From “The Land” to the Vatican: Federation-Supported Initiative Presented to Pope Francis

Tags: Federation, Advocacy, Israel, Overseas

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General Mansour abu Rashid, right, meets Pope Francis at the Vatican.

General Mansour abu Rashid, chairman of the Amman Center for Peace and Development, left a lasting impression of hope on the Cleveland Jewish community when he visited in November 2018 to discuss “Israeli Jordanian Peace: How Did We Get Here & Where is it Going?” For the last 16 years, his message of peace has traveled the world, and most recently, caught the attention of the Vatican and Pope Francis.

General Mansour recently traveled to Switzerland to present ways to promote environmental cooperation across borders, presenting a project called “Birds Without Borders.” Presenting alongside him was Professor Yossi Leshem from Israel and Professor Alexandre Roulin of the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, and a Palestinian environmentalist (who prefers not to be identified). Many dignitaries were in attendance, including an ambassador to the Vatican, who was so impressed with their presentation that he arranged a meeting between them and Pope Francis.

Pope Francis has a department called “Climate Change & Environment” and is passionate about using these issues to bring people together and peace to the world. The May 11 meeting between General Mansour, Profesor Leshem, Professor Roulin, the Palestinian environmentalist, and Pope Francis was scheduled for 30 minutes, but was then extended to 40 minutes. The group discussed cross-border cooperation through initiatives such as cleaning the Jordan River and a Federation-supported program that uses barn owls as an environmentally safe solution to control vermin and preserve crops in Israel and Jordan.

The meeting spurred Italy’s CNN network to run a piece on their work, as well as a Swiss documentary. General Mansour said that in the next year, Pope Francis plans to arrange more meetings for people who are advocating for the environmental work around the world as a means to bring people together.

Congratulations to General Mansour and his staff, as well as the members of the Federation’s Jordan Cross-Border Subcommittee, on this well-deserved achievement!

For more information on the Federation’s Cross-Border Initiative, contact Tal Rothstein at trothstein@jcfcleve.org or 216-593-2861.

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