Author Archives: Elza

The New Frontier in Geopolitics: Understanding the Indigenous Intelligence:

Indigenous Intelligence Experts

Indigenous Intelligence Experts

In my book Emerge! I spent a considerable amount of time articulating the importance of understanding the local intelligence, what motivates people, their value preferences and worldviews. If the US is to be respected as an effective facilitator of change, we have to understand this social science concept. Below is my description of it from my book Emerge!
Indigenous Intelligence is one of the most crucial elements of the MEMEtocracy model. Throughout his career, Beck has emphasized the importance of working with people who know the culture of the country they are working in. It wasn’t until I teamed up with him to create the CHE-Mideast that I discovered the need to further define his thinking on this particular subject. For someone who was born in Lebanon, I noticed certain events, behaviors, and phenomena in Middle Eastern cultures that were missed by most of my highly intelligent Western friends. This pattern of things lost or missed in translation kept repeating in higher frequency as our work progressed, making it necessary for me to conduct research into this area.
I began to develop my model after much analysis of field data and assessment of why development problems persist in spite of all the good intentions behind foreign aid and the noble work of non-governmental organizations.
Often the term “indigenous” is associated with native minorities and cultures of the developing world that have been marginalized by progress. In this context, I was looking to redefine the meaning of indigenous to include the “unique value-systems expression” of the complex intelligences within each culture. Those indigenous intelligences can offer their countries, and the world community creative solutions that meet the challenges facing our world today.
As I looked into the field of social sciences, nothing identified the general subject of local cultural knowledge as a separate and distinct field of intelligence or an area worthy of acknowledgment with its own unique characteristics. An Internet search for the term revealed results for a business entity organized to provide Native American veterans with jobs in consulting services. After spending many days in research and failing to find any definitive writings on the subject, I turned to the work of Howard Gardner as a last resort.
Gardner, a Harvard developmental psychologist, had pioneered the field of multiple intelligences. In his 1983 book Theory of Multiple Intelligences, he outlined a total of eight types of intelligences that included the original measure of cognitive intelligence. Since then, Gardner has updated his original findings to include many applications, but at the time I conducted my research this pioneer had not included the field of local cultural intelligence as a factor in his influential research the way Beck and I viewed it.
Based on my field experience and the extensive research I conducted in the areas of social psychology and world cultures, I came to define “indigenous intelligence” as follows:
Indigenous Intelligence (II) is the multidimensional capacity of an individual or a group in a specific society to interpret its value-system’s complexity to non-natives. It is represented in a cross section of any given society, from the Millennial Generation to women, community leaders and elders of the tribe. Unlike other intelligences, it provides rich and actionable culturally fit answers, to why certain individuals or groups act in certain ways. Why do they have certain preferences, priorities, beliefs and worldviews and why solutions need to be tailored for their specific value-structures.
Indigenous Intelligence informs governance by assessing the life conditions of the people and the challenges they face. II paints a more complete picture of the obstacles facing stakeholders in a society, not just the elite and the privileged. It always finds opportunities in the challenges facing a certain society and finds a silver lining through creative thinking. Economic development that is informed by II places the uniqueness of people’s capacities into a long-term development scheme that makes the culture move at an accelerated pace while building resilience and self-reliance at every stage.

Indigenous Intelligence Experts (IIEs)
Indigenous Intelligence is manifested in individuals as well as groups that are experts who exhibit the following characteristics:

• They are most likely natives of the territory who speak the language, know the customs, and understand the culture and the many subcultures within it.
• Their thinking is an open-system with high cognitive abilities. They can speak with ease to tribal leaders in their same colloquial tongue as well as to a national or Western politician and be fully aware of the value-structure distinctions of what is being said.
• He/she is shaped by the first-hand experience of his/her own transition from being zealots and flamethrowers. He/she has earned his/her dues in becoming a conciliator and pragmatist who thinks about future generations and their well being, rather than having a need for revenge, instant gratification, and traditional allegiances.
• IIEs, instinctively discern the complex patterns of their society by identifying developmental gaps and allowing for the process to evolve naturally. This is in stark contrast of how the West paints other societies with broad strokes through their people’s own prism of values, missing much of the local nuances.
• They understand the value-systems meaning of history through first-hand experience and can help Western organizations become more efficient in their fieldwork.
• They understand the complexity and the uniqueness of the indigenous challenges that brought the culture to its current status of desolation.
• They’re strategic and systemic in their thinking and believe in efforts that can be sustainable and resilient for generations to come.
• They look at Western organizations’ objectives for peace and prosperity and help them channel their efforts in order not to offend local stakeholders with historic grievances, while at the same time providing culturally-honed plans for distributing resources where they’re most needed.
• They are servant leaders who realize that functional alignment with the needs of their society is at the top of their agenda.

