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By Kristina Houck, Patch Staff Sep 21, 2020 | Patch.com

 

Hands of Peace​ is celebrating International Day of Peace​ Monday by welcoming its new executive director

 

SAN DIEGO, CAHands of Peace is celebrating International Day of Peace Monday by welcoming its new executive director.

Scott Rasmussen will lead the international nonprofit organization, which aims to empower young Americans, Israelis and Palestinians to raise their voices for change. Rasmussen, who most recently served as a diplomat with the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem, brings extensive peace-building skills and a keen understanding of the region to Hands of Peace.

“While I am new to the Hands of Peace family, the challenges and opportunities of our work are not new,” Rasmussen said. “I spent much of the last 10 years leading intercultural teams helping young people find their voice and facilitating opportunities for them to see the ‘other.'”

“Hands of Peace has facilitated that experience for young people for nearly two decades with summer programs in Chicago and San Diego, and alumni programs in Israel, Palestine and the U.S.,” he added. “And we will continue to provide that connection, along with the additional skills and networks necessary to create sustainable personal, community and global change.”

Rasmussen led people-to-people work with the U.S. Foreign Service for a decade. He managed foreign assistance grants, directed initiatives on Palestinian-Israeli cooperation, and formed public-private partnerships on research and economic development. One of those initiatives was the Hands of Peace/EcoPeace Middle East Project in 2018.

“Beyond his experience in the Middle East, Scott has worked in Washington D.C., Warsaw and Asmara as a foreign service officer, bringing people from different points of view together to come to consensus,” Hands of Peace board chair Peg Lee said. “That skill set is invaluable in our work, where the cultural, religious and geographical differences of our alumni, partners, staff and supporters in the United States and worldwide are one of our strongest assets.”

Rasmussen will take the lead to implement the Hands of Peace Reimagining project currently in process.

“How can we empower young leaders to serve in their communities with courage and compassion? How can young agents of change remain resilient even in the face of turbulence and challenge?” Rasmussen asked. “These are the tough questions being asked today, and a new vision will be unveiled before the end of the year.”