PAS Program Visits the University, the City of Nablus and
Balata Refugee camp
A group from the Palestinian Arabic Studies Program at Birzeit
University, PAS, visited the university on the 21st
July 2007. Dr. Nabil Alwi, Director of the Public Relations
Department, welcomed the delegation. A presentation was done by
Mira Nabulsi, a volunteer in Zajel Youth Exchange Program on the
projects conducted by Zajel, made a presentation about An-Najah
National University and about Zajel. She spoke about the
international summer camps, study visits and the media unit ran
by Zajel. Then she explained the details of the campís
activities that Zajel made every year; volunteering in Askar
Refugee Camp, workshops on the political situations in Palestine
and working with children in need. She spoke about the
publishing of the oral history book of the 1948 war, and the
galleries that Zajel has done on the images, stereotypes,
heritage and culture.
Ala Yousef, the Coordinator of Zajel Youth Exchange Program,
gave a presentation about the right to education campaign; he
spoke about the problems that face the university and its
students in different aspects. In his brief presentation, Mr.
Yousef explained the Israeli violations of An-Najah National
University students and faculty rights and their detrimental
affect on the academic process. Some of these violations
include: checkpoints, physical attacks on the city and its
students during invasions, curfews, and other forms of violence.
After the presentation, guests went to the radio station and saw
the editing room. They also learned how the staff gathers and
presents the news.
The guests then toured around the new campus and were introduced
to the different faculties that the university offers. Then they
went to the Fine Arts Faculty in the new campus and made
interviews with girls and boys from different cities and
villages in the West Bank who study at the university. They got
to learn firsthand troubles that the students face from the
Israeli soldiers every time they cross the checkpoints. They
spoke about the problems they face; physically or mentally; then
they spoke about the financial problems they face and how
poverty is expanding amongst the Palestinians. There were so
many questions about how education for Palestinians is used as a
weapon that helps them to confront their enemy.
After they finished the interviews, Mark James, an American
volunteer talked about the media unit that heís working for in
coordination with the Journalism Department at the university.
The project is about producing films to show teenagers in
American schools the daily suffering that Palestinians face as
well as telling them how the Israeli occupation destroys
Palestinian culture. Some difficulties facing this project are
the occupation and the perception in foreign countries.
The guests saw the destruction caused by Israeli invasions in
the old city. They also visited some of the sites which mark the
cultural heritage of this very old city: architectural sites,
markets, and Turkish baths.
A tour was organized through Balata refugee camp by the Yafa
Cultural Center where guests saw first hand the troubles of the
refugee's daily lives in this over crowded refugee camp. Tayseer
Nasrallah, the Head of the Steering Committee at the center,
spoke to his guests about the right of return and the living
conditions in the camp.