IIEs open the door to a culture from the inside in societies that would otherwise be hesitant to disclose any information to outsiders. They can move freely through the various value systems within their culture, knowing how to uncover the challenges facing the culture and repair the expression of every local vMEME (Value Systems Meme). In parts of the Middle East that have seen war and have gone through the Arab Spring, many IIEs gain respect due to their activism and sacrifice. At times these people served time in jail for their views and actions. The rest of the culture witnessed with admiration their transformation from tribal and feudal lords to pragmatic leaders and conciliators. They live in two worlds and cater to the traditional needs of the tribe while expressing with clarity and vision, the future needs of their nation.
In an intra-conflict they are the ones who most understand the different positions within their own party or clan because they shared that same journey. When it comes to inter-conflict issues, they understand the motivation and value systems of the enemy through pragmatic lenses, and they interpret the actions and decision making of their opponents through strategic thinking.

Nafiz Al Rifae Integral Design Architect  (IDA)

Nafiz Al Rifae Integral Design Architect (IDA)

IIEs become the primary source for information in creating what we call Indigenous Design. The concept of Indigenous Design emerged at the same time when I was doing research on the Indigenous Intelligence concept. Because IIEs bring a richer and more resilient perspective to our attention, the nature of what we design has to reflect the uniqueness of the culture. This data becomes the blueprint that informs the design scheme that is specific to each society. It defines the content of each development program based on local need, and made more sustainable by the global knowledge of Integral Design Architects (IDAs). Indigenous Design is the fundamental component that makes the MEMEtocracy blueprint actionable.
In creating the blueprint for MEMEtocracy IIEs are the primary source of information for the Integral Design Architects who chart the large-scale scheme for the culture. It is only through the data that the IIEs gather from their societies that a large scale design expert can support a Seventh-Level Yellow politician or business leader to design functional solutions and create open systems for Purple, Red, Blue, and Orange. This is the uniqueness of the Indigenous Design approach. Data on local cultural trends collected by IIEs become memes that determine the indigenous content of every vMEME (Value Systems Meme). This, in turn, determines the meme stack of the entire society for which we are designing a functional system for governance. While IDAs can work in any given culture and continue to provide the big picture design, the presence of IIEs is an integral part of the MEMEtocracy framework. They are the only ones who understand the mindsets and belief systems of their own culture.

Breaking the Cycle of Failed Negotiations

For many reasons US Middle East policy has failed to make lasting peace a reality. Early on in his administration, President Obama sent a message to the world that things will be different. By granting his first media interview to Al-Arabia Network based in Dubai and delivering a powerful speech in Cairo to the Muslim world he set the tone for things to be different. But, how much beneath the tactical surface would policy makers need to go in order to achieve a different, sustainable outcome. At the Washington summit this past August with President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu, Secretary Clinton and President Obama set a one year deadline for both parties to come up with a workable peace treaty. Is this approach any different than that of previous administrations and would it work?

These are questions that Don, Said and I will be discussing during Peace Week this coming Wednesday September 15, at 5:00 PM (PST). Click here for details and to sign up.
1. Are the 2 parties ready to step fully into these negotiations, or is this Washington’s own timing leading to mid-term elections?
2. It is true that Prime Minister Fayyad is doing a good job with making sure that Palestinian security forces in the West Bank are well trained, but is that enough for Israel to pull back its 10,000 troops?
3. With all right wing opposition in Israeli opposing for the settlement freeze, can the Palestinians trust that Israel has good intentions at the table?
4. Most importantly, are all parties, including the US looking at these negotiations from a Natural Design perspective? From a value systems perspective? Do they take into account the Memetic contours and the lay of the land in both cultures? Or, are they coming to it from the traditional negotiations processes that failed to achieve tangible results like in Madrid, Oslo, and Camp David.

