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Leila Sansour

Influential filmmaker, activist for Bethlehem’s heritage and Palestinian rights.

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Date of Birth:



Moscow, Russia

Place of Birth:

Why Featured?

  • Founder and CEO of Open Bethlehem, a foundation promoting Bethlehem's heritage.

  • Acclaimed for her documentary film “Jeremy Hardy versus the Israeli Army.”

  • Documented the impact of the wall on Bethlehem over six years.

  • Advocated for Palestinian rights and Bethlehem’s cultural heritage on international platforms.

  • Involved in grassroots movements and global campaigns for Palestinian issues.

Brief bio

Leila Sansour is an acclaimed Palestinian filmmaker and the founder of Open Bethlehem. She is known for her influential documentaries and activism in promoting Palestinian heritage and addressing critical issues faced by Palestinians, particularly in Bethlehem. Her work has been pivotal in raising international awareness and support for Palestinian rights.

Major Milestones


  • 2005: Became the first recipient of the Bethlehem passport from Pope Benedict XVI.

  • 2014: Release of her notable documentary "Open Bethlehem."

  • Screened "Open Bethlehem" at prestigious universities, including Harvard and MIT.

  • 2014: "Open Bethlehem" received global recognition and acclaim.

  • Advocated for the destruction of the wall impacting Bethlehem and its residents.

  • Directed and produced the influential documentary "Jeremy Hardy versus the Israeli Army."..See More

  • Launched the Open Bethlehem campaign to protect Bethlehem's heritage...See More

  • Documented the detrimental effects of the wall on Bethlehem and its people...See More

  • Raised awareness about Bethlehem’s and Palestine's situation globally.

  • Engaged in dialogue and screenings with various faith groups and academic institutions.

Date of Last Update: 
December 15, 2023

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