Capacity Building Workshop
 The world in a Nutshell
   January 2013
Francais ÚÑÈí


In This Issue

Apply for travel grants from Safar Fund and resume weaving your journeys
Reflections on mobility
Our tale continues to unfold with “Hakaya”
A story from the Arab Storytellers Forum
The journey for new learning paths continues

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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





This project is funded by the European Union

As we brace for a new year, let the mobility begin!

We encourage you to apply for travel grants from Safar Fund and resume weaving your journeys in this New Year!

Mobility is what re-connects individuals with others and takes them into a journey inwards: towards understanding the self. It enriches life with a deeper meaning. In 2013, Safar Fund aspires to reach out to a larger number of Arab countries, becoming an integral part of your experiences, journeys and apprenticeships.

In order to apply for a travel grant, you need to be a socially engaged young person, aged between 15 and 35 years old. Whether an artist or a social entrepreneur, you need to be actively involved in initiatives and voluntary activities in your community. As an applicant, you should use mobility either as a means to find an inspiring story or experience or as a learning tool in different parts of the Arab world.

We are eagerly waiting for your applications and journeys.
To apply please click here.

Reflections on mobility

Mobility in Jericho: the city of the moon.
Samer Al Sharif – one of the managers of Safar local Fund in Palestine

One day before our trip to Jericho and Wadi Al Qelt, Hareth, Hamdan, Yusra, Salwa, Hassan, Mbayyad, Mahmoud and I gathered together at the AEF office in El Bireh and started to draw a map on the white board. Only then did the enormity of the event that would take place the following day dawn on us. It all hit us when we started counting the number of participants from all areas and realized that none of us knew where the bus would stop in the morning in Wadi Al Qelt and where Munir will be waiting for us!

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 show up!

Mohammad Mbayyed presented the program and its highlights. As usual, Hassan kept complaining that meetings are not necessary claiming that “on the ground everything is easy”. Yusra showed empathy, giving important tips and comments, and then along with Hassan she made tea for all of us. And as usual, Hareth wanted to take responsibility for everything. I was writing on the board and trying to compile all the details of this trip on one page, to help take some of the burden of responsibility off Hareth’s back.

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!

A “Safar” travel experience.
Ahmad Sabsoub – a Safar Program grantee in Palestine

During my last trip to Wadi Al Qelt, I realized the splendor of this valley. We found ourselves walking in the footsteps of thousands if not millions of people who lived here and passed through that narrow path. We saw the rocks looming down on us from every side, like paintings showcasing people’s fate. Oh God, what a beautiful country this is!

It is a place where you feel souls wandering in every spot. If you shout, you can’t be sure not to awaken these souls or enchant sleeping rocks that only wake up to echo your voice and tell you: “you are here, you are the echo, you have the responsibility to stay so don’t leave”. I leave a part of me in every spot I visit. In every trip that I enjoy, I never feel tired or exhausted, on the contrary, I worry about missing a moment and not enjoying it to the fullest. They say that “when two lovers meet, they carry an equal amount of love, longing for each other and determination”. There is a bond that wants you to come closer, as the passion of this earth conveyed to me the joy it felt when my hands touched the rocks in this part of the world. I felt the breeze touching me and it was the breath of ancient spirits examining my identity, rejoicing when I tell myself “I love my land”.

Our tale continues to unfold with “Hakaya”

Abdul Salam Khaddash – Palestine

I still recall our first encounter when we actually launched the Hakaya project a few years back. We gathered together, as individuals and organizations, all concerned with the promotion of literacy, reading, and expression within the Arab world, in what came out to be a very rich and diverse meeting, emphasizing the importance of expression and creating learning environments.

We believed in literacy and reading habits that are not necessarily confined to literary texts, as we should also reflect on what’s happening in our lives. “Reading life” in this sense enables people to listen to narratives and voices full of wisdom and indigenous knowledge, shaped in an organic way of transmission. This means that we need to read reality, as language alone is not enough to carry out this mission. From that moment on, the story of Hakaya started to gradually evolve and prosper. And now after three years of working in a consortium supported by the EU, we organized our collective evaluation and planning forward meeting in Amman in December 2012.

Hakaya is an Arab project that promotes the concept of learning through connecting storytelling to art and life. It strengthens the relationships and networks among individuals and organizations in the Arab world who believe in the power of storytelling as a means to patch the social fabric. The project also reinforces the bond with future generations through reclaiming the power of tales by collecting, documenting and telling them.

With these relationships and beautiful connections that brought together those who agreed to proceed and invest their energy in this project, my participation in Hakaya, as a representative of Tamer Institute for Community Education or in my personal capacity, had a remarkable addition to my journey. I have developed a stronger conviction in learning as an intellectually liberating journey, one that views the human being as a full partner in shaping meaning and an active participant in learning that includes storytelling.

