Palestinian Leadership in Development: Managing Political and Economic Transition was a five-day Harvard executive training program administered by Harvard’s Middle East Initiative and held late August in Athens, Greece, at the state-of-the-art facilities of the Athens Information Technology institute (AIT). The program was supported by the Kokkalis Foundation and CCC-Consolidated Contractors Company International.
Led by faculty who are luminaries in their fields, the program was the first of a series of Harvard executive training programs intended for senior officials from the PNA and Palestinian NGO leadership and designed to improve participants' innovative analytical, leadership and management tools, critical for enhancing the understanding of the tasks of leadership in promoting reform. The mediating role of a Greek institution in the organization of one such program in Greece was of fundamental importance to the concretization of the initiative.
The twenty-five Palestinian representatives from senior government (from ministries of foreign affairs, finance, planning), elected officials, policymakers and their non-profit sector counterparts that completed the executive training program benefited from instruction and professional enrichment in four main fields: managing political and economic reform; building capacity for effective governance; crisis management; and new global trends in partnering between the public, civil society and private sector.
At the graduation ceremony that concluded the program, Kokkalis Foundation president Mr. Socrates Kokkalis stated that “Greece has a strategic advantage as a Western country with a tradition of good relations with the Arab world, and in today’s especially critical conjuncture it can, with adequate coordination with the initiatives of governmental as well as non-governmental organizations, play an important role in furthering the relations of the west with the Arab world, and a role in the undergoing Middle East peace process.
The vice-president of CCC Mr. Samer Khoury stated “we’re pleased by the opportunity to support a Harvard initiative that will strengthen the human capital and the efforts of the Palestinians, who, in cooperation with the international community, are building the pillars of an internationally recognized Palestinian state.”
(i) The executive training program represented a fundamental and timely effort towards building effective democratic governance and achieving peace and prosperity in the Middle East.