Archives for posts with tag: Recrear

During my last visit, I remember leaving Palestine with a sense of deep happiness. I went back to my daily life with the comforting awareness of knowing there is another pocket of the world in which I can feel at home. My second visit is being equally powerful and engaging.

I am taking some time to reflect on my experience during Recrear-Apply! while sitting in a lively coffee shop after a long day touring Jerusalem. We were given an incredible amount of information by a Palestinian tour-guide who took the time to walk for about 6 hours with us presenting an overview of both the politics and history of the city.

A big chunk of the history of the world is contained in the wall that surrounds the old city of Jerusalem. The city is packed with dense, important, spiritual history that is to me very hard to distill. Palestine is a land in which potentially powerful lessons for humanity are playing hide and seek behind politics and religion.

Just as I cannot easily digest and make sense to the information I received today, the people and the places I have visited in the last week are generating a ton of reflections that I have had little time to explore. In a land famous for its conflicts, I find myself being constantly positively amazed.

There is something almost irrational about the sense of satisfaction I feel after a leading a session during Recrear-Apply! As I answer students’ questions, I feed off the students’ sense of gratitude for our work. Similarly, it is simply priceless to be assisted by a number of people that are so genuinely glad to support and help your initiative.

To make justice to the happiness of the last days I need to thank few people – Mr. Mohammed, Yazan, all the volunteers at al-Najah deserve a humongous THANK YOU from me. To the students at Al-Najah a sincere MUA’ (which in Italy is the sound a big kiss makes!) Virtually every person we are meeting on our way in Palestine has donated to us a healthy dose of positive energy. While more articulated, transferrable lessons play hide and seek, I feel content with my joy.


I’ve had a great time instructing the sessions at Al-Najah. I really would do this for a living; and maybe someday I will. But for now, my regular life calls me to London, and that is where you will be able to find me from tonight.

I feel like I’ve had a largely positive impact and reception at the university. I don’t think that people were shy to ask me questions, even if they weren’t comfortable with the English language. It would have been great to stick around and develop my relationships with the students to an even greater extent. Alas, it was not to be.

However, the new addition to the team, K (yet another one). . . . is someone that all the students will instantly take to. Our flights miss each other by just 15 minutes and, in all probability, we’ll both be on the same tarmac in Tel-Aviv as her flight lands and mine prepares to take off.

As I mentioned to the team last night, when I joined Recrear at the Berlin Conference 5 months ago, I would never have imagined having a few drinks in Jerusalem after having successfully completed Part 1 of Recrear-Apply, with people who were only recently strangers to me.

This good fortune is owed in large part to K, and her insistence that I visit her in Berlin at this conference which, I will admit, I knew nothing about when I landed in Germany.

Although it goes without saying, I would like to ask, that if you are an Al-Najah student reading this then please extend to her, as you have to us, the warmest possible welcome.

K, if you are reading this, bonne chance! And, juste leblanc. 😀


Finally, a moment to sit and reflect on the importance of our work here in Nablus.

Life is grand here, in the purest sense of the word.  There is no talk of resistance, frustration, or retaliation; only progress.  The campus that has opened its doors wide to the Recrear team could actually be said to shadow the Universities we hail from.  Al-Najah is a golden beacon of white stone and marble in Palestine, leading the region to a strong position of education, communication and collaboration within their community.   With various public and private sponsorships; there are four campuses and over 20,000 students studying over 50 degree programs.   While we have been too busy planning and implementing our first days of workshops to receive a full campus tour, we managed to sneak in a quick walk around the Engineering Faculty (or facility as we call it) and we saw an amazing panoramic view from one of the student amphitheaters on the New Campus. (pictures in the feed)  Another highlight was the Media Center located across the amphitheater; still under construction was the production and filming rooms, but the 300,000 volume library was open(this is just one of the campus’ libraries) along with the multimillion dollar theater which, among other features, is able to translate four languages simultaneously into your own personal headphones during performances.  I’d also like to point out the student:computer ratio at Al-Najah is 4:1!!!

But enough about things, lets look at the fact that the 200-300 students that are participating in Recrear-Apply! are here on their holiday!  That’s right, two weeks with us and our powerpoints and various other presenters are working with the students on their time off of school.  Talk about motivation.  Based on the faces of the students and their feedback in sessions, I believe they can see how important the work we are doing is right now – and we are all loving the time spent together.

I want to take a quick moment to thank KM for working so hard over the past two days to launch this blog.  I would like to formally invite all of our followers (especially Al-Najah students and faculty)  to subscribe to this feed and also to comment as often as you would like.  This blog is not only for us to share with you what we are seeing, but as a way for you to ask us questions and introduce topics you would like to explore with us.  Want to know how we really feel about something?????   ASK!!!

Don’t forget – we are on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and our website!!!   Get inspired. Get connected. And lets CREATE!


So, today was the last day I’m going to be at Al-Najah with Recrear-Apply. I’ve had a fantastic time getting to know some of the students from this fine institution, all of whom have been excellent ambassadors for their community.

I had the most fun taking the session on Culture Shock, where the participants had intriguing views on the role of secularism, freedom of religion and the Islamic perspective. As these are all issues that I hold a strong personal and academic interest in, I hope that I imparted as much insight as I gained.

In addition, I found my TED-like session on The University of London and the Said Foundation was perhaps where I was best able to get my point across. My point being that: anyone at Al-Najah has the potential to get a place at a university or an internship somewhere out there in the wider world if they just believe in themselves and are willing to invest time in their futures from now.

Apart from the workshop, it has been an honor to get to work in the presence of luminaries such as my fellow presenters, Dr. Mohammed, Yazan and the team of magic-working volunteers. Thus, at this time, I would like to take this chance to express my deep gratitude to everyone I have had the good fortune to work with during my time here.

I hope to see you all again sometime in the future. And, I promise to blog again soon 😀