Zajel Participates in the Euro-Arab Youth Workshop

"Let us talk about the future"



For six days, delegates of Zajel Youth Exchange Program of An-Najah National University participated in the Euro-Arab Youth Workshop "Let's talk about the future" held in September in Poland’s capital Warsaw.  They joined 38 other young people from seven European and Arab countries, Germany, Greece, Poland, Egypt, Jordan, Algeria and Palestine. Zajel volunteers, representing Palestine, had the opportunity to discuss youth issues, learn from others and present the Palestinian point of view on different topics such as religion, society, women and traditions, and introduce participants to the activities and goals of Zajel.



The workshop that was sponsored by the European Union Program Youth in Action and the UNESCO office in Paris focused on the cultural and folkloric features of each country through storytelling, calligraphy and language sessions, and dancing and singing festivals. Participants also visited classes of a primary school in Warsaw where they gave presentations about their countries and taught children traditional games and dances.  


Participants also enjoyed learning about Polish culture and history.  They visited the old city of Warsaw which was reconstructed after its total destruction in World War II, and they listened to a lecture by Professor Boguslaw Zagorski from the Ibn Khaldun Institute on the Muslim Tatar minority in Poland, giving the participants an insight to Polish history and the different nations that influenced the country's culture.


Ahmad Nimer, one of Zajel delegates and a student at the Information Technology Faculty of An-Najah National University, described his participation in the workshop as an event that increased his awareness and knowledge.  Ahmad explains, ‘Such participation is essential in bridging the gap between East and West.  It gives us the voice to communicate with other nations and pass on the message about Palestine, its people and their cause.’ Dr. Nabil Alawi, Director of the Public Relations Department, commented on Zajel's participation noting that the University works hard to activate its involvement in more workshops abroad hoping to strengthen the cultural exchanges between Palestinian youth and their counterparts abroad.  He stressed that such contributions which encourage intercultural dialogue could greatly help in countering the negative propaganda and stereotypes that have been distorting the image of Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims.


Worthy of mention is the web portal ARABIA, which is the largest in Poland dealing with Arab issues. It came into existence in 2002 in Warsaw and covers different types of information about Poland targeting mainly Arabic readers. Its team consists of students, graduates and professors from the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Warsaw University, Lodz University and Warsaw School of Economics, in addition to PhD students, sociologists, political scientists, intercultural relations experts and people with a passion for Arabic culture.