News  >  Blog

Global Communities’ Lana Abu-Hijleh Named One of the Top 100 Inspiring Women in the World of the Year 2015 by the BBC

Published 12/08/2015 by Global Communities

Silver Spring, MD –The BBC has named Global Communities’ West Bank/Gaza Country Director Lana Abu-Hijleh as one of the 100 most inspiring women in the world for 2015. Abu-Hijleh was selected for her role in development, humanitarian work and leadership in Palestine over the past 30 years. This is the third year of the BBC’s initiative to highlight inspiring women, which shares the stories of pioneering women advancing change in their communities. BBC’s selections this year included women from business, science, academia, politics, arts, social work and humanitarian assistance.

“I am honored to have been selected and to have the opportunity to share my story, because it represents the many women in Palestine whose families invested in ensuring they receive a good education,” Abu-Hijleh said in a BBC interview. “Despite the challenges that Palestinians face, especially Palestinian women, these women [used their education] to work in a variety of fields and succeeded in many areas, including areas that were previously dominated only by males.”

Abu-Hijleh is a longtime expert in Palestinian development. She has been working for the past 28 years with international development and humanitarian agencies in Palestine and the region. Since 2003, Lana has been the Country Director of Global Communities (formerly CHF International) for Palestine. She leads a team of 200 Palestinian and international professionals designing and implementing assistance programs focusing on economic revitalization, community and social infrastructure, democracy/governance, job creation, and food security in the West Bank and Gaza. Prior to her work with Global Communities, Lana served as the Deputy Resident Representative of the UNDP Program of Assistance to the Palestinian People for over 17 years.

Abu-Hijleh says she hopes that her story will not only inspire other women, but will also encourage them to serve the needs of their country. Speaking of her commitment to Palestine, she said, “I cannot leave here as long as my country needs me. I have never found a place more beautiful or with nicer people than Palestine, and despite the sometimes overwhelming challenges here, this is what motivates me and helps me move forward with a smile on the face.”

She added, “My dream is to keep working, and to keep inspiring other Palestinian women, and to see the day when today’s young bright women have gained the experience and knowledge to take over my role and the role of other Palestinian women in working for the good of Palestine.”

“I hope that my story will inspire young Palestinian and Arab women, and that it will motivate them to work hard, to have faith in their abilities, to overcome challenges, and to be active in any work in which they can excel. There are so many stories of success and inspiration,” she said.

You can view Abu Hijleh’s full interview in Arabic here, and with English subtitles here.

About Global Communities: Global Communities is an international non-profit organization founded in 1952 that works closely with communities worldwide to bring about sustainable changes that improve the lives and livelihoods of the vulnerable. Global Communities believes that the people who understand their needs best are the people of the community itself. Global Communities has worked in the West Bank and Gaza since 1994. Learn more at