Building Bridges to Bethlehem



“Building Bridges - Reaching Friends”

In 2006 the Austrian section of the Universal Peace Federation in cooperation with the Palestinian community of Austria has invited young Palestinians aged 14 to 18 from East-Jerusalem for a summer recreation camp with members of the Austrian youth group HARP during the second week of July. They came from the Burj Al Luq Lug Social Centre in the old city of Jerusalem which is run by Dyala Husseini. The connection to this centre was made by a member of the Arabic chamber of commerce in Vienna.


This summer 11 young people from Bethlehem, selected by the Center for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation in Bethlehem (CCRR), will be invited together with two staff-members to stay for the two first weeks of July in Austria. The project will be organized in a cooperation of 5 organizations: Service for Peace Austria, CCRR – Bethlehem; Universal Peace Federation Austria (Föderation für Weltfrieden); Palestinian Community of Austria; Women Federation for World Peace Austria.


July 1st to 7th in Steyr: Bethlehem and Steyr are twin cities, and one of the goals is to build cooperation not just between municipalities but also among the citizens. This project will bring the youth from the two cities together in order to gain more knowledge of each other’s culture, more understanding of the history of the cities, as well as to look for and find common ground between the two cultures, to assist in raising awareness for values of peace and reconciliation between cultures and nations. Bethlehem is a City of Peace and this program is designed to strengthen this value and to help people to build peace inside themselves and with others.

The Bethlehem group will stay with local families in Steyr. It will be the last week of the school year in Steyr. So there will be time to workshops and activities together with local students and schools. The Mayor of Steyr will organize a special reception for the group on July 3rd in the city hall.

Project coordinator in Steyr:

Mag. Maria Pammer, Local representative of UPF-Austria
Marsstrasse 21, 4400 Steyr, Austria ; Tel.: +43 (0) 7252 41607 ; 


July 8th to 14th in Vienna and Seebenstein: Before going to Seebenstein the group will have a day of sightseeing in Vienna. There will also be a chance to meet and introduce themselves to members and friends of the organizing groups. Later in the week there is a plan for another day in Vienna which would include a visit to the UN.

The convention house in Seebenstein is situated on a hill in a little town in Lower Austria, south of Vienna surrounded by a beautiful landscape. It offers a large dining room, a kitchen, recreation rooms, bathrooms and guest rooms. Nature will contribute to an atmosphere of tranquility and will provide the participants with plenty of space for recreation activities.

In addition to the guests from Bethlehem 15-20 young Austrians, selected carefully by “Service for Peace Austria”, will participate in the 2nd week’s program.

Project coordinator in Vienna and Seebenstein:

Ernestine Loos, Service for Peace
Seidengasse 32, 1070 Wien, Austria ; Tel.: +43 (0) 6991 9231258 ; 
Dr. Wolfgang Czerny, Service for Peace
Peter Haider, Föderation für Weltfrieden

The Project’s Aims

  • To facilitate intercultural dialogue and understanding.
  • To offer Palestinian and Austrian youth the possibility to learn about each other’s culture, religion and way of life.
  • To foster understanding of the social and political systems in the two nations, and discover the different understandings of ‘democracy’.
  • To learn about the values of peace and reconciliation and have training on conflict resolution.
  • To foster a youth culture of service as a building block for reconciliation and lasting peace.
  • To provide fun activities like sports, hiking, drama and sightseeing as part of the program.
  • To build lasting friendships between the youth from Bethlehem and Austria.


CCRR – Center for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation 
Director Noah Salameh
P.O.Box 861, Bethlehem- Palestine
Tel: +972-2-2767745

UPF – Austria (Föderation für Weltfrieden)
Director Peter Haider
Seidengasse 28, 1070 Wien Austria
Tel.: +43 (0) 650 258-8846
Service for Peace – Austria
(Einsatz für eine Kultur des Friedens)
Project Manager Ernestine Loos

Palestinian Community of Austria
Dr. George Nicola and Amineh Palecek
Kegelgasse 25, 1030 Wien Austria

WFWP – Women Federation for World Peace Austria
Vice President
Elisabeth Riedl


We are in the process of approaching more partners.


We ask for donations towards the project to this account:

Name: “Service for Peace” - Nr.: 287 575 002 00 - Erste Bank (Code 20111)

Purpose: “Building Bridges to Bethlehem



NGO in Special Consultative Status with the ECOSOC of the United Nations


Seidengasse 28/4, A 1070 Wien, Austria; Tel: 0650/2588846; E-Mail: