Monthly Archives: February 2008

Palestine Emergence – In the Words of one of its Enlightened Leaders

When Tom Christensen was visiting the West Bank in early 2005, he introduced Nafiz Al-Rifaie to the Spiral Dynamics theory over tea at one of Bethlehem’s small cafés. Nafiz turned around and explained the framework in Arabic to his colleagues drawing levels and quadrants on napkins found in the café.

Two months later, Dr. Beck and I arrived in the West Bank and held our first conference in Bethelehem. It was Nafiz who organized the conference, inviting professors, bi-partisan party leaders, the governor of Bethlehem, members of Parliament, and Board members of the Women’s Arab Union. By the end of that conference, Nafiz recognized the transformational potential of this systemic framework and its vital application to the Israel/Palestine conflict and most importantly to solve the intra-conflicts in each society.

In the last three years, together with Mr. Rifaie, we trained various groups of women in business and other professions, young men and women and community leaders in Palestine.

Mr. Rifaie holds a Master’s Degree in Sustainable Rural Development and a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature. He did several independent studies in strategic planning and election campaigns, and a comparative study of the political parties in Sweden, Israel, and Palestine.

On February 2, 2008, Nafiz Al-Rifaie, a prominent leader in Fatah Third Generation, addressed the attendees of the Nation Building Movement urging them to focus on the future of Palestine and to change the standing of Palestinians in the world, equipped with education, innovation and the pursuit of excellence.

“An extraordinary speech.”

—Dr. Don Beck

“Nafiz Rifaie has emerged as a true Arab Integral thinker and Spiral

—Saïd Dawlabani

“This is the most encouraging speech I have read from Palestine in 70 years.”

—Judea Pearl

On a personal note, It has been a tremendous honor for me to work with Mr. Rifaie. His openness and vision of a better future for his children and for every Palestinian is a quality that every Arab leader should have. Nafiz spent more than 5 years in Israeli jails as a political prisoner where he continued his education and set up a school inside jail. I have met many Palestinian PLO leaders who told me that Nafiz was their professor/mentor in jail. He might not have read about Mandela’s Robin Island university at the time, but amazingly followed the same evolutionary patterns that Mandela followed. He and his friend Marwan Barghouti were/are the educators of a whole generation of Palestinians who left jail to become some of the most optimistic and progressive human beings.

It is truly Nafiz’s respect for Palestinian women that impresses me most. He has been a staunch supporter of Palestinian women and focuses on helping them become the leaders they truly are.

Thank you for your continued support of Center for Human Emergence Middle East.

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Emergence in Palestine and the Arab World

At the outset of the February 2, 2008 Nation Building Conference in Bethlehem, Palestine, Elza Maalouf spoke to the nearly 700 Palestinian community leaders from all over the West Bank addressing societal emergence in Palestine and the Arab world.

“Young women and men in Palestine are some of the most resilient human beings I have ever met. They surprised me with their optimism, their full engagement in the socio-political process and uncanny ability to grow and emerge.”

— Elza Maalouf

Palestinian Engineer Presents Ground-Breaking Proposals

At the Palestine 21 Nation-Building convention, many groups presented proposals on how to design the emerging state of Palestine. Each group chose a name and was represented by the leader of the group. Names varied from “Hope” to “Cradle of Peace” to “Optimism” to the names of Martyrs from Fatah.

Group #40 “The Promising future” was mainly formed from professional women from Salfit and Hebron. Engineer Nasra Zgheil presented ground-breaking proposals in the name of her group.

Here we translate the conclusions of group #40 which was made up of Palestinian women. This photo shows the group preparing their page for inclusion on the wall presentation:


  1. Economic: To create the grounds for Economic Stability through:
    • Job Creation (through projects, Industrial parks, strong institutions) that will provide opportunities for women, workers and graduates of universities
    • Opening International Markets
    • Supporting the agriculture and tourism sectors and developing the Palestinian rural region
  2. Culture:
    • Focus on programs that help the development of women, children and young people in all aspects (Healthcare, psychological and cultural)

  3. Education:
    • Focus on skill training and provide support for innovators
    • Free Public school system
    • Illiteracy projects
    • Enforce a system of Merit for the hiring process based on social justice

  4. Politics:
    • Put our Nation first not the political movement
    • Electing the right Leader
    • Independence in decision making away from outside influences
    • Transparency in managing public funds and NO nepotism

"Ana Falistini" — I am Palestinian!

Dr. Don Beck addressing 700 Palestinian Leaders mostly from Fatah at the Nation-Building Convention Feb. 2, 2008. In his speech to the Fatah 21 Movement, Dr. Beck focused on the theme “Palestine 21, Palestine first!”

