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But Mr. Hazboun says effecting real change in the next generation will not happen overnight. This endeavor has only been underway for a short time.

“We have to be patient,” he says. “Investing in people takes time. But I am very optimistic about this. We have neglected this aspect for so long and leaders see we need to invest in it. Our youth are seeking a deeper meaning for their life. This will really provide the meaningful answer.”

For now, the scouts continue to gather on weekend evenings just steps from the birthplace of Jesus, as the square fills with sacred sounds from different faiths. On these evenings, for a short time, they come together in a common space, bringing varied histories and hopes.

They are learning who they are and where they come from, though they have yet to discover who they will become.

“The future of Palestinian youth is unknown for Christians and Muslims,” says Dr. Musallam. “The political situation can explode at any moment. And there is nothing anyone can promise them.”

But grounded in faith, Father Fawadleh and Joseph Hazboun believe, will inspire new ideas and new hopes.

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Born in Jerusalem, Samar Hazboun is a photojournalist who has served as a photo editor for Agence France Presse. Her work has appeared in El Pais Spanish, The Intercept, Al Jazeera and other publications.



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