peace because of your work, I offer my deepest thanks.
I congratulate you and wish you success.
And I promise my support in bringing this wonderful book to every man, woman and child, in every land.
Thank you very much.