As another inspiring phase of our joint program “Hakaya” came to an end, we met in Amman in December 21-22, 2012. This meeting was an opportunity to re-iterate our commitment to the partnership that brought us together in the first instance and the importance of resuming the project. We also emphasized the need to intensify our individual and collective efforts to promote this art form in the Arab world and expand the scope of work to include other partners who believe in the power of storytelling as a learning tool.

Meeting participants: Serene Huleileh, Abdul Salam Khaddash, Moataz Dajani, Reem AbuKishk, Samer Al Sharif, Mais Irqsusi, Hassan Greitly, Renad Qubbaj, Lubna Al Jaqqa, Faiha Abdul Hadi, Suad Nabhan and Raed Asfour.

The following participants also joined us through Skype: Wahid Hentati, Munir Fasheh and Wassim Kurdi.

Participants took part in this meeting in their personal and professional capacities as representatives of the following organizations: The Arab Education Forum (Jordan and Palestine), ARCPA/ Al Jana Foundation (Lebanon), El Warsha Theatre Troupe (Egypt), Tamer Institute for Community Education (Palestine), Al Balad Theatre (Jordan), The Arab Theatre Training Center (Lebanon), Dunya Al Hikaya (Tunisia), The Qattan Centre for Educational Research and Development (Palestine) and Action Aid (Denmark).

In addition, Nora Amin from Egypt and Fatima Zahra Saleh from Morocco who were not able to join the meeting still took part in all of the email discussions prior to and following the meeting.

A world in a nutshell
A story from the Arab Storytellers Forum

Moamen al Muhammadi, Egyptian journalist

Our story today is about a man who goes to the mosque to pray. At the entrance he meets a simple poor man calling to whoever wants to listen: “God can put this entire world in a nutshell”.

The man, upon hearing this, looks at the speaker with disdain, scolds him for his crazy stories, and then by some miracle the hand of God takes him into a trying escapade. As he started to wash in preparation for prayer, he found himself transformed into a woman stranded on the shores of a river. A man finds her, takes her to his house, his wife dies, and so our friend, who is now in the form of a woman, ends up marrying and gives birth to two boys and a girl. One day she goes to bathe in the river, and suddenly finds herself returning to her initial form: a man preparing for prayer.

Following the end of the prayers, he walks out of the mosque to find the man still calling and saying that God is capable of putting the whole world in a “nutshell”. He says to the man:” yes, I believe you”. The simple man looks at him with deep sorrow and says: “you didn’t believe me until you had two sons and a daughter, didn’t you?”

The audience in the Arab Storytellers Forum listened to this story, as it was recounted in the Egyptian dialect by the renowned Egyptian storyteller Arfa Abdul Rasoul. The story is also printed in a book entitled “Tales of Daqhaliyya” which contains stories and tales from that region in Egypt, and re-printed by the El Warsha theatre troupe/ Hakaya program.

The forum, which took place in November 25-29, 2012, was hosted by Al Warsha Theatre Troupe in cooperation with the Arab Education Forum and Hakaya Program, supported by the European Union. The forum sought to bring together a group of top notch storytellers from the Arab world with a number of young aspiring Egyptian storytellers in unique learning by apprenticeship experience.

The “nutshell” was not only a title for the story, but rather a perfect description of storytelling itself. If God is capable of putting this whole world in a nutshell, then this nutshell can only be “the oral story” considered by the participants in the forum as “the grandmother” of all arts. If theatre is the “father of arts”, then the story is surely the mother of theatre.

The journey for new learning paths continues

Naturally, the year 2012 was packed with ideas, activities and new knowledge on the intellectual and personal levels. We also encountered many challenges during the last year, but we understand that it is impossible to remain stagnant.

We begin this year with a lot of goodbyes as some of our team members are moving. Some have spent with us less than a year, while others spent more than three years, and they will all be missed equally. While they are departing the Arab Education Forum, they will always remain members of the larger AEF family. We will remember them for their individual qualities as well as their contribution to the journey of this initiative, which would not have possible without the efforts of everyone concerned, both employees and volunteers.

We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to:

Tala Nabulsi: Tala was the Program Manager and Istikshaf Program Manager for the year 2012. She left her mark on the programs as well as the Arab Education Forum in general.
Reem AbuKishk: Reem was Hakaya Program Manager since 2011 and she has always been, and will continue to be, an active member of the Hakaya Advisory Board.
Suad Nofal: A distinguished member of the team, Suad has served as Communications and Outreach Officer at The Arab Education Forum for three years.
Nour Eddine Shbeita: Nour is the coordinator of Jeerah and one of the leading volunteers in this initiative.

We wish them all the best of luck in their future endeavors.

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