The truth is whoever is at the negotiations table does not represent the full spectrum of value-systems and mindsets of their respective cultures. Why isn’t it a bottoms-up referendum on the future of their respective countries? Who’s really addressing what the moderates in both countries are looking for? This is something that the Center for Human Emergence Middle East has been deeply involved in for the last 5 years. We have uncovered and informed, through our field-tested framework, the thinking of over 200,000 in Palestine who are of the mindset that in order for negotiations to be successful and have collective support, the negotiators must be informed by real-time data from the trenches of the culture.

Below is a reposting from a year ago of our call for a “Design Conference” and not a “Peace Conference”. Not much has changed in calling for the building blocks that form the foundation for a lasting peace.

Design Conference for Palestine/Israel
To break the cycle of failed “Peace Negotiations”

Israel Palestine Regional MapThe Israeli/Palestinian conflict is a collision of “tectonic plates” — deep values system codes — that have created a logjam. It is this underlying logjam that generates continual surface-level blockages that erupt in conflict.

We propose a problem-solving methodology with the power, precision, and complexity to span over human groupings to construct the unique economic and political structures that overarch the mountains and valleys of those unique human groupings.

We need to see the patterns as through a prism — where all the various colors of worldviews are made visible, each with a different “tint” on the world. The goal is to understand the needs of all the mind-sets, so as to begin to craft “full-spectrum” solutions which are fundamentally different from those that a single perspective would offer.

  • Capacity to uncover the deeper dynamics within each society, as well as between societies.
  • Craft decisions and measure priorities not against the past, nor based on who is responsible for what;
  • Avoid the typical problem resolution systems such as majority rule, rule by the elite or by the wealthy, or rule by the so-called experts, or those that have military strength.
  • Defuse the ideologies that produce “us vs. them”
  • Avoid raising expectations which can be faulted.
  • Focus on who the people are who live in the region and what their resources are
  • Design a strategy to mesh people, geography, and resources together into a workable solution for all who live in that region.
  • Draw upon all of the solutions which are currently available (as well as many that haven’t been thought of yet). We often call these “scaffoldings of solutions”,
  • Solutions that involve the whole region: Israel, Syria, Jordan, Palestine

“The issue is less about democracy, rather the question is to design the best structures for meeting the needs of the people as they develop through the stages that are most natural to them; open, adaptive systems appropriate to their life conditions.”

Fateh’s Sixth Convention and the Building of a Nation by Elza Maalouf

The following article was written for the news agency Common Grounds and distributed widely throughout the world and the Middle East in many languages. This article briefly summarizes our work with the Build Palestine Initiative and serves as an open letter to the Palestinian leadership. Here’s a link for the article in Arabic

6th convention Fateh’s and the building of a nation
by Elza Maalouf

20 August 2009

SAN DIEGO – After its long-awaited Sixth Convention, Fateh has inched a bit closer toward building the institutions needed to establish an independent Palestinian state. In spite of the power jockeying, participants renewed their commitment to a two-state solution, and the voices calling for resistance through economic development outnumbered those wishing to keep the status quo. Fateh’s challenge now is to create a platform with new goals and a new interpretation of its charter, in order to become a movement that represents all Palestinians. In a true gesture of reconciliation, Fateh should extend an olive branch to Hamas and invite the movement to join in creating a new national platform.

It remains to be seen how effective the election of a younger generation of Fateh members will be in establishing a new national agenda, but the only way forward for Fateh is to boldly assume the responsibility for creating a developmental roadmap that will prepare all Palestinians to negotiate a two-state solution from a position of strength.

The idea of a development roadmap was born based on the Center for Human Emergence in the Middle East’s work with third and fourth generation Fateh members over the last five years. We approached the problem using an innovative socio-political framework, such as the one that helped South Africa transition from apartheid.
First and foremost, our research pointed to the enormous asymmetry in societal capacities between Israelis and Palestinians. This has been a principal cause for the failure of previously-attempted peace treaties. The Palestinians simply did not have the capacity to self-govern or to develop a unified vision of a future state. Internal clashes generated by extremists on both sides have also continued to fuel the conflict.