“For the political ‘Road Map’ involving Israel and Palestine to be successful,
the ‘Palestinian Development Map’ must first be implemented.”

A Palestinian Nation Building Movement for the 21st Century

A Palestinian nation-building movement for the 21st Century has been born.

(click on any photo to enlarge)

Close to 700 Palestinians came together earlier this month in Bethlehem, the West Bank “city of new beginnings” in Palestine, to plan their own future.

Sponsored by The Center for Human Emergence Middle East, the event inaugurated the “Palestine 21” project which aims to empower Palestinian citizens to design their own state.

The convention was organized by Palestinian leaders inspired by the geopolitical work of Dr. Don Beck, the American founder of the Global Center for Human Emergence (CHE).

“For the political ‘Road Map’ involving Israel and Palestine to be successful, the ‘Palestinian Development Map’ must first be implemented,” Dr. Beck said at the event.

Palestinian participants traveled by bus from Jericho, Qalqyliah, Tulkarm , Hebron, Ramallah, Nablus and Jerusalem, spending long hours at checkpoints throughout the West Bank.

Elza Maalouf , the Arab-American CEO of CHE Middle East, opened the event, saying “’Palestine 21’ fits within our overall plan to support human and societal emergence in our region, and Palestinians, together with other Arabs, will lead the way.

“It is an honor and a deep source of happiness for me to partner in the Middle East with Dr. Beck, a world-renowned expert on human and societal emergence, “ Ms. Maalouf added. “His work was field-tested during the South African transition from Apartheid and will greatly benefit the transition to nationhood in Palestine.”

Nafiz Rifaee, the Palestinian leader who designed and organized the event with the help of a team of dedicated men and women, urged the audience to focus on the future of their children and the future of Palestine. “This all started when Dr. Beck asked us how were we going to spend the seven billion dollars coming from donor countries. Do we have a sustainable plan for development? Or will the financial aid follow the usual channels?” Mr. Rifaee recalled.

The walls of the convention room at the Shepherd Hotel in Bethlehem were plastered with large sheets of paper filled with the people’s personal ideas and aspirations for their beloved Palestine. Recommendations included the design of a First World public school system, world-class universities, an eco-sensitive transportation plan, universal health care, and representative government.

The full list of suggestions is being compiled in a booklet which will be presented to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, President George W. Bush, Special Envoy to the Middle East Tony Blair, and the United Nations.

SDi Training for Palestinian Women

SDi Training for Palestinian Women from Jericho, Nablus, Ramallah,Bethlehem, Tulkarm, Khalil Jan 25-26, 2008

Dr. Don Beck and Elza Maalouf, CEO of the Center for Human Emergence – Middle East presented a 2-day Spiral Dynamics Integral training for Palestinian women January 25 and 26, 2008. Participant came from Jericho, Nablus, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Tulkarm, Khalil and many other areas of the West Bank. They were all taking part in what is now becoming known as The Future Movement of Palestine 21.

The group was invited by Dr. Nehma Assad, a gynecologist from Bethlehem who introduced the training as a ‘true’ empowerment for women’s roles and capacities in the Palestinian society. The attendees were educators, students, directors of NGOs and mothers who are working on the development of their communities in Palestine.

After learning the colors/codes of the Spiral, the participants used the memetic language to explain how organizations like USAID, UN or EU NGOs who operate from the orange/Green value-systems try to impose unrealistic conditions on programs they fund in Palestine, that do not fit the culture or the value-systems in their communities. Butheina who is leading a local organization said, “We are tired of them pushing their women empowerment training on us without providing opportunities to create sustainable jobs and solid careers. The abstract concepts are fine, but they are not helping us create businesses, or helping our children learn computer skills. They force us to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on restaurants, hotels and seminars and refuse to give us part of the money to build a small center to train women and children on how to use the computer!”

Two young girls who hold degrees in education and computer science have been looking for a job for the last 7 months to no avail. They just want to work and make a living… Not learn about Democracy and Governance in seminars while not having a job or a place to exercise ‘Governance’. (Most seminars offered by Western organizations focus on Democracy, Governance and Empowerment of Women….) .

News from our Middle East trip Jan/Feb 2008

Just a short note to let you know that Dr. Don Beck and I have just returned from the Middle East where we have some very exciting news, pictures, audio, and videos that we will start sharing with you here and elsewhere on this website.

This video taken by Dr. Beck shows Elza on February 2, 2008 addressing 700 Fatah members at the Palestine21 meeting in Bethlehem. They came from Janin, Tulkarm, Nablus, Ramallah, Jericho, Bethlehem, Hebron/Al Khalil, Qalqilyah and Jerusalem.

Please check back regularly over the next days and weeks.

Thank you,