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September 18, 2020 – Most recently a diplomat with the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem, Scott Rasmussen, is the new Executive Director of Hands of Peace, an international non-profit organization that empowers young Americans, Israelis, and Palestinians to raise their voices for change. Officially starting on International Peace Day on Monday, September 21st, Rasmussen brings extensive peacebuilding 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. I spent much of the last ten years leading intercultural teams helping young people find their voice and facilitating opportunities for them to see the “other,” said Rasmussen. “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. And we will continue to provide that connection, along with the additional skills and networks necessary to create sustainable personal, community, and global change.”

From 2009-2019, Rasmussen led people-to-people work with the U.S. Foreign Service. In his two years of service in Jerusalem, Scott advocated strong relations and continued engagement with youth, even through periods of disruptive political change. Scott 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,” said Peg Lee, Hands of Peace Board Chair. “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?” said Rasmussen. “These are the tough questions being asked today, and a new vision will be unveiled before the end of the year.”