To imagine the impact the expanded Evangelical Lutheran School of Hope in Ramallah campus will have, one can look back on the lives of its graduates. Of particular interest to ELCA members may be the story of Ala Rasoul, a Palestinian Muslim and 1993 graduate of Hope.
After graduating from Hope, Rasoul went on to get his degree in computer engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Today he works in Chicago with the ELCA churchwide organization. Rasoul said he was first attracted to work there because he knew Lutherans and wanted to give back to the organization. “I remembered how well they treated me,” he said. “I never felt discriminated against, so naturally I wanted to work with them.”
“We know that in a society like this, there is a potential for extremism, and we need schools like this that can show that people can live together, and there is no better project against extremism than to build schools.”
After revisiting his old school in May, Rasoul had a chance to tour the new building while it was under construction. During his tour he was excited to see the location of phase two, which will be built adjacent to the main building, specifically for technology courses for secondary students and continuing education classes.
A recipient of merit scholarships, Rasoul describes his religious private school education as an opportunity that helped shape the course of his life.
He also recognizes that the school offers an opportunity of peace for the entire society: “I remember Bishop [Munib] Younan said, ‘The best way to build relations between societies and to fight extremism is to educate people.’ We know that in a society like this, there is a potential for extremism, and we need schools like this that can show that people can live together, and there is no better project against extremism than to build schools.”
Read the final installment of the series here at livinglutheran.org on Thursday, October 26.