Palestinian Heritage Seminar

More than 120 persons attended the Palestinian Heritage Seminar of “My Heritage! My Identity!” EU funded project in Palestine that took place on the 4th of December in Jericho. Among them were representatives of governmental organizations, cultural and women associations, students from Bethlehem University and Al-Najah University, Nablus, as well as individuals interested in the topic of protection and promotion of Palestinian heritage.

Dr. Moussa Rabadi, the Director of Institute for Community Partnership of Bethlehem University, inaugurated the seminar and presented “My Heritage! My Identity!” EU funded project to the public. “My Heritage! My Identity!” is an important project which addresses a range of problems and challenges Palestinian society is experiencing today; such as the disappearance and dissolution of its national heritage. To keep our Palestinian heritage alive, work at all levels of Palestinian society must be done in a systematic and scientific, yet engaging way,” explained Dr. Moussa Rabadi.

The event took place in the presence of the representatives of Palestine Ministry of Education and Higher Education and the European Union.

“The European Union is fully aware of the importance of supporting cultural heritage in Palestine. We are proud to see the impact of our joint efforts on the ground as we witness the qualitative growth of the Palestinian cultural movement,” said Mrs. Muna Ishaq, Task Manager - Governance and Democracy, for representing and speaking on behalf of the European Union.

“The theme of heritage and identity is very important, and is part of the curriculum of the national education. We would like to introduce students to their homeland and preserve the cultural heritage of the Palestinian people in this land which is precious to all of us,” said Mr. Sami Mraweh, the Director of the Bethlehem Governorate Office of Ministry of Education and Higher Education in Palestine.

During the first part of the seminar six academics representing Palestinian and French universities presented their researches conducted for the “My Heritage! My Identity!” project:

  • “Hikayat Palestine through Masar Ibrahim: dialects, oral memories, and histories” by Huda Odeh and Peter Laban.
  • “Architecture and ways of living: traditional and modern Palestinian villages and cities” by Romeo Carabelli.
  • “Necessity of water and problems: source of life, claim for heritage?” by Marwan Ghanem.
  • “From terraces to settlements: the testimony of Masar Ibrahim landscapes.” by Ahmad Al Aqra.
  • The one who has olive oil will never be poor: Material and political aspects of a Palestinian symbol.” by Maissoun Sharkawi.
  • “The Maqam as a place of popular practices: evolution and diversity.” by Marion Lecoquierre.

“It was really rewarding to share the results of my research during the seminar. It is something innovative for the academia as academic research is often very isolated from the public. It was also quite interesting to discuss the topic and have a direct feedback from the workshop participants. What is more, it is great to know that the information that I gathered will be used and appropriated to create awareness tools intended for the broader public,” explained the researcher Marion Lecoquierre.

The result of the short academic papers will serve as a base for production of five awareness and educational tools that in a simplified and interesting way would convey the information to the larger Palestinian and international public. The presentation of the subjects was followed by an open group discussions with each of the researchers, which aimed at determining the possible tools.

The consultants contracted to develop the awareness tools artist Amer Shomali and Renad Kubbaj, Director of Tamer Institute for Community Education were also present during the workshop.

“We are glad to be present during the presentations of the researchers and take an active part in the discussions following the presentations. This enriching experience which will help us in developing the awareness tools that could be used to work with children, youth and the broad public in general,” Renad Kubbaj stated during the seminar.

 

The seminar also included a presentation by Bisan Kassis from Grip Consulting summing up seven focus group workshops that took place in September and October 2018, during which the best educational tools based on the above academic research was also discussed. “The objective of forming the seven focused groups was to develop proposals for tools that could appropriate the research carried out within this project for the broad Palestinian public so that he citizens could absorb the valuable information contained in these researches,” said Bisan Kassis.

What is more, the seminar intended to catalyse creation of networks between the participants. The workshop created an opportunity for a meeting between various representatives of Palestinian society and a chance for exchange of their opinions.

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