"The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others"--Gandhi

During a typical year, Birzeit Society is managed by more than 100 volunteers at the National level, throughout the chapters,  and within committees. A magnanimous THANK YOU to all the volunteers who keep the Society vibrant and connected.  These volunteers are not paid, certainly not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless! Volunteering is  exciting and enjoyable. Birzeit Society volunteers get to practice their ideals, work with others to solve problems and plan for the future of the Society. Imagine the gratification you would feel  knowing that you had a hand in building a playground for children in Birzeit, facilitating the disbursement of scholarship funds to needy students,  helping with efforts to support organizations that provide after-school activities or working to create a strategic business plan that leads to a roadmap for land-management improvements and potential economic development in Birzeit. It is through such committee style volunteerism that much is accomplished--the focus of each committee contributes to the strategic alignment between Birzeit, Birzeit Society and its supporting members.

Consider involving yourself with a particular committee soon and share your life-time experiences and talents with your fellow Birzeitis. The Society has the following permanent committees established: Membership, Bylaws, Administration, Birzeit Affairs, Birds of Return, Education, Publication, Public Relations, Human RightsFinance, Fundraising,  Office Automation, Young Adults, Advisory committee in Birzeit, and the  Convention committee. These committees exist year-round and there is a position waiting just for you! Please join the active teams and help our Society fulfill its humanitarian mission and objectives.

 

"from convention to convention we yearn to meet for this is the way we now must greet"

As you may know our  2014 convention will be held  back home,  in Birzeit, Palestine. While in Diaspora, many of us yearn for the memories of our Birzeiti past where youthful interactions established the foundation of  our cultural  heritage  and defined the essence of who we are as a community and as individuals. Many of our children, although born and raised in Diaspora, on some level have vicariously experienced our deep rooted connection through their parents and grandparents and are naturally "called" to our ancestral land.  The reinforcement of such connection alone makes the long and expensive journey to Palestine worthwhile.  This will be the third convention held in this village which binds us. The first was in 1998, the second, eight years later in 2006 and once again, eight years after that we plan to  gather in  Birzeit in 2014 for our 12th National BZS Convention. 

To accommodate school schedules, join the Rozana Heritage celebrations and observer the month of Ramadan (which starts on 6/28), our convention dates have been set to start on   6/20/2014 and end on 7/3/2014. In general the program includes three convention days, then three to four days of (Rozana) Heritage celebrations, and then three to four days of bus tours and hiking trips with a few dispersed "free" days to rest and visit relatives.

Your participation in the actual planning and your ideas are always welcome--when   volunteers join hands  good things are bound to happen.  Please contact me (Nkury@comcast.net) or Mary Ayed (Mrinad@yahoo.com) who lives in Birzeit to place your name on the convention volunteer list.

 

"Once a new technology rolls over you, if you're not part of the steamroller, you're part of the road"--Stewart Brand

Office automation has begun--Project "Wild Olive" is underway  with a desire to automate the membership database. The plan is to run a test system and then, if appropriate, cut-over to production in January of 2014. This new system which is an online service, specializes in membership management for nonprofits. The system features can benefit the Society in the following ways:

  • ·         Enable individual members to update their own contact information.
  • ·         Create events and invite members to register and pay online.
  • ·         Create blogs from on-site locations and quickly share that information with members.
  • ·         Provide timely bulletins or newsletters via email distribution,
  • ·         Invoicing and payment collection for Membership dues with auto pay options,
  • ·         An online store can be made available to members and the public.

While the salient features are numerous setting the system up will take time and testing it could involve you if so desired. If you want to join the test group then please contact Khaled Kassis (Khaledkassis@yahoo.com) or Nader Kury (NKury@comcast.net).

"Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you"--Thomas Jefferson.

During the past 25 years, Birzeit Society has taken action on many fronts. With  the help of its members, the Society's support provided assistance to people, projects and programs. It is with pride that we continue to take action that makes a real difference in people's lives.  One of the National Board actions taken in recent months is the decision to invest in BIDE Inc.,  (Birzeit International Development Enterprise) which could, once fully operational, help resolve the land fragmentation issues and contribute to the Birzeiti land management  activities. 10,000 voting shares were purchased in March of 2013 and an additional proposal to purchase 13,000 voting shares was approved by the Board (and awaits final approval from paid members). Contact Suhail Kassis (SuhailK@hotmail.com ) for additional information and to receive the letter of intent to purchase your own shares.

"Unity is strength... when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved".--Mattie Stepanek
Birzeit Society's strength is manifest through the contributions of  its members and their continued participation in local chapter activities and events. Through this participation,  the culture is kept alive and the connections between individuals and their community stays active and strong.  Adopting this same approach and becoming active with the greater Palestinian community through a proposed coalition of Palestinian organizations could have a positive influence on the overall direction for human rights and justice in Palestine and the Palestinian people. Our strength as a Society could provide a positive influence when this  American-Palestinian coalition is formed. The possibility and ramification of our involvement and leadership in the creation of such a coalition and in setting the appropriate and applicable agenda will give an independent voice to our combined affiliation and efforts. Whether we join an existing coalition or help in the creation of one,  we must work together to give an independent and  unified voice to our combined interests.

Haitham Aranki (Haitham58@aol.com) and  George Khoury (Khouryga@yahoo.com) are leading this effort and are hopeful about their progress. With your help and participation, this coalition can define the common cause issues and lobby to affect the desired change.  

 

Nader Kury

National President

Nkury@comcast.net

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