About Rawabi City: Rawabi is a new city for Palestinian families that will provide opportunities for affordable home ownership, employment, education, leisure and an attractive environment in which to live, work and grow. Bashar Masri, the person behind the initiative, is a strong personal believer in freedom of religion or belief as a fundamental right and encourages people of all faiths and backgrounds to work in Rawabi. Palestinian Muslims, Christians, Samaritans and others from both Palestine and the diaspora are welcomed to work in Rawabi.
Nomination in Brief
Bashar Masri is the driving force behind Rawabi City, the first planned Palestinian city and the largest private sector project in the country’s history. Challenging negative stereotypes, Rawabi is creating peace and a home for all. Palestinian Muslims, Christians, Samaritans and others from across the world are finding a place together in Rawabi.
Read Bashar-Masri-2018-Nomination form (Word Doc)
Bashar Masri, named by the World Economic Forum as a “Global Leader of Tomorrow”, is one of the most prominent figures in the development of the Palestinian private sector. Born in Nablus, Palestine, Masri has gone from throwing stones as a young teenager to dedicating his life to creating new Palestinian businesses in the fields of journalism, financial services, communications, advertising, and information technology. Masri is the founder and chair of Massar International, a company with a global portfolio of more than 30 successful subsidiaries and investments. Masri is the creator of “Rawabi City,” the first Palestinian planned city and the largest private sector project in the country’s history. This city is being lauded as the cornerstone of a new, modern and viable Palestinian society. Masri also founded and manages Palestine’s first private equity fund, the Siraj Palestine Fund, a $90 million investment initiative created to invigorate Palestinian business. Masri serves on the boards of a number of companies and philanthropic organizations, including the Board of Directors of the Palestine Development and Investment Company and the Board of Trustees of An-Najah National University. Masri is a member of the Deans’ Council of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy’s School of Government.
Rawabi has challenged the stereotype that only hatred, racism, sectarianism and terror comes out from the Middle East by striving to make the city a home for all Palestinians, regardless of their religion, political affiliations or lifestyle. Rawabi has empowered women in both the workplace and community, with nearly half its workforce being female, including in senior positions. Rawabi is a home for people all faiths. While Palestinian Christians make up around 3% of Palestinians in the West Bank, they make up some 10% of the population of Rawabi. In 2013, the Patriarch of Jerusalem blessed the cornerstone of Rawabi’s first Church. Masri has invited the Samaritans to build a synagogue in Rawabi. For his efforts, Masri has been awarded the Samaritan Medal for peace and humanitarian achievements.
Bashar Masri is the creator and driving force behind Rawabi City. Rawabi is the first planned Palestinian city and the largest private sector project in the country’s history. Rawabi is both a symbol and foundation of a modern, progressive and viable Palestinian society, serving as a key driver of sustainable economic growth for the country. Masri hopes that Rawabi will provide an alternative to the violence and divides that have plagued the region by providing Palestinians with new housing, jobs and a community in which to thrive. Rawabi has proven a solution to Palestine’s acute housing shortage, providing new, modern housing for up to 40,000 people. Meanwhile, in a country where overall unemployment stands at 27% and youth unemployment at over 40%, Rawabi has been key to providing thousands of Palestinians with jobs. Rawabi is the largest private sector employer in Palestine, generating some 7,000-10,000 jobs in its construction, while the city’s development as a tech hub is expected to create up to 5,000 permanent jobs for the country. Investment in Rawabi will ultimately exceed $1.4 billion USD.
Masri guarantees equal employment opportunities for people of all faiths and does not make any religious checks on applicants. Masri actively encourages and supports his employees to be comfortable in their beliefs in the workplace. Masri gives Muslims, Christians and others fully paid holidays for major religious events and sends them well wishes. There is no strict dress code in Rawabi, so that people have the freedom to dress appropriately for their religion if required. During Christmas, the whole of Rawabi is decorated for the festive period, as means of celebrating the diversity of Rawabi as both a workplace and place to live.
- Maha Sheikh Yasin
- Public Relations Officer
- Rawabi Foundation