Capacity Building Workshop
 Action, thought, imagination, and passion...
   February 2013
Francais ÚÑÈí


In This Issue

International Workshop with Praline Gay-Para and Abbi Patrix
Drama in a Learning Context
Istikshaf presents: The Arab Travelers’ online Guide
Exploring the different meanings of Jeera (neighborhood)
Job Vacancies at the Arab Education Forum – Jordan

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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 program 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


International workshop with Praline Gay-Para and Abbi Patrix in La Maison du Conte / Chevilly-Larue / France , June 10 to 14, 2013.

Contact Us

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


ahmad hammad bldg 4th floor El Bireh, palestine P.O. Box 4361
Tel: +9722961829 or +972599127223




This project is funded by
the European Union

International Workshop with Praline Gay-Para and Abbi Patrix
In La Maison du Conte/Chevilly-Larue/ France

June 10 to 14, 2013
10h – 18h (5 days, 35 hours)
+ A public session on the evening of the 13th

This workshop is for storytellers who have advanced professional experience and who are fluent in one of the following languages: French, English, Arabic, Creole or Scandinavian.
We will explore the international repertoire, insisting on the singularity and the universality of the stories. You may work in your mother tongue or in an acquired language.

Two central points of exploration will be: musicality of language and the body as a vehicle for language.
Group work and observing other’s work will challenge each storyteller to question his or her own practice.

Teaching fee: personal 400 € / associations or exterior grants 800 €. Transport, food and lodging on your behalf.

Grants of La Maison du Conte: in according with Hakaya network, 3 grants will be given by selection by Hakaya and La Maison du Conte, to professionnal storytellers coming from the Middle East or in link with the Hakaya network. In this case, teaching fees will be free, but transport, food and lodging will be on your behalf. To apply for the grants, send a CV and a cover letter to .

* Information and booking for the workshop (exept grants):
00(33)149085085 – Claire Rassinoux from the 4th September 2012
* Information and application for Maison du Conte’s grants:

Drama in a Learning Context

Wassim al Kurdi
Qattan Center for educational research and Development
Ramallah, Palestine

(1) Ever since I was a school teacher I was never too concerned with improving teaching methods, even after I became a professional who works with teachers. I was in fact more concerned with what education can do in this historical context where at the age of 52 I still haven't witnessed the independence of my country that continues to suffer from a most hideous and violent occupation.

(2) Within such a context, education should be a motivator for actions that seek freedom, aspire to it, search and strive to achieve it. From my teaching experience I realized how important it is not to reconcile oneself to the nature of schools because in its worst forms it can be a processor that prevents children from being free, and at best it will mold them in accordance with their society; conditioning them to be good employees. It is worth noting here that this is what Britain did in Palestine during the Mandate in terms of "improving education in Palestine", and the result was students who became good and, perhaps even, excellent employees according to operational measures of performance, and the school became a factory producing employees for the Mandate government, rather than citizens who strive to change their reality and life in their pursuit of freedom.

(3) So, what can we do? Especially given that the school as an educational institution has and still retains an esteemed status amongst people, gaining added value for Palestinians after their dispossession and exodus of 1948 and the ensuing establishment of the state of Israel. Education in our society has an elevated status thanks to our forefathers who lost their homes, cities, and villages, and suddenly found themselves tent-dwelling refugees, so they decided to invest in the education of their children: they had nothing else left to call their own.

We also had no idea if we will find bicycles in the city center at the roundabo, or whether the shop owner will be able to train our amateur cyclists on how to ride the bicycles, as promised, on the road behind the Russian museum and the Gemmayzeh tree. The man who owned the donkey cart might never shok.

The bus stopped at the first and second stops. We met with a group from Bethlehem and Munir and then we started marching in the valley. We passed by the monastery quickly and we had a lot of discussions, talks and smiles and when the road became steep and narrow, our fears grew. We held each other and finally reached our destination safe and sound. We all raced to the bathroom!

(4) This is why it is difficult to convince a Palestinian that the school is not the path of redemption but rather of adherence and submission. Given this situation the burning question arose: is it better to abandon this formal educational institution, or deal with it as a community institution within which we need to re-chart power relations and open spaces that, albeit limited, could be wide enough for imagination to roam and allow students' expression to flourish?

(5) We must then focus on a critical dialogue with the school curriculum, especially that it is our first opportunity as Palestinians to construct our own curricula. Of course I recognize that this process was convoluted and that our new curricula are governed by political, social, and historical power relations, and as such require constant questioning not only by the educators but also by the students: every day and every moment.

(6) To cut a long story short, this was my choice. Ever since I became a language and literature teacher I decided to work with the story, the tale. The story is the equivalent of life, and permits us to expose, question, and reproduce its meanings. I then discovered the field of Drama in Education and combined the two together, after a long period of working with education isolated from theatre. This is where a new kind of journey started; my experience with using drama in a learning context, followed by my experience of working with teachers that is manifested today in the "Drama in a learning context" program which includes the Summer School.

