Archbishop Elias Chacour
From May 4-6, 2006, the special guest for The Cairo Lectures was HE Elias Chacour, Archbishop of Galilee, renowned “Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation” and Nobel Peace Prize nominee for his outstanding work of reconciliation between Palestinians, Israeli Jews, Druze, Christians and Muslims.
Elias Chacour, the Melkite Archbishop of Galilee, was born in the village of Biram in Upper Galilee in Arab Palestine, to a Palestinian Christian family. At the age of eight years, he experienced the tragedy of his people. He was evicted, along with his whole village, by the Israeli authorities and became a deportee and a refugee in his own country, the Palestine of his birth. Because he remained in the country of his forefathers, he was granted citizenship of Israel when the state of Israel was created in 1948.
As a young priest in the village of Ibillin, Galilee, he had a vision of a school for all the children of Israel –Christians, Muslims, Druze, Palestinians and Israelis. Today, this vision has become a reality in the Mar Elias Educational Institutions that has nearly 4,000 students from kindergarten through to university, serving Palestinians, Israelis, Christians, Muslims, Jews, and Druze students who learn together with the goal of building peace in the Middle East.
Elias Chacour has become a global ambassador for peace and reconciliation, not only speaking on, but also living, the Sermon on the Mount. Many international groups and institutions have honored Elias Chacour for his outstanding work of reconciliation and peace. He has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize on three occasions. Other awards he has received are the prestigious World Methodist Peace Award (presented in the past to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and the late Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat), the Japanese Niwano Buddhist Peace Prize award, the Italian Dante Alighieri Human Rights Award, and the Mediterranean Peace Award. He has also received numerous honorary doctorates, including those from Emory University and University of Indianapolis. He is the author of two best-selling books, Blood Brothers and We Belong to the Land.
Archbishop Chacour’s speaking schedule for The Cairo Lectures entailed the following:
A lecture at the American University of Cairo (AUC)—sponsored by the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Title of Lecture: “The Future of Palestine—A Way Forward: A look a some of the sociopolitical issues and where they may lead”
A presentation to the high school students and faculty at the Cairo American College/Maadi.
THE CAIRO LECTURE at St. John’s Church--Title of Lecture: “Blood Brothers: Living the Haunting Words of the Man from Galilee—“Blessed are the Peacemakers”.