MUSCATINE, Iowa–An active advocate for international cooperation and understanding, Muscatine Community College professor John Dabeet has dedicated himself to numerous causes over the years. For his many contributions to the field, and his work to promote positive relations between his home country of Palestine and other nations, John Dabeet received the 2020 Palestinian Person of the Year award from the Palestinian Lady of the Earth Foundation. Dabeet shares this honor with the President of Algeria Abdelmadjid Tebboune.
Since joining Sister Cities International and helping to run Muscatine’s chapter (which he currently serves as president) Dabeet has found many opportunities to promote international understanding. Over the years, Dabeet served as a visiting professor at Alquds College in Amman, Jordan; Bir-Zeit University in Palestine; Moscow State University in Russia; Vista University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa; and Drohbych University in Ukraine.
Two years ago, Dabeet joined the Sister Cities International Honorary Board in Washington D. C. where he represents Palestine. He shared, “due to my involvement with Sister Cities and because I was the first Iowan to serve on the committee, it opened a lot of doors to a lot of opportunities.”
From March 2019 through December, Dabeet assisted now president Joe Biden’s advisors on international affairs. He assisted recently confirmed Secretary of State Antony Blinken and others with writing foreign policy. Along with his foreign policy work, Dabeet continues to serve as the Vice President of the US Palestine Council.
Upon learning that he would receive the Palestinian Person of the Year award, Dabeet felt both humbled and driven to do more to promote international understanding and cooperation. “I don’t do my work expecting an award–I do my work because I believe in it,” he said: “I hope something like that will push me to work even harder to inspire future leaders. That’s always my intent, is to get new people involved and to start seeing their role in making a difference.”
The Palestinian Lady of the Earth Foundation plans to present Dabeet with a plaque commemorating his achievements. Because of the difficulty of international travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dabeet’s brother, Jalal Dabeet, who lives in Palestine, will accept the award on his behalf.