Our work focused on guiding third and fourth generation Fateh members in creating a distinctly different party — transitioning from one that was out of touch with the Palestinian people, to a party that will lead the entire nation in a state-building effort. Because we understood the significance of the Sixth Convention, we designed a pre-congress conference for 700 members of Fateh, which took place in February 2008. This conference provided a unique forum for Fateh members to debate the future of the party and send recommendations to their leaders. Our focus was not merely on the success of Fateh, but on the viability of a future Palestinian state, which should be President Abbas’ focus as well.

To shift the focus away from both intra-party fighting and the defeat of Hamas, we created a platform whereby members offered their best visions and frameworks for building a Palestinian state — a country designed by its own people, for its own people. It turned out that professional women and young party members in their twenties offered some of the best suggestions for nation-building. They were most aware of the important issues affecting their people.

In order for Fateh to guide the emergence of a Palestinian state, the participants presented a number of pragmatic recommendations most of which could be initiated despite the restrictions imposed by the Israeli occupation. These include: accountability from all public officials; the ending of corrupt practices among government bureaucracies; the establishment of world-class educational and healthcare systems; development of the agricultural and industrial sectors; the creation of an IT sector, whereby young people could find gainful employment; and the instituting of a broad spectrum of socio-economic programmes essential to a thriving state.

Based upon the results of our pre-conference event — and the challenges that the outcome of the Sixth Convention present — President Abbas should immediately hold a “nation-design conference” that would call on the brightest minds in Palestine and throughout the world to create a developmental roadmap for Palestine. This would be informed by the needs and aspirations of all Palestinians, and would put forth a vision of a thriving region. It would honour the past while building the infrastructure necessary for the younger generation to emerge socio-economically and overcome the region’s historic conflict. For moderates in Israel, a plan such as this would provide the assurance they need to enter into a partnership of mutual peace and prosperity, while quelling Hamas’ and Likud’s extremist positions.


* Elza S. Maalouf is an Arab-American futurist and cultural development specialist focusing her work on societal, business and political reform in the Arab world. She is the CEO and co-founder of the Center for Human Emergence Middle East, a research and strategic design centre that uses the emerging science of value-systems to address various challenges in the region. This article was written for the Common Ground News Service (CGNews).

Source: Common Ground News Service (CGNews), 20 August 2009,

Deema Al-Shawa Pleads with Pres-Elect Obama to End the Attack on Gaza

In light of Israel’s invasion of Gaza, our Palestinian partner sent me this heartfelt letter expressing her pain about the death of innocent people, yet remaining optimistic about a fresh start with President-Elect Obama.

“Habibti Elza,
After reading your letter to Obama and while watching the news about Gaza today, I felt like sending something to Obama too, by using the alphabets of the word PALESTINE.

Deema Al-Shawa”

  • P. President Obama, Dear “Abu Hussien” that’s how we call you in the Middle East.
  • A. An Action by you would make a historical difference! Your words: “CHANGE HAS COME TO AMERICA!” brought back our lost hopes & faith in the change that might come to the Middle East, through a better American political policy.
  • L. Let Peace Rule the Globe and bring back the missing justice.
  • E. Encourage our Palestinian vision for a better future & development, Palestinian young people are educated enough to handle it very well.
  • S. Save our hungry poor children in Gaza and millions will pray for you. Save them from the unjustified non-stop Israeli harm and the non-sensed political conflicts. Dear Mr. President in our Palestinian case, supporting the basic human rights by such a leader like you, will be remarked with a golden line in history.
  • T. Time has come for us to be treated as humans! It’s almost 2009, 60 years of an unfair war, enough of erasing and neglecting our harmless Palestinian identity, kindly support our people, we do exist and we have rights. African Americans had suffered for years but today while celebrating your presidency HOPE is back! Justice will come after all to Palestine.
  • I. Initiating action for Cultural emergence in the Middle East by Enhancing “the Center for Human Emergence” through its SDI needed mission, will definitely help the US administration in implementing a better political, social and economical international transformation. Dr. Don Beck and CEO Elza Malouf our American Heroes will help you as much as they helped us, if you just give them the chance.
  • N. NO! For more genocides by the Israeli army, PALESTINE is screaming for your HELP!
  • E. Enough of taking sides! HO HO HO!! The Israeli Santa did deliver his bombs as a Christmas gift to the Palestinian Innocent children in Gaza, documented 27.12.2009. Merry Christmas Mr. President & Happy New Year.
By Deema Shawa.

