The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

PBPL 85 visits the Jerusalem offices of the World Bank

Sarah Ogren, Bob Klingenberger, and Caroline Estill

Sarah Ogren, Bob Klingenberger, and Caroline Estill outside of the Jerusalem offices of the World Bank.

PBPL 85 participants take notes

PBPL 85 participants take notes while listening to Steen Jorgensen at the Jerusalem offices of the World Bank.

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Wednesday, Dec 9th was a busy day with five separate meetings and a border crossing! After breakfast in our hotel, the class met with our first speaker Anshel Pfeffer, a journalist for both the Economist and Haaretz. His perspective was useful because, Pfeffer is generally tasked with both explaining Israel to the world and explaining the world to Israel. Then, we were able to Skype with Ahmad ‘Azem Hamad, a professor of Palestine and Arabic studies at Birzeit University. He provided an interesting lens into the Palestinian student perspective. After the Skype call, we were able to head to the nearby market for lunch, where we sampled a traditional Syrian dish.

Then, we departed the hotel and headed to the World Bank in Jerusalem. At the World Bank, we had the opportunity to meet with Steen Jorgenson, the Country Director for the Middle East and North Africa. Jorgenson offered insight into the Palestinian economic situation using research that the World Bank has conducted and his own experiences. Upon leaving the World Bank, we rushed back to our hotel in Jerusalem for a Skype meeting with Sam Bahour, the Managing Director of Applied Information Management and an active proponent of business development amongst Palestinians. Bahour is a Palestinian-American who currently lives in Ramallah. During our conversation, Bahour took the time to explain the complicated Palestinian ID system by playing show and tell with his ID cards. Once the meeting was concluded, we checked out of our Jerusalem hotel, checked to make sure that we had the exact 181 NIS to cross the border, and boarded the bus to head to Jordan.

We drove for about an hour during a beautiful sunset and listened to Israeli Reggae music (courtesy of our tour guide) as well as some Frozen music. Once we arrived at the border crossing, the process was pretty quick and we boarded another bus on the Jordanian side. We drove straight to the hotel to get dinner and prepare for our next meeting. We ate dinner at the hotel and in addition to good food, many laughs were shared by all at dinner. After eating, we met with Mary Nazzal-Betayneh, the Deputy Chairperson of the Landmark Hotel of Amman as well as co-founder and Chair of the Palestine Legal Aid Fund (PLAF). Nazzal-Betayneh offered an interesting and useful perspective regarding the Jordan BDS movement. Tomorrow, we can’t wait to explore Jordan.

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