Capacity Building Workshop
House of Wisdom"?
March 2012
France عربي

In This issue

The Arab Education Forum initiates the 'Amman Learning and Convivial City project
The Forum is looking for new neighbors in the office
Launching of the second phase of the Istikshaf ProgramLaunching of the second phase of the Istikshaf Program
The Hakaya Program convenes Tales of an Arab Spring: Who Writes People's History(ies)? Regional Meeting in Alexandria
Why the "House of Wisdom"?
Three hours from Casablanca...
The Other Arabia

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About AEF

The Arab Education Forum is a non-governmental, not-for-profit organization active in the Arab World in the field of community and youth work . The mission of AEF is to contribute to an Arab cultural regeneration project that springs out of the inherent knowledge and experiences within the Arab societies

Safar Grant

Grant applications for the Safar/Istikshaf programme are accepted throughout the month. The grant selection committee looks at the submitted applications in the first week of every month, provided that the application is submitted at least one month before the date of travel. For more information info@safarfund.org.

Watch us

The Hakaya Program convenes Tales of an Arab Spring: Who Writes People's History(ies)? Regional Meeting in Alexandria from 23-26 April, Please watch us live on http://tv.wupy.org/.

We want to hear from you

This bulletin provides the latest news of the Arab Education Forum and contains a number of short news items on upcoming activities. We would be more than happy for you to share your news and activities with us. You can send them to us at the following email address: suad@almoultaqa.com.

Contact Us

6 Fares ALKhouri street- Shmesani
P.O Box 940286 11194 Amman Jordan
Tel: +96265687557
Fax:+96265687558

e-mail: info@almoultaqa.com
web: www.almoultaqa.com

The Arab Education Forum initiates the 'Amman Learning and Convivial City project

In an effort to promote the moral and humanitarian fabric of the city of Amman as a center of civilization, learning and hospitality, and to celebrate the richness of the city and the diversity of its people, its guests, their skills, their knowledge, and their ideas, the Arab Education Forum is initiating the Amman Learning and Convivial City project, in partnership with the Directorate of Culture in the Greater Amman Municipality.

The project aims to develop a concept and model for the convivial Arab city of learning, and to document and disseminate the experience, emphasizing the rich subtle nuances in the city and its people. It also aims to transform the city's spaces (libraries, halls, theatres, homes, institutions, and parks) into learning spaces, open to all.  The project includes emphasizing words, such as 'neighborhood,' 'wisdom,' and 'the spirit of hospitality,' that reflect a respect for people's innate ability to learn, as well as for the diversity of meanings – and ways – of learning.

During the first phase the project seeks to create partnerships and develop and mobilize support for the Charter of the Learning and Convivial City . The project is also launching a database that will strive to contain, in addition to a map of 'Amman Learning and Convivial City,' cultural, artistic and literary information, as well as highlighting sporting events and news, handicrafts, law, environmental issues, volunteering opportunities, technology, policy, etc.  Upon launching the program, spaces will be open to the community no matter where they live, their nationality, or ethnic or religious identity, and will strive hard towards this hospitable goal.

The Forum is looking for new neighbors in the office

A space is available for rent at the headquarters of the Arab Education Forum, located in the Shmeisani district of Amman, behind the trade unions complex, at number 6 Fares Al-Khoury Street. The Arab Education Forum welcomes new neighbors into a friendly office environment.  Rooms are available for rent for a small nominal fee, which will go towards supporting the Forum's programs.

Facilities available are:
*Residency Room: This large room is big enough for two people, has a separate entrance and windows from the Forum's headquarters, and is equipped with everything necessary for a pleasant accommodation, in addition to a number of services (Internet, TV, satellite, dvd/video player, coffee-machine, heater and electric fan).

A furnished meeting room that fits 30 persons. It includes a large meeting table, several couches, a round table and a set of chairs, and equipped with internet connection. 
* Large office room furnished with three desks and a bookshelf and equipped with internet and phone connection.

For more information, please contact: Phone: 00962 6 5687557 email: info@almoultaqa.com .

Launching of the second phase of the Istikshaf Program

Due to the success that met the first phase of the Istikshaf Program, the Arab Education Forum has decided to move forward with the Program and launch the second phase in partnership with the Roberto Cimetta Fund in France, and the International Association for Creation and Training (I-ACT) in Egypt, with support from the European Union.