Deema is a founding member of the Palestine Integral Committee at the Center For Human Emergence-Middle East . Since 2005, she has been leading the efforts to promote “Build Palestine Initiative” among young Palestinian leaders.

Maysa Gayyusi comments on our Letter to Mr. Obama

Maysa Gayyusi, a dynamic Palestinian community leader, sent us this letter expressing her renewed faith in a potential independent Palestinian state after the election of Mr.Obama.

“Dear Elza,

You said it all to President-elect Obama. You have no idea how high the expectations are among young Palestinians. Words that Obama said that “we can, and we will” inspired many youth here to see the light at the end of the tunnel; and to realize that change is doable.

I was in NY, in Time Square when the result of the elections were revealed, you have no idea how loud I screamed cheering for Obama. My friends told me the next day, “Maysa, you acted like a crazy kid. You jumbled and yelled”. I replied why not, A drowning person will not think twice before grabing a stick handed to rescue him. This is how I feel, young Palestinians as well as Israelis are desperately looking for the day when they can leave the conflict behind and look for better future.

My brother kept asking me for an Obama shirt, saying “Maysa I don’t want anything from you except a shirt with Obama photo.” I brought him one that he wears to impress his friends!

I hope that your words will find their way to Mr. Obama, and that he will put the Israeli- Palestinians issue among his priorities.

Let me know how I can help,


Maysa “

This is the letter that we sent to President-Elect Obama:

Maysa Gayyusi has been working with the Center For Human Emergence Middle East on the Build Palestine Initiative since 2005.

80 Fatah Leaders meet in Bethlehem to discuss the upcoming 6th Convention


The CHE-mideast grassroots movement continues to grow. The Build Palestine Initiative that is lead by our Palestinian partners is reaching critical mass and is now influencing the direction of the entire Fatah movement.


Bethlehem-Maan News

Nov18, 2008

On Tuesday Nov. 18th approximately 80 Fatah leaders , from a number of Palestinian provinces met to discuss challenges facing the party ahead of the hugely anticipated 6th Convention. The Meeting took place at the Women’s Union Hall under the slogan “Taking Responsibility for the Emergence of Fatah Movement.” Nafiz Rifaee presided over the conference along with Abdel Majeed Suwaiti and Thabet Swaitat. Also present were leaders representing the various sectors and committees of Fatah in the West Bank andGaza.

Emphasis at the meeting was placed on the need to sustain the role that the Fatah Movement is achieving with the Palestinian National Project with its focus on internal reforms as well as open communication with the Executive committee. The attendees acknowledged the prolonged difficulties the movement has gone through and the need to reform it at this critical juncture in the absence of effective structures to implement such reforms.

The speakers emphasized the following points:

§Sending recommendations to expand participation in the 6th Convention by

including the young Generation.

§Specify what the members wish to see from this convention.

§Prepare action-plans and strategies of implementation after the 6th convention.

§Make sure all resolutions of the convention support the leading role that Fatah plays in the National Palestinian Plan.


The speakers emphasized the necessity for radical change within the party through internal elections that will enable the movement to continue its path toward freedom andNationBuilding. Emphasis was also placed on holding all elected officials of Fatah who contributed to the demise of the movement accountable for their actions.Attendees also vowed to hold transparent internal party elections away from personal agendas and nepotism.

Fatah leader Nafiz Rifaee declaredthat this meeting is part of a series of important meetings that started on Feb 2, 2008 where 700 Fatah members voiced their opinion about the 6th convention. These meetings have stressed the need to transform the movement and help it emerge.

Mr Rifaee added that the group will continue its meetings and will come up with a list of recommendations that will be presented to Ahmad Qurai (Abu Alaa’)- the head of the Annapolis negotiation team, and the Fatah official in charge of organizing the 6th convention—and to Mr. Hakam Balaoui , in charge of the organizing committee of the conference. These recommendations will also be presented through every channel possible to make sure the overall vision of the movement includes the third generation Fatah members who have been the torch bearers of the group for years.

Other speakers including Mohammad Taha Amin, the Secretary General of Fatah inBethlehem, Abdallah abu Hadid and Mousa Al Shaer, were supportive of Mr. Rifaee’s vision for change and transformation of the movement.

Nafiz Rifaee:” Why aren’t Arab Universities Excelling?Why aren’t they on the list of the Top 500 Univ. in the World?”

