An-Najah University Concludes Zajel’s 11th International Volunteering Camp

June 12th. Fifteen days after the launching of the activities of Zajel’s 11th International Volunteering Camp which was organized by the International Youth Exchange Program (Zajel) of the Public Relations Department in cooperation with the Office of the University President Assistant for Graduate Affairs at An-Najah University, the Volunteering Camp was concluded successfully. A large number of international volunteers participated in the Camp from different countries around the world including: the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, Netherlands, Norway, Greece, Australia, France, Japan and Russia.

The internationals represented a number of top international universities including: several prestigious universities in Europe and the United States including Boston University, University of Greenwich, Trinity College Dublin, University of Glasgow, London South Bank University, University of Westminster, University of Nottingham, Quebec University, University of Manchester, International Juridical Institute, University of Saint Andrews and City University of New York.

During their volunteering at the Camp, the international volunteers prepared and administered more than 55 different training workshops for more than 300 students who were trained on a variety of subjects including: Conversation skills in English, social media, English discourse, capacity building, as well as the international law and human rights.

The training process depended mainly on the interactive teaching approach which proved effective in training the students on English conversation skills which helped reinforce the students’ self-confidence and developed their skills in E-communication through training them on the different means of social media. Yasmeen Amer, a student at the Department of Computer Engineering, said she and her colleague were trained on a number of online applications and social networking websites such as Twitter, Blog, Flicker and Youtube and were taught on how to subscribe to these sites.

She added that they were trained on how to use the different features of these websites such as uploading, downloading and rating videos on Youtube, and how to follow and being followed by other users on Twitter. Samar Swaileh, a student at the Faculty of Pharmacy, said she learned how to prepare a discourse in English, how to control herself while delivering a speech, how to have self-confidence, what a speaker must bear in mind while speaking in front of an audience, in addition to learning how to write a CV and skills needed during job interview.

In addition to this, students were trained on body language, self-expression, story writing in English, how to write press questions, as well as changing stereotypes images and prejudgments.

On the other hand, a number of cultural activities were organized for the internationals to educate them about the situations that the Palestinian people live. Researcher Cara Flowers from the Emergency Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, Group (EWASH) in Ramallah delivered a presentation in which she spoke to the internationals about the status of water in Palestine, the rates of water consumption, water policies and the mechanisms needed to change the water situation in the country.

Furthermore, a field trip was organized for the international volunteers to the Old City in Hebron in order to familiarize them with the social and economical situations that the Palestinians experience there. The internationals were introduced to the different rehabilitation and restoration projects of old houses and building in the city, as well as the efforts made to encourage Palestinians to live in the city.

 The trip to Hebron included a lecture which was presented by the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee, in addition to visiting the different markets, neighborhoods, as well as the Tomb of the Patriarchs there where the internationals met with the local people and were familiarized with their living conditions.

Another visit was made to Bethlehem where the internationals visited the Maan News Agency and were introduced to its work, sections, units, projects, programs and activities. An open meeting was also arranged between the internationals and Mr. Naser Lahham, General-Director of Maan News, in which he presented a political analysis of the political situation in Palestine and the aspects of the coming stage; he also answered the audience’s questions.

The internationals also visited the Old City of Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity where they were educated about the history of the Church. They also visited a number of institutions there. In Nablus, the internationals visited the Samaritan Sect where they were introduced to the Samaritan history, heritage, traditions and rituals.

Journalist Ala’ Badarneh presented a documentary film about the work of Palestinian journalists and cameramen under the Israeli occupation. The film was accompanied by a discussion that addressed the role of the Palestinian journalist in covering the news related to the circumstances under which those journalists work. Mr. Sa’ed Abu Hijleh, Lecturer at the Department of Geography at An-Najah, delivered a presentation about the Arab-Israeli Conflict in which he spoke about the history of the Palestinian cause, as well as the geographic and political dimension of this cause. Mr. Abu Hijleh emphasized the importance of international solidarity in supporting the Palestinian cause and the necessity to refer to the international legitimacy in order to bring peace to the region.

Additionally, another meeting was organized around the oral history of the Palestinian cause so as to familiarize the internationals with the historical dimensions of this issue which contribute to the shaping of the Palestinian present. On the same subject, a meeting was arranged between the internationals and Mr. Sadeq Anabtawi, a Palestinian refugee from Al-Lud city in northern Palestine, in which he spoke about the cultural, social and political life during the stages before, during and after the 1948 Exodus.

Moreover, Mr. Anabtawi discussed the details of the daily Palestinian life during their expulsion from their homes and the economical and social challenges that accompanied that period in the history of the Palestinian people. He explained that the Palestinians focused on investment in education as it was the most stable cultural, social and economical resource in Palestine. After the meeting, the internationals visited Balata Refugee Camp where they closely examined the economical and social conditions that the Palestinians experience there.

Concerning education in Palestine, a presentation was made that addressed education conditions over the last four decades. Mr. Alaa Abu Dheer, Coordinator of Zajel International Youth Exchange Program, spoke in his presentation about the importance of education for the Palestinian people and gave a statistical explanation about the Palestinians abroad, their interest in education, the impact of the conflict in the region on the different educational institutions, in addition to education patterns, and the role of educational institutions in providing the local and regional markets with qualified and competent graduates who contributed to the development of the Arab societies.

In the presentation, Mr. Abu Dheer also spoke about the development of education in Palestine, the challenges it faced, its accomplishments, the role of education in supporting the Palestinian economy, in addition to the role that Palestinians abroad play in encouraging education and investment in its various fields which can be achieved through supporting the different Palestinian educational institutions.

On another occasion, the Global Village Exhibition was organized at the New Campus where University students were introduced to the different cultures of the world’s countries and nations. The Village included different sections each of which represented and displayed the culture and tradition of a certain country to which the international volunteers belonged. This Global Village aimed to familiarize local students and visitors with the different cultures of the world and history and heritage of other nations and sought to reinforce inter-cultural communication and exchange.

Also, in cooperation with the World Council of Churches, a visit was organized to Yanoun Village which experiences difficult human situations. Mrs. Hilary Minch presented a description of the conditions that the people of the Village face and the efforts exerted to encourage Palestinian farmers to stay in their land and continue farming it.

This huge project came as part of the University’s efforts to reinforce and develop the skills of its students and equip them with competitiveness and competency that would help them get a suitable job in the future and excel in their career.

 

 

***