The Program focuses on encouraging networking between all parties concerned with supporting mobility in the Mediterranean basin region in general, and the Arab world in particular in order to build a firm foundation for coordination, dialogue and exchanging experiences, and to increase the mobility support available to young artists and social entrepreneurs . In addition to launching a multi-faceted advocacy campaign targeting cultural and civil society policy makers. The Program also aims to set up local mobility funds in several Arab countries building on the initiatives of young men and women in those countries, activate the "community organizing" campaigns, conduct regional meetings for dialogue and intellectual construction based on the social experiences of innovative Arab youth, developing a web- based tool (Istikshaf guide) focusing on learning opportunities available in different cities. The program also carries on ongoing research, documentation, evaluation of, and reflection on mobility, through various tools including a regular evaluation of the impact of mobility using several key mobility operators' experience as well as offers grants for young artists and social entrepreneurs to facilitate mobility for learning.

As part of this program, the Arab Education Forum has joined the On the Move (OTM) network, which is a cultural mobility information network active in Europe and worldwide, aiming to encourage and facilitate cross-border mobility and cooperation for professionals of the artistic and cultural sector. (http://on-the-move.org/).

The Hakaya Program convenes Tales of an Arab Spring: Who Writes People's History(ies)? Regional Meeting in Alexandria from 23-26 April

The Arab Education Forum (Hakaya Program)  in cooperation with its partners, Al-Balad Theatre, the International Association for Creation and Training (I-Act), the Arab Resource Center for Popular Arts (Al-Jana) will be holding its second regional meeting entitled Tales of an Arab Spring : 'Who Writes People's History(ies)?. The meeting, which will run from April 23rd – 26th, will focus on a number of topics inspired by the Arab Spring. Themes will cover interweaving stories, creative expressions of the revolution, the role of artists in times of change, the power of documentation and oral history, and social media.

The meeting will attract over 75 participants including regional program partners, cultural and social activists, scholars, and artists representing various parts of the Arab World as well as international representation.

The meeting offers a creative space for the participants to exchange experiences   through panel presentations, workshops and performances which include Mashroo Coral, an Egyptian performance of music and poetry, Shawari'na Music Troupe from Alexandria; film screening; Photo-exhibit for Tunisian and Egyptian photographers; Art exhibit by Tunisian Artist and Poetry reading. Both the French Cultural Center and the Goethe Institute are providing their spaces for the artistic performances.
Please watch us live on  http://tv.wupy.org/.

Why the "House of Wisdom"?

A few years ago, I read a phrase that left its mark. While I do not remember the exact words, I recall that it warned of the human's excessive intelligence, making his own existence on earth threatened if he does not act with wisdom.

That phrase stayed in the back of my mind, as it interprets a lot of the phenomena. The Cedar tree takes hundreds – if not thousands- of years to grow, but it can be eliminated within a few seconds using advanced machines.

These stances explain why we need wisdom to preserve our existence, as the brains, science and knowledge that lack wisdom constitute a great danger to humans, societies and nature. As we witness today, a mind, in the absence of wisdom, can proceed in a speedy manner and lead us to dangers in different aspects of life, forcing humane societies to bear the toll and pay heavily due to the lack of wisdom.

Reviewing the past five centuries, the world has seen massive developments and advancement. However, if we take a closer look, we will realize that what has emerged is the development of our "cages" and hasn't tackled the essence of matters [impacting our lives]. While medicines have developed, the wellbeing of individuals has seen a dramatic decline. The majority of physical, psychological and societal diseases and problems can be cured by altering concepts and lifestyles. What is happening around the world today requires adopting a concept for the sciences that seeks to develop without destruction and saves nature from a danger imposed by human beings in particular. These are all issues that cannot be achieved in the absence of wisdom.

We need to reclaim the role of wisdom and re-discover this value, inherent in our language, literature, poetry and our infinite humane stories. It's time we focused on our strengths rather than our needs, as the post-Second World War managed to turn our attention towards our needs. We need to realize that wisdom is a key source of strength that people and societies possess. Let's avoid focusing on our needs, which tend to be consumptive needs, and our weaknesses that lead us to despise ourselves and our culture. I urge you to focus instead on our strengths in order to address our needs in a healthy and natural manner. Wisdom is on top of these sources of strength.