In an article published last week in Al-Quds newspaper in Jerusalem, Nafiz Rifaee, a leading Palestinian mind who is bringing cultural and systems innovation to Palestine, asks why isn’t any Arab university mentioned on the list of the Top 500 Universities in the world. A recent study published by Shanghai Universities ranked European, American and 6 Israeli universities among the top universities in the world. Mr. Rifaee is calling on all Arab academics, politicians and business people to take a closer look at the problem. He says “We have some of the greatest minds in the world. Our young Arab men and women are eager to learn and be innovative; the question remains, are we providing them with the best education and technologies to help them excel?” adding ” our young generation is where we need to invest most. they are the tallest buildings we want to build, and the most precious resources we have.”

Nafiz Rifaee is the President of Bethlehem University Alumni Association. He is leading the Build Palestine Initiative sponsored and designed by the Center for Human Emergence-Middle East. He can be reached at

Click on either link to read the full article in English or Arabic:

English Text PDF

Arabic Text PDF

Large Scale Psychology presentation at The Engaging The Other Conference in San Francisco

Dr. Beck and Elza Maalouf and I will be presenting at the Engaging the Other Conference in San Francisco . Sept 4-7, 2008

For the first time, Dr. Beck will reveal certain aspects of Large Scale Psychology, (the new branch of psychology that he is introducing to APA in 2009) in particular the recognition of the master codes that shape whole societies and how to impact large scale systems with integral design engineering principles, processes and strategies. As you all know, Dr. Beck is virtually the “pathfinder” of master codes in large scale systems with applications in 1st, 2nd and 3rd world societies. Further, he will roll out the Assimilation-Contrast Effect (ACE) that describes how the Us vs. Them polarization forms, thus producing the “face of the enemy” in the other. This is the critical process that creates serious conflicts between tribes, empires, ideologies (such as Shia and Sunni) and even between the “Red” and “Blue” states in this country. The entire package is part of the Large Scale Psychology templates, illustrates how to defuse the conflict, build over arching superordinate goals, and find ways to integrate common interests beyond the rigid and dangerous borders and boundaries. The concept has been field-tested within many societies where a dangerous civil war was the only apparent option. Beck worked with Professor Muzafer Sherif while at the University of Oklahoma and was a graduate assistant at the Institute for Group Relations that produced the autokinetic physical judgment study and the world famous Robber’s Cave experiment.

Elza Maalouf will present the major application of Large Scale Psychology that they designed and continue to apply in Palestine: including how they are uncovering the master code that shapes the Palestinian society, and will give concrete details about the processes and strategies they are following to impact change/emergence. This will be a case study in the Natural Design framework and the application of the ACE technology both within Israel and within Palestine and between Israel and Palestine (Intra-Conflict and Inter-Conflict), while creating a compelling future vision – of Israel/Palestine as the Hong Kong of the Middle East or the Dubai of the Levant— that will benefit all and anticipate the next moves in the dangerous dance between the Middle East and the West.

We would appreciate you posting this announcement on your blogs, and/or forwarding it to people who might want to attend. Topic and date are listed below.

“Psychology at the Large Scale: the Design and Transformation of Whole societies”
Sept 5, 2:00 – 3:30 pm

This presentation will feature Spiral Dynamics, a biopsychosocial and value system driven framework and illustrate its role in diagnosing and defusing “us -vs- them” polarity. It will identify eight different types or variations of worldviews, and will uncover the “DNA-like” Master Code that shapes cultural emergence, conflict, transitions, and transformation. It will describe the conditions for large scale societal change which will guide decision-makers to know what to do, when, in what manner, with which resources. Finally, It will address the critical issues with regard to nation-states, large cultural and global movements with a focus on a major Nation Building design and application in Palestine.

Don Edward Beck, PhD., Elza Maalouf, JD. (Lecture, Experiential, Discussion)


Sept 5, 7:00 – 8:45 pm

“The Development of Identity: Our Personal and Historical Relationship with The Other”

– What is the role of The Other in the process of establishing our personal and communal identities, and belief systems related to these?

– How can this role take on negative characteristics, and how can it be transformed from negative to positive?

Maureen O’Hara, PhD, Don Edward Beck, PhD, Sal Nunez, JD, Michael Nagler, PhD

Moderaters: Aftab Omer, PhD, and Steve Olweean, MA

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.

Join us,


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