(7) Drama for me is an act of expression, and an act within expression, it is a search in the question of freedom, reconstructing relationality, taking a stance that becomes an action that in turn becomes a new stance; it is the production of knowledge from different perspectives; action, thought, imagination, and passion...

"Drama in a learning context" is a program within the "Arts and Education" track at the Qattan Center for educational research and Development/ AbdulMohsen Qattan foundation. It is a program that utilizes drama in education as a comprehensive learning context that takes into consideration the full scope of a student's personality/character. For more information:

Istikshaf presents: The Arab Travelers’ online Guide

The mobility of artists and cultural activists is gaining increased importance following the pivotal events that have shaken the Arab world in the past two years. It became evident that mobility produces experiences reflecting pluralism, and sheds light on new, exciting, and rich areas within that have the potential to become sources of inspiration and a platform for exchange of experiences. These developments, in addition to our experience with Safar youth mobility fund, has prompted us to start working on a guide that compiles all the necessary information for travelers and explorers in search of inspiring learning experiences, in an attempt to further promote a culture of mobility for learning. This guide will be produced for and by travelers and will be an important resource for young artists and social entrepreneurs in the Arab world to help them continue their journey of exploration, discovery, learning, and creativity. We will not start from scratch and will benefit from experiences and knowledge produced by other organizations and individuals working in the field, whether commercial or non-profit. However, what is unique about this online guide is that it’s in Arabic, and will be produced by travelers, young and old, seeking learning opportunities. In other words, it’s not about tourism, or even cultural tourism, it’s about a learning experience connected to mobility.

The “Istikshaf” website will be launched during the first half of 2013, containing an interactive space that allows users to contribute and share their experiences of places they visited or live in. We hope that all Arab travelers will choose to contribute to this online guide and share information about their country, a city they love or live in, a person or initiative they recommend that people visit and learn from, or an inspiring place. The site will also provide useful information about entry and visa requirements, type of transportation available, customs and traditions, weather, the official and other spoken languages, as well as residency spaces Everyone is invited to share cherished stories about the city and its people, all of which will help draw a clearer – and hopefully very inspiring - picture in the mind of the traveler/ visitor about his/her destination.

If you wish to share information about your city before the website is featured online, please contact and request a form to fill.

Exploring the different meanings of Jeera (neighborhood)

The core concept of “neighborhood” is knowledge and a relationship, underpinned by the exchange of values and interests and governed by the public interest. It is a space for learning, participation, supporting each other, sharing joy and sadness, productivity, celebration, joint work, living side by side and eventually shaping a life.

This concept is only complemented by a certain degree of accepting diversity, respecting people’s freedoms and encouraging tolerance and mutual understanding. It does not accept authoritarian rule and infringing upon people’s privacy. In its positive sense, Jeera or the concept of the “neighborhood” continues to fill us with hope, as “the world will still be fine as long as there are good neighbors” as goes the popular saying.

Ruwwad Community center, Amman

Jeerah or “neighborhood” is about the sense of responsibility. Neighbors are like family, and so the relationship extends well beyond the question of need and is actually perceived as a responsibility. Jeerah is about seeing, hearing and feeling with each other in the neighborhood, street and city, and it includes people and nature as well in its definition. It means experiencing this feeling of “neighborhood” with the trees, taking good care of them and not cutting them. It means feeling it with the street, making sure that we keep it clean for ourselves and others and not using our cars a lot so that we protect our city from pollution. It means smiling at each other wherever we are, respecting the queues and order in official and non-official establishments, and to refrain from making fun of others because they are different, and the list goes on.

The Arab Education Forum

The story that comes to mind when thinking of Jeera is when our neighbor taught my mom how to cook. The neighbor was an old lady and my mom was a young bride who didn’t know anything about cooking. On the other hand, my mom had a car, and so she would take the neighbor with her on her shopping trips every week.

Mais, Jeera core team

In Amman, I missed the intimacy that I experienced in Irbid. Here, I feel like a nobody, but the concept of Jeerah has made me feel I can reclaim that intimacy in this new city of mine.

Fatima, Jeera team

Job Vacancies at the Arab Education Forum – Jordan

If you are interested in working at the AEF we currently have two job vacancies:

Accountant/ Financial manager
Public Policy Advocacy campaign coordinator (Istikshaf)

The main qualifications necessary to work with us, in addition to the technical knowledge and experience required for the specific job, and a good working knowledge of Arabic and English (writing and reading), you need to be able and willing to learn, volunteer and work cooperatively within a team, have a passion for reading and learning about inspiring ideas, and a sense of adventure and initiative to explore new experiences.

If you are interested please send an email explaining why you wish to work with the AEF with a copy of your CV, preferable in Arabic, but we accept letters sent in English as well.
Please send your email to:

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