Vera Baboun

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Vera Baboun
Vera Baboun portrait.jpg
Mayor of Bethlehem
Assumed office
October 2012
Preceded by Victor Batarseh
Personal details
Born (1964-10-06) October 6, 1964 (age 52)
Nationality Palestinian
Political party Fatah
Children 5
Alma mater Bethlehem University Hebrew University
Religion Roman Catholicism[1]

Vera George Mousa Baboun (Arabic: فيرا جورج موسى بابون, born October 6, 1963) is a Palestinian politician and the first female mayor of Bethlehem.[1][2] Baboun has a master's degree in African-American literature.[3] Prior to her election, she was headmistress of the Roman Catholic High School in Beit Sahour[3] and was an English literature lecturer at Bethlehem University,[4][5] where she was also the dean of student affairs.[5] Additionally, she is the chairperson of the Board of Directors for Guidance and Training Centre for Family and Children[3][5] as well as a gender studies researcher looking at the role of information technology in empowering women in the Arab world.[3][4][5] At the time of her election, she was a Ph.D. candidate in Arab-American women’s literature.[3][5] Baboun is the mother of five children.[2] She is an Arab Christian[1][6] who Die Welt has noted for her striking green eyes and ambition.[6]

Political career[edit]

2012 Bethlehem mayoral election[edit]

Baboun led the Independence and Development bloc,[7] made up of 12 Muslims and Christians in the Fatah movement campaigning to improve services and promote the tourism potential of Bethlehem.[4] Her bloc was described generally as professionals and technocrats by Al-Ghad.[8] Few expected Baboun to win. She ran against well-known male candidates as well as individuals supported by Islamists and left-wing Palestinians.[2] By 12 Oct 2012, Fatah was leading polling by AWRAD research centre at 49%.[9] Her bloc won the election on 20 Oct 2012[2] and Baboun was officially chosen as mayor in a closed session of the Bethlehem Municipal Council by the nine council members of her bloc who were popularly elected. Her opponents got six seats on the council.[10]

Mayor of Bethlehem[edit]

As mayor, Baboun presides over a city with the highest unemployment in the West Bank. Bethlehem has a changing demographic, due to an outflux of the Christian population. She cites the presence of the Israeli West Bank barrier as an obstacle to growth by restricting the movement of people, ideas and goods.[1][11] Of Bethlehem she states, "We are a strangulated city, with no room for expansion due to the settlements and the wall."[11] She hopes to stop the flow of emigration by creating job opportunities for young people. She also hopes to regain international support lost while Hamas was in power.[12][13]

External links[edit]

  • A Female Mayor in the Heart of Middle East , 2016 Article in Asian News [14]
  • GRACE researcher, Vera Baboun: First Female Mayor of Bethlehem [15]
  • Grass-Roots Governing in Bethlehem: A talk with Mayor Vera Baboun [16]
  • Palestinian women are very progressive, 2016 Article on TechnoTimes [17]
  • Can cities be feminist? Inside the global rise of female mayors, 2016 article on The Guardian [18]
  • Bethlehem Has New Female Mayor, Same Old Problems', 2012 article in Al-Monitor [19]


  1. ^ a b c d Bohn, Lauren E. (22 Dec 2012). "New female mayor gears Bethlehem up for Christmas". Associated Press. Retrieved 25 Dec 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d Kuttab, Daoud (23 Dec 2012). "Bethlehem Has New Female Mayor, Yet Same Old Problems". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 25 Dec 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Female candidate tops list to become mayor of Bethlehem". Ma'an News Agency. 29 Sep 2012. Retrieved 25 Dec 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c Abdalla, Jihan (14 Oct 2012). "Palestinian women look to Bethlehem where Vera Baboun is running for mayor". Reuters. Retrieved 2012-12-25. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "VERA BABOUN Researcher, Palestine". Grace Network. Retrieved 25 Dec 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "Eine Frau für Bethlehem". Die Welt (in German). 12 Dec 2012. Retrieved 25 Dec 2012. Die Palästinenserin mit den markanten grünen Augen hat sich einiges vorgenommen. 
  7. ^ "Bethlehem ballot 22 Oct 2012" (PDF). Al-Ayyam. 22 Oct 2012. Retrieved 25 Dec 2012. كتلة االستقالل و التنمية فيرا جورج موسى بابون 
  8. ^ "فيرا بابون أول امرأة فلسطينية تصبح عمدة بيت لحم". Al-Ghad (in Arabic). Retrieved 25 Dec 2012. 
  9. ^ "WEST BANK: Vera Baboun is campaigning to become the first female mayor of the city of Bethlehem". ITN. 12 Oct 2012. Retrieved 25 Dec 2012. 
  10. ^ "فيرا بابون .. أول امرأة تتولى رئاسة بلدية بيت لحم". Al-Quds (in Arabic). 13 Nov 2012. Retrieved 25 Dec 2012. 
  11. ^ a b Sherwood, Harriet (22 Dec 2012). "Bethlehem Christians feel the squeeze as Israeli settlements spread". The Observer. Retrieved 25 Dec 2012. We are a strangulated city, with no room for expansion due to the settlements and the wall. 
  12. ^ "Video: Betlemme cerca rilancio ma resta il Muro". Nena News Agency (in Italian). 24 Dec 2012. Retrieved 25 Dec 2012. 
  13. ^ Mosoianu, Adrian (25 Dec 2012). "Cum se sarbatoreste Craciunul in "miezul fierbinte" al Islamului". Finantistii (in Romanian). Retrieved 25 Dec 2012. 
  14. ^ "A Female Mayor in the Heart of Middle East". THEAsiaN. 2016-09-14. Retrieved 2016-10-24. 
  15. ^ "GRACE researcher, Vera Baboun: First Female Mayor of Bethlehem | GRACE News Blog". Retrieved 2016-10-24. 
  16. ^ "Grass-Roots Governing in Bethlehem: A Talk with Mayor Vera Baboun". Middle East Institute. Retrieved 2016-10-24. 
  17. ^ ""Palestinian women are very progressive"". THEAsiaN. 2016-09-18. Retrieved 2016-10-24. 
  18. ^ Rustin, Susanna (2016-10-12). "Can cities be feminist? Inside the global rise of female mayors". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-10-24. 
  19. ^