Meet Areej Masoud - Passionate to Speak on Behalf of Her People
Areej Masoud is a Syriac Orthodox Christian (read more about Syriac) born in Bethlehem, Palestine where she still lives, only few minutes away from Jesus’ birth place. She studied Religious Studies and Psychology at Bethlehem University and wrote her dissertation on Zionism and the Kairos Palestine Document. Since then she has become passionate about speaking up on behalf of her people to introduce the world to a part of their story hidden from the media – the reality!
Currently, Areej works as the Development and Communications Department Coordinator at Bethlehem Bible College, joining the BethBC team in 2016. Areej says: “God called me to work at Bethlehem Bible College when I was least expecting it to happen! And I’m very pleased to be working in the field of Development and Communications, a field I am very passionate about.” Areej continues, “When we communicate with people and see their love for the College, their commitment and generosity, this makes me feel very blessed and assures me that I’m in the right place.”
Areej started working at Bethlehem Bible College without any hesitation, as her father was involved at the College many years ago when he directed the Media Department. So for Areej, going to work there feels like going home. She emphasizes how much she appreciates the atmosphere at the College; even though the College has many staff and faculty, yet everyone is close to each other and there is a connection that no one can explain. This makes work more enjoyable and much more productive.
At a young age, Areej had various job experiences – she worked at the Kairos Palestine Movement as the Communication and Administrator Officer, before that she worked as an Executive Administrator and even taught Biblical Studies to various ages including high school students. These various job experiences exposed Areej to the community and their needs, especially when working with young people. Areej saw her students’ needs and heard what they were unable to put into words: their cry because of the reality they are living in as they live under occupation. This made it a priority to Areej to engage this issue through her speaking. Areej explains the struggle, “When you are born a Palestinian you are living within a challenging context. Your religion and your identity matter, and they should highlight your responsibility towards justice within the political reality. Unfortunately for some, it’s hard to make this connection between the responsibility of one’s faith and the injustices we are going through as Palestinians. Therefore, many Palestinians give up their beliefs or their identity, or even both!” She adds to this, “I personally had the same challenge, but I was able to put my personal challenge into words, ‘What about the younger generations? What about the people who cannot do the same?’”
To address the issue, Areej hosted many workshops for her students while she was teaching to educate them and help them encounter the challenge. She has also been part of local workshops related to the same matter and has spoke at local conferences, such at the Christ at the Checkpoint 5 Conference that took place this May, 2018 (watch video). Areej has spoken with many international groups visiting Bethlehem, and has been on several speaking tours including as International Peacemaker through the Presbyterian Church USA. She spoke at the United Methodist General Conference USA and has toured in California with the United Methodist Kairos Response.