A MAJOR US grant to Project Rozana, an NGO which originated in the Australian Jewish community, will see hundreds of Palestinian and Israeli nurses training together as part of a new project administered through the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
The $US2.35 million grant to Project Rozana will be used over three years to fund the establishment of a Palestinian-Israeli Specialist Nursing Hub comprising four Palestinian and four Israeli hospitals and promoting cross-border cooperation.
Ron Finkel, founder and chair of Project Rozana, said the grant reflects the commitment of the US Congress to peace-building in the Middle East. “It offers us the opportunity, on a significant scale, to move people forward positively, from fear and distrust, to hope, a commodity that has been in short supply for far too long in this region.”
Kenneth Bob, chair of Project Rozana USA, welcomed the grant, saying, “It is a significant example of the power of development funds to leverage capacity building and peace-building outcomes in the region.”
Professor Dame Anne Marie Rafferty, chair of the Project Rozana Nurses Committee, and immediate past president of the Royal College of Nursing (UK), said that “nurses are at the forefront of building health capacity globally. Doing it in a context where there is the added benefit of strengthening cross-border professional relationships, as planned by Project Rozana, is a significant bonus. Nurses are highly respected in their communities and positive influencers”.
Project Rozana Advisory Council member Martin Indyk – a former US Special Envoy for Middle East Peace and a former US ambassador to Israel, who grew up in Sydney – lauded the announcement.
He described it as a “powerful endorsement of Project Rozana’s peace-building efforts. These USAID funds are being deployed to strengthen essential, broad-based people-to-people engagements. This helps lay the foundation for sustainable peace-making”.
Named in honour of a young Palestinian girl whose life was saved by a team of Jewish and Arab medical professionals at Israel’s Hadassah Hospital, Project Rozana is an international NGO established in Australia in 2013.
Focusing on building better understanding between Israelis and Palestinians through health care, it has grown to become an international organisation with affiliates in the US, Canada, the UK, Germany and Israel.