Wisdom lies in the lives of many of us and the stories that we all carry. We have started conducting a series of meetings, which we hope can be extended to cover different locations in the Arab world. We have also launched a website that is entrusted with reclaiming the role of wisdom in life. The website, which is still in its early stages, is a platform and a space to host every person who has a story and a piece of wisdom or anyone who wants to share experiences.

Through the humane stories, which we aspire to compile through "House of Wisdom", we hope that genuine steps can lead us towards reclaiming wisdom and safeguarding our journeys from the threats of a brain that functions without wisdom!

For more information, please visit the following website: http://www.beitalhikmah.ps/

Three hours from Casablanca... Resistance in Storytelling 

Adjacent to the Atlas Mountains, and just three hours from the city of Casablanca, I arrived in Beni Milal – the hotel Ousud, to be precise, where we would be staying. Ouzoud is the Amazigh word for 'olive'. It was eight in the evening and the sun in Beni Milal was about to set. Despite the long and exhausting journey, I was excited about participating in Layali Al-Haki, the seventh International Festival of Storytelling in Morocco, which was held this year in partnership with the Arab Education Forum / Hakaya Program.

The festival is organized by a team from the International Centre for Research in the Arts of Speech, overseen by Fatima Zahra Saleh. I met the team, who were full of enthusiasm, enjoying working in harmony – things were going smoothly. Meanwhile, participants and storytellers were arriving from different places (Palestine, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Canada, France and Belgium). Under the title "Resistance in the Storytelling," the festival kicked off its activities on the occasion of the centenary of the outbreak of the Moroccan resistance movement against French occupation, which served to highlight the importance of written history and memory in the preservation of oral history.

Perhaps the most striking feature of the Layali Al-Haki Festival of Storytelling, and what distinguishes it, is that it offers young Moroccans the opportunity to participate in these kind of shows. The opening presentation was a joint Moroccan-Belgian production, which was the outcome of a long workshop in which a number of artists from Morocco and Belgium had taken part. The production – about a research trip to collect a number of tales from the cities of Morocco – was presented in three languages: Arabic, Amazigh and French. A group of young people also joined storyteller Jack Lynch, after his screening of the film Sanctuary, and told their own personal stories, that they had worked on just a few hours before the show.

Over the course of three days the storytelling performances continued. The majority of the presentations were in French, along with two in Moroccan dialect or darija, while the storyteller Jack Lynch told a number of folk tales from Ireland in some of the English schools in Beni Milal to a group of students.

Storyteller Salman Natour, from Palestine, told some tales of the Palestinian Nakba or catastrophe (the founding of the state of Israel). The workshop band did a show to wrap up the event, where Rabee' Al-Zain sang parts of the historical epic Sirat Al-Hilalia, and the mawal song 'Hassan and Naima.' The audience joined in enthusiastically, and the show finished with a medley of songs from the Egyptian revolution.

In a seminar which took place over two days many university professors, academics and researchers spoke about resistance in poetry, songs, and folk tales. In addition to the papers presented, the Egyptian director Hasan El Geretly – who runs the Egyptian workshop team – made a statement on the role of popular song in resistance during the Egyptian revolution, and the workshop band performed three songs written and composed during the seminar.

Festival events finished off to the sound of the popular Moroccan folk dance heet, which transmits  the story of archers in the Atlas Mountains. The dance is characterized by its use of scissors during the dance, as well as tambourines. Everything in Beni Milal had a story; I left Beni Milal carrying many tales with me about resistance in folk tales, with the songs of the revolution still ringing in my ears. But my enthusiasm has increased even more, as we are all looking forward eagerly to more stories at the next regional meeting Tales of an Arab Spring: Who Writes People's History(ies)? later this month, in the heart of the city of Alexandria.

Suad Nofal

The Other Arabia

In the absence of a framework that focuses on supplementing cultural production with research, books and magazines, and audio-visual production, the website 'The Other Arabia' aims to improve the marketing and distribution of cultural products, most of which are not available in shops. The website is also keen to include your cultural works or art, either as a personal initiative or through a civil group, university, or official / semi-official institution.  The website will provide the ability to circulate your work to individuals, civil and governmental institutions, and cultural and educational initiatives in the Arab world.

'The Other Arabia' Program is cooperating with the Azkadunya Company, a distribution and sales network for cultural and educational products in the Arab world. The company's distribution and sales are facilitated mainly through its website, as well as through various events that provide a framework for marketing these products. For more information, see: http://www.azkadunya.com/