Special and exclusive meeting for Nisaa FM with the representative of Poland in Palestine, Alexandra Bokowska, and Director of Nisaa Radio FM, Maysoun Odeh Gangat
The Polish representative office is one of 56 foreign representations in Palestine, and one of 39 foreign representations in Ramallah. Furthermore the Polish representative office in Ramallah is one of 306 Polish diplomatic and consular representations abroad.
Alexandra Bokowska is a diplomat and has been working in Palestine for 4 years. It is not decided if she is going to stay for one more year, but she wants to since she finds it a beautiful place and are enjoying being in Palestine.
She has worked hard to get where she is now and is juggling between being a career diplomatic woman and being a mother for her 1 year and 4 month old child.
Her professional career has always been centered on working in the ministry of foreign affairs dealing with the Middle East.
Which challenges are there?
Quoting Alexandra Bokowska; “Women have to try hard to prove themselves that they equally as good as men”. She continued; “Women are often better and they have to deal with a double track life, both with a professional life and also family life”.
It is easy to get the impression that the Middle East is the only place with discriminations against women and in Europe there is no problem with gender equality. She noted that there is still a gender gap not only in Palestine but also in Poland in terms of opportunities and economic participation. This would result in inequality in salaries, poor access to jobs and adding that this discrimination affects the political empowerment of women.
What is the role of the Polish Representative Office?
Quoting Alexandra Bokowska; “For me, it is important to connect Poland and Palestine on people to people”.
One of the major roles is to deal with political and economical relations with Palestine. Furthermore the Representative Office has a major focus on different project that can strengthen the Palestine, the Palestinian communities and the Palestinian people.
The project works in different sectors of the society, focusing on education, culture, development and so on.
The Polish ambassador was asked about the services provided by the Polish Representation Office in general and the level of women's empowerment in particular. She replied that there are many developmental services provided by the Representative Office, which supported nine projects that empower women and strengthen their leadership skills. It helps to empower them economically in cooperation with the Businesswomen's Forum and the Palestinian Businesswomen Association - Asala, believing that women must reach the level they deserve at these levels, and that women are effective and capable of changing society for the better.
The Representative Office also works to improve the travel opportunity for Palestinians. They are supporting both individuals and also groups who want to visit Poland, by having meetings with certain Palestinian leaders and arranging study tours.
More than 120.000 Polish tourists arrive in Palestine every year, especially to the city of Bethlehem, the cradle of heavenly religions, but the number of Palestinian tourists to Poland is still limited to individual visits. The Representative Office is holding seminars and introductory lectures in Poland, in addition to issuing pamphlets to introduce the Palestinians to their country.
The Peace process
When Alexandra Bokowska was asked with the theory of women can stop wars and lead peace, she responded; “I would hope so; the peace process is at the moment very difficult. But hope to see some outcome soon. I hope that women will be included in the process, because they see things from another perspective, they are in some ways less completive, they see the goal and the aim, but it is not necessary for them to prove they are more right”.
On the appointment of Undersecretary of the Ministry of Information Mahmoud Khalifa as the Ambassador of Palestine in Poland, the Polish Ambassador Alexandra Bokowska said that she is confident in the competence of the successor to his country's ambassador. He has many advantages besides his career. He studied in Poland and speaks fluent language and has many friends. Palestine is best represented.
The number of members of the Palestinian community in Poland is estimated at 800, mostly doctors (about 250), businessmen, engineers and technicians; small business owners, shops and restaurants, most of them living in major cities and provincial capitals, according to the Palestinian National Information Center – WAFA.