Two weeks before the official launch of the Online Arabic from Palestine course, we are talking about it in Bolzano (Italy), at the annual European Conference on Educational Research run by the European Educational Research Association. Bolzano is in a beautiful part of the world, surrounded by the Alps and by vineyards. This is the sun as it rose this morning behind the mountains:
More than 3,000 people will come from around the world to exchange ideas on many aspects of education, around the main theme of “inclusion and exclusion”. Due to the ongoing blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip, people living in Gaza are excluded from many of the freedoms that people in Europe often take for granted . One of the key aims of the OPAC project is to overcome the isolation caused by the state of siege in Gaza, and through language education initiate a process of inclusion, communication and intercultural learning. We are therefore delighted to be able to present the OPAC project as part of “social justice and intercultural education” network within ECER 2018. Click HERE for more details about our presentation.
We will be speaking in this stunning venue:
“We”, however, means “the Glasgow team”. Yet again our colleague Nazmi al-Masri has been denied permission to exit the Gaza Strip, despite having a valid visa for Italy, just like the previous times he attempted to join us with valid visas and invites for his destination. We – all of us, the Glasgow team and the Gaza team – are frustrated and saddened beyond words.
Thankfully we have words already prepared to use for our presentation, and the frustration gives renewed purpose and urgency to a project which is about opportunities for learning beyond and despite the siege conditions in Gaza that are unimaginable for most of the conference delegates strolling around Bolzano.
There is a fig tree that we often walk by here – it reminds us of the fig trees in the photos sent to us by our Gaza colleagues, and every time we pass it we think of them. We post it here for as a symbol of hope, of abundant hope in difficult times, of hard work coming to fruition and being shared generously.