Associazione di Terra Santa (ATS) is an NGO (non-profit non-governmental association) with the main purpose of supporting the work and initiatives of the Franciscans of the Custody of the Holy Land, who have been present in Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Jordan, Syria, Egypt and on the islands of Cyprus and Rhodes for almost eight centuries.
The ATS helps the Custody promote its sectors of activity and carry out specific projects in collaboration with public institutions and individuals.
The initiatives and the projects promoted can be grouped together into the following areas of action:
- Education: children, families, schools, vocational training
- Assistance and Development: craftsmen, micro-businesses, job creation, construction and building maintenance – homes, churches, sanctuaries
- Emergency Area: conflicts, support for minorities, the elderly
- History and Culture: conservation and development of archaeological areas and the Holy Places, support for activities of study and research, protection the archival and museum heritage, publishing
The initiatives supported and undertaken have the aim of protecting Christian identity and concretely supporting the Christian minorities in the Holy Land and in the places dear to Christianity in the Middle East, where their living and working conditions are often particularly difficult.
In addition, the prime aim of all the projects promoted is to stimulate and increase the integration of the resident communities into different cultures and religious confessions, promoting a message of peace and dialogue.