after our successsful conference in Hounslow, on Education and Twinning, we are proud to annouce
Britain - Palestine; Strengthening the links
29th April 2017 29/4/2017
Law Building, Birzeit University
An opportunity for twinning groups from across Britain and Palestine to meet and share their experiences of twinning.
Our patron Hanan Al Hroub and Mohammad Kobari (British Council) welcome delegates for a day to look at how twinning between Britain and Paleastine has developed over a decade.
Exploring themes of education and twinning;
Keynote speaker: Hanan Al Hroub Global Teacher of the Year 2016 and Palestinian Patron of the British Palestine Friendship and Twinning Network
We are proud that the volunteers from the Right to Education programme in Birzeit Univeristy will be greeting our delegates.
Refreshments are provided, in the way of tea and coffee provided at venue.
While lunch available from University canteen.
£10 conference charge for foreign nationals,
All Palestine twinners welcome: free entry
Names of all British participants needed urgently for University security prior to the event.
Palestinian/British Friendship and Twinning Conference, 2017
09:15 – registration
10:00 - Welcome address then brief introductions by each friendship/twinning team
10:30 - Hanan Al Hroub Global Teacher of the Year 2016 and Palestinian Patron of the British Palestine Friendship and Twinning Network
11:00 – Panel Discussion "Twinning in Palestine, How it works”
12:00 - Right to Education speaker
13:30 DVD: Introducing the British Network : Presented by Samiha Abdeldjebar Producer
14:00 Mohammad Kobari (British Council) "British/Palestinian Education links, including Connecting Classrooms".
14:30 Workshops- Co-operation between groups: what makes twinning work.
15:30 closing session
Andree Ryan considers some ways that we can make peaceful links of friendship with partners in Palestine:
British voluntary organisations, in churches, towns and villages across the United Kingdom, have created links of friendship or established formal twinning ties with a partner in Palestine.
Exchanges benefit both partners: think of art, culture, craft and cooking. There are so many diverse ways to create mutual support and mutual respect. People who participate in twining schemes make lots of friends, perhaps visit their twin and receive visitors in turn, learn new skills and find that lots of people in their community are ready and willing to support them. The scope of activities can be huge, depending on individual choice, what matters to the group.
The Britain Palestine Friendship and Twinning Network (BPFTN) is an organisation with links to Quakers that offers support to new groups here in the UK. It has a list of prospective places/organisations in Palestine seeking friendly contact with British potential partners. In my area we have had for 5 years a friendship link with the village of Sabastiya in the Northern West Bank (www.hafsa.org)
Why build friendship with Palestine? Palestinians have been living under Israeli military occupation for forty-eight years. They feel isolated – that is one of the many effects of occupation - and welcome contact with the outside world. Such a link helps to give them the moral and practical support they need to survive and look ahead.
tHE UK has a tradition of supporting the oppressed. Friendship and Twinning Associations are a two-way street – we form lasting friendships and learn all about resilience in the face of adversity. Palestinians gain practical and visible support benefiting people on the ground, including those suffering the greatest hardship. Our activities stay away from rhetoric and “politics” to address everyday concerns, sharing experiences, breaking that artificial isolation.
If you decide to take part in a twinning project, the choice of focus for cooperation is yours. Some groups have sent volunteers to Palestine to teach English or other skills, others have concentrated on helping communities to become economically self-sufficient (such as promoting tourism from the UK, buying chickens, or beehives, or organising training). Some have invited Palestinian artists and theatre groups to perform in the UK; others have sent football coaches. Some have offered advocacy on how to obtain support in Palestine and have lobbied our own government on practical issues affecting their Palestinian twin - often with good results. What matters is what works, for you and for your Palestinian partners.
Andree is a member of Hanwell Friends of Sebastiya
Our 2015 conference looked at what makes an effective group. How we can navigate the complicated political and social issues that confront us in times. In 2016 we look to build links, exchanges and friendships.
Speakers at our conference reminded us of the situation we face. Tony Laurence, CEO of MAP, looked at the physical situation in Gaza, where over 40% live in absolute poverty. 20,000 homes have been destroyed, yet only one has been rebuilt. Vincent Fean talked of the political complexity of building discussion and understanding of the situation. While Diana Safieh, St John’s eye hospital, talked of working along the line between sides.
As always the fundamental purpose of our conference was to bring twinning and friendship groups together. This year delegates from 18 of our members were present, together we created an agenda for 2016.
The BPFTN has been tasked to help make all groups be more effective. Addressing issues such as BDS, human rights, exchanges, visits, education and money. We hope to be developing links with the Balfour Project, promoting cultural exchange, offering materials for presentations and meetings, and encouraging links for volunteers and students and others.
A full report on our conference will be available shortly. Please get in contact with any suggestions or thoughts. Get involved with your local groups and help build
Jean Fitzpatrick (BPFTN Treasurer and Joint Membership Secretary) accompanied a group from the Camarthen area of Wales on a visit to Palestine exploring history, culture and potential links.
Arriving in Jerusalem on May 11th the group spent time exploring Jerusalem and Bethlehem. In Bethlehem they visited Aida Refugee Camp and Wi’am Centre for Reconciliation. In Wi’am they found an “oasis of calm", close to a check point and hard up against the wall the group learnt about the women’s and children’s groups activities.
Moving north the group headed to Sebastiya and a beautiful guest house. From there they visited four villages actively seeking friendship links and others who wanted to share stories of life under occupation. In Taybeh they visted schools.
In Rummameh - north west of Jenin – they again came close to the wall. At this stage the wall becomes an electrified fence, dividing families and separating people from their land.
In Burqin they gained an insight into the history of the land and peoples. Visiting a church founded in the 4th Century C.E.
While all the while gaining an understanding of the difficulties which are part of everyday life. Over a week the tour touched upon some of the issues that twinning seeks to understand.
First-time visitors were impressed and moved by everyone we have met and talked to.
We have also widened our network of Palestinian friends and really feel the network can grow with their commitment and support.
Contact us for more details or to start talking about tours for 2016 firstname.lastname@example.org
East Suffolk, a newly formed group hosted an event in support of the Women in Hebron. Recent visitor Melissa shared her experience staying with in Hebron.
23 people turned up on Thursday evening to listen and explore five stalls of local crafts. In all £110 was raised towards the planned children's space.
For more information please get in contact
mescey design @pressense
mescey design @pressense