My Jerusalem – HUDA IMAM

When you meet Huda Al-Imam you don’t know if she belongs to Jerusalem or if Jerusalem belongs to her. Born in Jerusalem, it’s as if every corner of the city, every location belongs to Huda’s memories and future aspirations. Be it Sheikh Jarrah, her birthplace, or the Via Dolorosa’s Ecce Homo, her kindergarten, or Mamilla’s Museum of Tolerance – against which Huda lobbied for years to stop Israel from desecrating the heritage tombs of Jerusalemite families by building the museum on the cemetery – or even the Greek Colony Baqa’a, where the confiscated house of her father lies.

But the most beautiful experience is when you walk with Huda. Every person in the streets of Jerusalem salutes her with affection, and she talks to people as if they’re family, calling them habibi, rohi, albi.

Having lived in Martinique, where her son Hani was born, Paris, and London, Huda has embraced Jerusalem as her city. She obtained a master of management degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and she became the founding director of the Center for Jerusalem Studies at Al-Quds University, where she explored the city’s treasures and built sustainable cultural tourism projects for 17 years. As Huda explains, “My expertise and knowledge in the tourism sector in Jerusalem goes back to my childhood. My father was one of the main pioneers to develop tourism in Palestine and particularly in Jerusalem. Therefore, I understand the different elements and factors that must go into a strategic analysis of the tourism sector in East Jerusalem.”

Huda is involved in various projects and initiatives that aim to reinforce the role Jerusalem inevitably must play. She became a founding/board member of key institutions such as Al-Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art, The Jerusalem Link, the Palestinian Consultancy Group, People’s Peace Campaign, The Danish House in Palestine, Jerusalem Quarterly, and the Jerusalem Tourism Cluster. Huda works perpetually to promote, consolidate, and enhance the role and place of Jerusalem both locally and abroad.

When Palestinian movie directors recently approached Huda, life took a new turn. She took on acting roles in Degrade and in Ave Maria, which was nominated for an Oscar.

Everyone associates Huda with Jerusalem and Jerusalem with Huda. Her beauty, charm, strength, and grace add to the many memories attached to the Holy City.