The Start of Something…
On July 13, 2011, our co-founder, Guy Benintendi met with a professor at An-Najah University in Nablus, to discuss the possibility of forming a sister city alliance. Guy, a retired psychotherapist, was in Palestine on a human rights delegation. Excited by the prospect of twinning their communities in a friendship relationship, the two met again the following day and Saed, the professor, introduced Guy to the mayor of Nablus at the time, Adly Yaish. This meeting resulted in the mayor inviting the city of Boulder to join with Nablus in a sister city relationship. Thus began the Boulder-Nablus Sister City Project!
Once home, Guy paired up with long-time friend, Essrea Cherin, and the two began informing the community of their intentions. After garnering a presence in the press through radio interviews and a front-page story in the Boulder Daily Camera, the inaugural meeting (with an outstanding attendance of over 50 people) was held on September 6, 2011 that was catered by Arabesque, a restaurant owned and operated by supporters.
Since this meeting BNSCP has progressed steadily towards it’s goal of facilitating lasting bonds of friendship between citizens of Boulder and citizens of Nablus.
- Boulder mayor Susan Osborne sent a letter of goodwill and support to the mayor of Nablus that outlined the necessary steps to gain city council approval.
- The Boulder Daily Camera published a second front-page story that highlighted the 2011 delegation to Nablus.
- Facilitated several educational workshops, in collaboration with the CU Center for Asian Studies; topics included Arab history, Palestinian culture, dancing, cuisine, politics and religion, and the significance of water for the future of the Middle East.
- A second delegation arrived in Nablus on April 30th, 2012 and spent two weeks meeting with civic organizations and furthering connections that were laid during the first delegation.
- Collaborated on a multitude of efforts including with Give Back Yoga to bring yoga to Nablus, a Trauma Recovery for Families initiative, and a rock climbing wall for children
- Held talks and presentations at the United Nations Association Boulder, Boulder Public Library, the Optimist Club, the Boulder Islamic Center, Spiritkeepers Interfaith Fellowship, and many churches and other civic organizations.
- BNSCP had a table at multiple festivals and events in Boulder such as the Boulder Creek Festival and the Boulder Hometown Festival.
- Facilitated a monthly film series called Palestinian Lives. Several films have been screened including Slingshot Hip Hop, Until When, Salt of the Sea, Budrus, and the academy award nominated documentary 5 Broken Cameras.
- Gained recognition as a 501(c)3 charitable organization in 2012.
- Connecting school students with their counterparts in Nablus and fostering student-to-student pen pal relationships.
- Sending members to volunteer with Project Hope, teaching a variety of classes to Nabulsi children.
- Supporting three dozen non-profit organizations throughout Nablus who support and serve the neediest and most underprivileged populations by donating indestructible soccer (futbol) balls.
- Helping to furnish and equip a senior center.
- Collaborating with An Najah University professors with Fulbright programs.