Zajel Concludes its Work Camp 2009

An-Najah National University concluded its International Voluntary Camp that was organized by the Zajel Youth Exchange Program of the Public Relations Department. The camp lasted for three weeks with the participation of 20 international volunteers from different countries accompanied by 20 local student volunteers from An-Najah. The closing ceremony was held at Zafer Al-Masri Auditorium at the Old Campus of the university. It included poetry recitations and photography slideshow of the camp activities.

The international camp activities included daily voluntary work at the Community Development Center of Askar refugee camp, cultural lectures, and field trips to Palestinian cities.

The volunteers participated in many psychological debriefing activities that targeted the kids from the camp through drama, music, sports, languages, physical therapy and Arts. The Administration of the center, represented by its Director Amjad Rifa'i, supervised the activities of the camp to insure its success.

The camp focused on several cultural exchange themes that introduced the international volunteers to different social, cultural, historical and national issues related to Palestinian identity and traditions. The volunteers attended lectures on academic and humanitarian issues delivered by Palestinian intellectuals from different fields.

This camp comes as part of An-Najah National University's efforts to enhance cultural and academic exchange between students of the university and their peers from different parts of the world and to develop strong bonds between them based on friendship and humanity

Siba Fadda, a student at the Faculty of Engineering of An-Najah National University, said that her participation was an exceptionally rewarding and useful experience, since it helped the local volunteers develop and practice leadership skills. Siba also noted that the local volunteers’ ability to organize such international camp was greatly enhanced.

International and local volunteers toured several Palestinian cities. They visited Hebron and its old city including the Ibrahimi Mosque where they met with local citizens who talked about the hard conditions they are living under. They also visited Bethlehem city, the Nativity Church, the markets, and Aida Refugee Camp.

The tours also included Ramallah were they visited Late President Yasser Arafat mausoleum.

They finally visited Qalqilia city and met with its Governor Mr. Rabi'eh Khandaqji who briefed the guests on the situation in the city and its surrounding villages. He talked about the impact of the wall on the economic, agricultural, environmental and social life. The tour in Qalqilia was concluded with a visit to the Apartheid Wall that is encircling and choking the city.

Mr. Saed Abu Hijleh, Lecturer at the Geography Department of An-Najah, presented a workshop on the political geography of the Palestinian Question, the major historical stages of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and the future prospects for the creation of an independent Palestinian state.

Mr. Abu Hijleh also talked about the importance of international solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle to attain their national rights and achieve a just and durable peace for the region.

Mr. Jamal Jum’a from “Stop the Wall Campaign” gave a lecture on the different phases of Palestinian national struggle up to the present time. He also focused on the political, economic, demographic, and environmental problems resulting from the construction of the Separation Wall in the West Bank. He used detailed maps to show the far-reaching dreadful effects of the wall on Palestinian society.

Local and international volunteers organized a cultural day called "Global Village", where each volunteer gave a small presentation on his/her country, culture, history, heritage, and music. This event was organized to enhance the feeling of belonging to global cultures and challenges.

A visit was organized to Balata Refugee Camp where the volunteers met with the Director of Yaffa Cultural Center, Mr. Fayez Arafat, who briefed them on the historical, social, cultural, educational and health conditions in the Camp, and the history of Palestinians before their Diaspora in 1948. They also met with some eyewitnesses of Nakba (Palestinian Catastrophe of 1948). 

A visit was organized to the Samaritan neighborhood on top of Jerzim Mountain in the south of Nablus, where volunteers had further knowledge on the Samaritans, their ancient traditions, habits and rituals that are followed in all social occasions and which date back to 3000 years. They also toured the Sacred Jerzim Mountain accompanied by the Samaritans and knew more about the religious and historic landscape.

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