Success stories of Palestinian achievers from all over the world

Georgette Rizk

Personal Info

  • Country of residence: Palestine
  • Gender: Female
  • Born in: 1925
  • Age: 98
  • Curriculum vitae :


Georgette Rizk (November 27, 1925 - March 16, 2018), her birth name was Georgette Youssef Al-Essa, and her nickname was Umm Johnny; She is a Palestinian Christian political, social, and feminist activist. She was born and raised in the Palestinian city of Tulkarm. She is considered one of the most prominent pioneers of the women’s movement in Palestine since 1948, and one of the most prominent figures in social work and the Palestinian national struggle. She is known as the “Pioneer of Palestinian Voluntary Work.” She is the founder of the first center in the Old City of Jerusalem in 1948.

her life
Georgette Youssef Al-Essa was born in the Palestinian city of Tulkarm on November 27, 1925, to a Palestinian Christian family. Her father worked as an inspector of pharmacists during the British Mandate, while her mother worked as a nurse in Palestinian hospitals.

Georgette received her primary education in schools in the city of Tulkarm; She studied at the historic “Al-Adawiya School” for girls in the city, and started her job at the age of twenty with the British Overseas Airways Corporation, which was based at the time in the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. On July 22, 1946, the hotel was bombed by the Zionist Irgun Organization as part of the events of the Jewish rebellion against the British government, which was based in the hotel. Exiting the hotel.

On August 17, 1947, Georgette married Dimitri Elia Rizk from Jaffa, and they had four children: Eileen, Johnny, George, and Mira.

In 1948, the Nakba occurred, and Georgette rushed to establish the first medical center in the Old City of Jerusalem, in the basement of the Roman Catholic Church, to provide emergency services and treat the injured. With the support of her mother, she succeeded in obtaining a license for the medical center from the Ministry of Health in 1950 after its location was moved and expanded, to become The passage of the years is one of the largest medical centers in terms of its comprehensiveness, as thousands of Palestinians have benefited from it. employment of Palestinian refugees. A group of doctors worked at the medical center, the most prominent of whom were Dr. Yaqoub Ziyadin, Dr. Subhi Ghosheh, Dr. Emil Jarjoui, and others. Today, the medical center includes more than 16 specialties, including medical treatment, dental treatment, health education, preventive medicine, first aid, nutritional education, childhood vaccinations, and many others.

In 1950, Georgette founded and chaired the Roman Catholic Charitable Society of Our Lady of the Annunciation. After the Naksa War in June 1967, Georgette led the protests of the Palestinian Arab Women's Union in Jerusalem against the Israeli occupation, and the Israeli army assaulted her and the participating women, and Israel issued deportation orders against them, before the orders were canceled at a later time.

In 1977, she founded a nursery school affiliated with the Roman Catholic Charitable Society of Our Lady of the Annunciation, and also established a student fund to help children in the Old City of Jerusalem continue their education.

Georgette has been a member of several associations for many years, including: the Orthodox Charity Bearers Association, the Board of Directors of the Young Women's Christian Association of Jerusalem, the Board of Trustees of Caritas Jerusalem, the Union of Charitable Associations in Jerusalem, the Arab Women's Union, and many others. She also represented Jerusalem and Palestine in several regional and international conferences.


Achievements and Awards

Medals and honors
In appreciation of her efforts in social and militant work, Georgette received a number of high international and local honors, including:

The Papal Medal for Excellence in Social Service, from the Pope at a special ceremony in the Vatican, 1982.
Medal of Saint Lazarus.
Order of the Roman Catholic Patriarchate.
In addition to a group of local Palestinian honours, she was honored on March 9, 2011 as part of the annual Distinguished Lady of Jerusalem Award.

her death
Georgette passed away on March 16, 2018 in the city of Jerusalem, at the age of about 92 years and three and a half months, after a long suffering with renal failure that continued since 2000. Her funeral was held on Sunday, March 18, 2018, in the presence of an official and popular Palestinian and international party from the Eliezer Church “The Encounter”. Melkite Roman Catholics in Beit Hanina, Jerusalem, to the Mount Zion Cemetery in Jerusalem, where she is buried.

The Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Sebastia, Atallah Hanna, mourned her, and a mourning house was opened for her in both the Melkite Greek Catholic Eliezer Church in Beit Hanina in Jerusalem, and the Roman Catholic Church in Ramallah for those who could not reach Jerusalem to offer condolences.



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