Zajel organized a
video conference on the Middle East Conflict with students from
Indiana Wesleyan University. The conference was attended by
American students whom are currently taking courses about the
history of the Middle East, Christianity and Islam, and An-Najah
students from a number of different departments. The main aim of
the conference was to establish a direct dialogue between students
in America and Palestine, so that both sides could reach a better
understanding of the realities of the situation in Palestine, and
American thoughts and reactions to it. Along these lines, the
conference was an overwhelming success.
The meeting started with an introduction to
An-Najah National University, and the Zajel youth exchange
program. This was followed by a brief summary of the current
Intifada presented by the director of the Public Relations
Department, Mr. Sami Al-Kilani. After this, a number of An-Najah
students spoke about many of the important parts of the current
conflict as effect Palestinian citizens on a daily basis, such as
siege, occupation, invasion, assassination, settlements, apartheid
wall, roadblocks and curfew. The students clarified the nature of
these problems, and gave examples from their personal lives to
illustrate the extent of the hardships faced.
Prof. Riggs David served as the Indiana
Wesleyan University mediator, and introduced his university and
students, as well as coordinated the questions from the American
side. Dr. Patrick Daly was the mediator on the Palestinian side.
In addition he gave a summarized on the impacts of the conflict
upon university students, stressing the financial, psychological
and social problems that accompany the constant threat of
detention, injury, humiliation and loss of life.
After the student presentations about the
various hardships caused by the occupation, the floor was opened
to questions from the American students. They asked many
thoughtful and important questions about the political and social
situation here in Palestine. Their questions focused on daily life
in Nablus under the siege, the impact of the occupation on the
academic process, and also about the nature of religious tolerance
and peaceful co-existence that currently exists between
Palestinians of different faiths. All Palestinian students were
given the opportunity to speak freely in response, drawing upon
their personal experiences. In spite of the often sensitive nature
of the subjects discussed, the An-Najah students did well to
answer all questions in a rational and coherent fashion.
In the final part of the conference, An-Najah
students had time to ask American students questions about
American thoughts and perspectives of Palestinians and the
conflict. The discussion with the American students went smoothly
and discussion was fruitful for both sides. The end result was
that important and useful information was exchanged, and both
sides learned a lot about the perspectives of the other side.
conference comes as a result of the enthusiasm of Indiana Wesleyan
students and Prof David who did his best in order to let this
project see the light, it deserves mention that this is the first
time in Palestine in which Palestinian students participates in
video conference with an American university via video conference.
It deserves mention that Zajel Youth
Exchange Program runs this project in order to narrow the gap
between Palestinian students and the globe students, those
Palestinian students who are forced to be separated from the world
and were not even allowed to move in their country over the past
few years, so, this video conference comes to strengthens the
scientific and cultural exchange and dialogue toward better
understanding between Palestinian students and the international
students anywhere in the world.
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