Zajel Participates in the Silver Jubilee Festival of DNTA in Scotland.

Organizing Speaking tour in the UK.

 

The Dundee Nablus Twinning Association, DNTA, organized a one week events on the occasion of the silver Jubilee of signing the twinning agreement between the cities of Dundee and Nablus, the events were organized in the city of Dundee in Scotland, the city that witnessed the signing of this agreement twenty five years ago.

 

The initiative came as a reaction from some Scottish activists who condemned the aggressions against the elected Mayor of Nablus in 1981, Mr.Bassam Shaka` who lost  both his legs by a car bomb prepared by some Jewish settlers, the Scottish delegation led by George Gallawy came to Nablus at that time and hosted its mayor in Dundee where he got two plastic legs, this support and sympathy with Palestinian people continued before and after the signing of the twinning agreement, the twinning took different forms of support in the social development and academic fields.

 

The guests who went to participate in the Jubilee festivals represented some organizations in the city of Nablus, the representative of An-Najah National University, Ala Yousef, the Coordinator of the Youth Exchange Program addressed the participants and spoke about the importance of signing this agreement with the Palestinian people who were suffering from being out of touch with the international community in early 1980s, he added that the support from Scottish people encouraged Palestinians to believe that they were not forgotten and there is somebody in this globe cares and would like to do something to reduce their sufferance, Lord Provost of Dundee, Mr. John R Letford addressed the participants in the event who represented the Scottish NGOs and the local Scottish community confirming the willingness to go ahead in the cooperation with the Palestinian people in order to have better life conditions where peace overwhelm on the Middle East.

 

The festival was attended by the initiators of the twinning, the old generation of people who worked to make the twinning true, they expressed their happiness to participate in the Silver Jubilee of the twinning that proves that both sides are willing to go ahead in the cooperation for better understanding of both cultures, and to encourage dialogue towards better interaction between the western and Arabic cultures. A Scottish-Palestinian night was organized where some traditional folkloric dances were presented and some songs for peace were offered.

 

Besides the official celebration, meetings and presentations were presented in different places, where Zajel presented some presentations on the right to education in Palestine, the History of Palestine and another presentation on the activities of Zajel Youth Exchange Program. The representatives of the Palestinian associations visited some sites of Scotland and its universities in order to empower the relationships between both sides, such as the Dundee University, Dundee Abertay University and others, besides visiting some charitable associations. Some other visits were paid to the Scottish Parliament where the Palestinian delegation was told about decision making and the democratic system there. Another visit was also organized to some school classes where the Palestinian delegation participated in the classes offered to the children of Dundee city, such visit was helpful where a better understanding of the education system in Scottish school was considered, specially the teaching of Islam and other religions to the children of such schools.

 

In 1980, the cities of Nablus and Dundee decided to twin, and an Association was formed for this regard, The aims of this twinning are: to promote friendship and understanding between the people of Dundee and those of Nablus, to encourage visits to and from the linked cities and the development of personal contacts, to organise fund raising activities to foster the aims of the Association and to encourage twinning projects, especially in the fields of education, culture, and commerce.

 

It has not been easy to maintain links some times over the past twenty five years, Visiting each other was not easy, the post is unreliable, but the internet keeps communication links alive. Through the twinning funds helped groups working with children and young people, a nursing college and an organisation re-planting the olive groves torn up by Israeli bulldozers.

 

At the end of the visit, both sides agreed to initiate a Palestinian branch to the DNTA in Nablus besides launching a website for the activities of DNTA as well as to promote the events and activities across both the Palestinian and Scottish people

 

In cooperation with Friends of Palestine and the Social Forum, Zajel made some presentations in some other cities in the United Kingdom, in Manchester, Liverpool and Preston where audience and interested people were participating in the debate sessions that were organized in order to make better awareness of the Question of Palestine and the daily life conditions under the occupation, the debate was useful as far it was offering the Palestinian perspective and eyewitness point of view of what is happening in Palestine, the discussion was focusing on the Israeli violations to the right to education and the history of the conflict in the Middle East, visits and meetings were organized with some British universities, students unions and NGOs in order to promote the activities of Zajel Youth Exchange Program and to invite the British students to participate in the events and projects organized by Zajel such as the Video Conferencing, International Voluntary Work camps, Folkloric Exhibition, Chat Rooms, Debate Forums, Study Visits, exchanging students and recruiting more British volunteers for the Palestine Media Unit.  


 

Palestine Media Unit Participates in International Cooperation Day in Naples

 

Following a proposal submitted to the International Cooperation Office of the province of Naples, the Palestine Media Unit, www.zajel.org, was invited to participate in the International Cooperation Day organized by the Province.

 

The meeting gathered together a number of officials of Naples province together with representatives from various developing countries who are working on projects that were adopted and financed by the International Cooperation Office of the Province.  People from Tanzania, Afghanistan, Peru and other countries talked about the importance of these projects to their local population and described the different phases of the projects.

 

Mira Nabulsi, the Assistant Coordinator of Zajel Youth Exchange Program of the Public Relations Department at An-Najah National University, represented the Palestine Media Unit at the meeting. She made a presentation about the Youth Exchange Program as well as the Zajel Media Website which will be the Palestinian partner for the Italian Project "Click for Peace". Some Italian movie makers from "Cantieri Dell' Imaginario" are involved in this project in Naples as well as some other local associations. The project aims to create a multilingual website that uses video communication and other modern techniques to encourage intercultural dialogue and the exchange of knowledge about the cultures involved in the project.

 

The visit lasted for almost nine days during which Ms Nabulsi visited some local associations, including Spacio Kultura Antagonista, SKA, several youth centers and Il Manifesto newspaper, in addition to meeting the Cantieri dell' Imaginario group and discussing future plans and ideas for developing intercultural cooperation between the two sides.


Zajel Participates in summer school at Atlantic College/UK 

 Two students from An-Najah National University traveled to the United Kingdom as representatives of Zajel youth exchange program. The trip was divided into two parts. The first week was spent at Atlantic College, Wales, and the second week devoted to a speaking tour in Manchester and Liverpool.

The students participated in a summer school at Atlantic College, along with delegates from 36 countries. The event brought everyone together in the spirit of cultural and ethical exchange. Because of the difficulties that Palestinians face with regards to travel, one of Zajel students was elected as delegation leader and was responsible for representing Palestine, Zajel was especially supportive of this activity because it provided an excellent opportunity for Palestinian students to explain the current situation in Palestine, from a Palestinian perspective, to a diverse audience.

 As part of this, various presentations were given by Zajel representative about the current ‘Intifada’, and some of the many difficulties faced by Palestinians. Samah Atout did an excellent job answering questions and mediating in an interesting discussion about the Palestinian situation. The Zajel participation was useful in spreading understanding, raising awareness and establishing relationships with other students and organizations from around the world. One thing that the An-Najah students learned is that many of the other delegates from other countries were much misinformed about Palestine and Palestinian life.

The speaking tour was organized by friends and partners of Zajel in the UK in order to share firsthand

 information about what is happening in the occupied territories. In particular, the talks focused upon the impact of the Israeli siege, curfew and military incursions upon the lives of ordinary Palestinian citizens. The talks were well received by attentive audiences.

 

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