Glasgow's Lord Provost Sadie Docherty departs for Bethlehem tomorrow (Friday) on a twinning visit to promote joint health and wellbeing partnerships and projects.
It will be the first time the city's Lord Provost has made an official visit to Bethlehem since a twinning agreement was signed in 2007. She will lead a small Glasgow delegation on a tour of educational, cultural, health and welfare projects.
The Lord Provost said: "I'm looking forward to meeting up with Mayor Vera Baboun following her visit to Glasgow last year. My trip will take in a variety of projects focusing on health and wellbeing. Their purpose, to strengthen the bonds between our people, encourage greater co-operation, deepen understanding and foster the improved health and wellbeing of our citizens.
"I'm proud, in this spirit of friendship and international co-operation to journey to Bethlehem and lend my support to these vital projects that demonstrate so well, the value of twinning relationships."
During her four day stay the Lord Provost will visit Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem Guidance and Training Center and Bethlehem University where she will meet students and witness the launch of a collaborative Post-Graduate Cancer Nurse Diploma.
The diploma's launch in Palestine is the culmination of five years of partnership working by Glasgow Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist, Gerry O'Hare, who is part of the Bethlehem delegation, and the Dean of Nursing at Bethlehem University, Mariam Awad.
It is supported by Medical Aid for Palestine, the Palestinian Ministry of Health, Bethlehem University and Greater Glasgow & Clyde.
Gerry O'Hare said: "I've been developing cancer nurse education links between Glasgow and Bethlehem for the last five years culminating in the launch of this post graduate cancer nurse diploma.
"It has involved teaching visits to Bethlehem by NHSGGC clinicians and clinical placements for Palestinian cancer nurses in Glasgow hospitals.
"It's anticipated that this close working of a number of partners, charities and government agencies will result in significant improvements in cancer nurse practice and patients' cancer experiences and outcomes.
It complements parallel work in the field of psychological and mental health service delivery in Bethlehem led by Fergal Doherty, Principal Psychologist with Glasgow City Council's Education Services and Stephen McLeod, Head of GGC's Specialist Children's Services.
They are developing a curriculum for the professional development of staff working with children, young people and families across Palestine, assisted by academics from Glasgow and Dundee Universities.
Both projects are also being financially supported by Glasgow City Council.
Fergal Doherty said: "This will be my third time in Bethlehem and it's proving really exciting and worthwhile. While our citizens are from different countries the effects of, for example, trauma are similar.
"Whilst the level of trauma experienced by the children and young people of Palestine is of a different magnitude nonetheless it is giving us a valuable insight into how to address trauma at home.
"That coupled with the input from our university colleagues is helping inform us in drawing up a relevant programme of applied child psychology to help Glaswegians at home and Palestinians abroad."
Glasgow is twinned with seven other cities spanning three continents: Havana in Cuba, Marseille in France, Lahore in Pakistan, Dalian in China, Nuremberg in Germany, Rostov in Russia and Turin in Italy.