04/11/2006 

The Zajel Youth Exchange Program of the Public Relations Department at An-Najah National University has ended a course for university students on the subject of western media and its relation to the Palestinian issue. Twenty students from different fields of study participated in the course. Through training these students, Zajel aims at training a new group of qualified volunteers for participation in international exchange activities that the program organizes, as well as preparing them to address international public opinion by using the language which is effective for communicating with the international community. A group of trainers, including members from the United States, Britain, Portugal, and Palestine, led the course, which lasted for eighteen hours.

Vanessa Edward spoke about the American political system, explaining the three branches of U.S. government and their relation to the creation of U.S. foreign policy. She also explained how the diffusion of power often slows the process of progressive change within the government. The British volunteer, Elisa Morris, gave a lecture about the British media and its coverage of the Middle East news. William Morgan, another British volunteer, offered a lecture about the British media’s coverage of the Iraq War, in addition to its coverage of news from Palestine. A Portuguese volunteer, Tiago Dias, also participated in the course, speaking about Portuguese media’s view towards Hizballah and the Lebanese War. He also discussed the image of Muslims and Arabs in Portuguese media. Ala Yousef, the Coordinator of Zajel Program, gave a presentation about the image of Arabs and Muslims in western cinema, caricatures, and television programs.

The course aimed at introducing the students to the difference in western media coverage, its distortion of the truth, and what can be done to positively affect public opinion, which can then pressure mass media to change. Many lectures were also given about Palestinian history and the conflict in the Middle East.

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