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