Global Palestine Connected Gaza

A Palestinian Vision for Turning Challenges into Opportunities in Gaza by 2050

Imagine what Gaza could be as an essential part of the State of Palestine with its amazing potential: a rich cultural and trading history, a beautiful Mediterranean coastline and the entrepreneurial spirit of its resilient population.  How might the limited space in Gaza be transformed in such a way as to make it a gateway for Palestine to the rest of the world and provide a sustainable environment for its growing population in the decades to come?

An emerging group of Palestinian private sector leaders and international experts present a powerful long-term spatial vision for Gaza and discuss catalytic projects for the short and medium term.



Zaha Hassan, Esq.
Middle East Fellow, New America

Panel 1: The Initiative

  • Why did the private sector take on this initiative?
  • What is the vision for Gaza?
  • Can major projects like those proposed be done in Gaza and what are the enablers?

Nafez Husseini
Vice President, ICT & Digital Business, Consolidated Contractors Company

Christopher Choa
Director, Cities and Urban Development, AECOM

Zahi Khouri
CEO, National Beverage Company, Coca-Cola Palestine

Panel 2: Implementation Challenges

  • What are the challenges to and what possibilities exist for implementing the initiative at the political level
  • Is Palestine's financial services sector ready to engage and what banking infrastructure is there to support the initiative's execution?

Dr. Ziad Abu Amr
Deputy Prime Minister, State of Palestine

Azzam Shawa
Governor and Chairman, Palestine Monetary Authority

Closing: Why Gaza can't wait: a view from the Palestinian diaspora

George R. Salem, Esq.
DLA Piper

Speaker Bios

Ziad Abu Amr is the Deputy Prime Minister of the State of Palestine. Dr. Abu Amr has been elected twice to the Palestinian Legislative Council representing Gaza. Previously, he served as Minister of Culture and Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Palestinian government.  He holds a PhD in Government from Georgetown University and was a professor of Political Science at Birzeit University between the years 1985 and 2000. Dr. Abu Amr specializes in Palestinian affairs and has published a number of books and studies in both Arabic and English.

Christopher Choa is Principal with AECOM, the international land development and infrastructure consultancy. Mr. Choa focuses on urban regeneration and enhancing regional competitiveness. A prize-winning architect, a graduate of both Harvard and Yale, and a native New Yorker, he is based in London and leads the firm’s urban development studio.

Nafez Husseini is the Vice President for ICT & Digital Business at the Greece-based Consolidated Contractors Company, a multi-billion dollar engineering group and the largest construction company in the Middle East. Mr. Husseini is very active in promoting knowledge-based economies and was instrumental in helping to found the Palestine Education Initiative. He also serves on the boards of a number of international and Palestinian non-governmental organizations such as the Middle East Investment Initiative, the Partners for Sustainable Development (PSD), the ArabAmericare Foundation, and advises the Education For Employment Palestinian Chapter and Know Thy Heritage initiative. A native of Jerusalem, Mr. Husseini holds a Bachelor's degree from the American University of Beirut and a Master's from California State University - Sacramento specializing in Management and Information Technology.

Zahi Khouri is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Palestinian National Beverage Company (NBC), which holds the bottling license for Coca-Cola in Palestine. Mr. Khouri also holds a number of executive positions and board memberships including: Chairman of the Palestine Tourism and Investment Company (PTIC), Palestine Development and Investment Company (PADICO), Jacir Palace Intercontinental in Bethlehem, and Intram Investments, Inc. in Orlando, Florida. Mr. Khouri was also an Executive Board Member of the Olayan Group in Saudi Arabia and New York for over 20 years.  Mr. Khouri also holds a number of civic positions, including Chairman of the NGO Development Center (NDC) in Jerusalem, the Palestine Business Committee for Peace and Reform (PBCPR) in Washington, the Carter Center Advisory Body in Palestine and Chairman of the Palestine chapter of Partners for New Beginning.  Mr. Khouri received an MBA from the European Institute of Business Administration (INSEAD) in Fontainebleau, France and an M.Sc. in Engineering from the TechnischeHochschule Stuttgart in Germany.

George R. Salem serves as Strategic Advisor with DLA Piper, where he is focused on assisting in the development of DLA Piper's Middle East and US Department of Labor practices. He was named by The National Law Journal as one of the top 26 labor lawyers in the United States. From 1985-89 he served as Solicitor of Labor, the U.S. Department of Labor’s chief legal officer. He is the first Palestinian Arab American to have been nominated by a President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Salem played key roles in the campaigns of Presidents Ronald Reagan, George Bush and George W. Bush. He chairs the Arab American Institute, which he co-founded in 1985, and is past chairman of the National Association of Arab Americans. In 1992 Salem received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, presented annually to Americans of diverse origins for outstanding contributions to their own ethnic groups and to American society.