Dialogue and Education for a Continued Palestinian Presence in East Jerusalem (2016-2017)
The conflict over the status of Jerusalem is often cited as the most sensitive, central and emotive of the conflicts shaking the Middle East region as a whole. While discussion in the peace process as to the Holy City's future had long been postponed at Israel's insistence, Palestinians in the annexed occupied city face a situation where negotiations have stalled, where Israel continues unabated establishing irreversible facts on the ground, and where they continue to suffer the daily abuse of occupation in the form of Israeli discriminatory practices against them.
Building on its longstanding and extensive involvement in the Question of Jerusalem, PASSIA implemented a project consisting of dialogue sessions and seminars that aimed at imparting the Palestinian narrative and Arab cultural heritage as well as the necessary knowledge, discussion and skills to keep and develop the Palestinian presence in Jerusalem. The dialogue sessions contributed to an ongoing discussion about the issues at stake and new developments in the city and allowing the Palestinian “voice” to remain heard in and with regard to Jerusalem. The roundtables and workshops not only help in developing a better informed citizenry but also served representatives of diplomatic mission and international agencies by providing them with informed debate and insights of the Palestinian discourse.
The project’s seminar component aimed at empowering young Palestinians from Jerusalem through a program of education, training and skills development to successfully draft and implement local civic initiatives and bottom-up activities that will assist in protecting Palestinian rights and presence in the city.
In order to develop the capacities needed, PASSIA organized and conducted two four-day intensive training programs for activists and professionals, which incorporated lectures, discussions, and case studies related to Jerusalem’s history and current situation, as well as hands-on training sessions aimed to develop the participants’ practical media, communication, advocacy, lobbying and planning skills.
The first seminar focused on Advocacy & Lobbying and enhanced the participants’ capacity and effectiveness to engage in advocacy, policy development, and public awareness activities against the background of the situation they face in Jerusalem. It provided practical knowledge of what advocacy is, possible approaches and lobbying instruments, and the art of running campaigns, thus enabling young activists to deal more effectively with constituencies and representatives, to better track policies and to plan and implement advocacy and lobbying strategies and campaigns.
The second seminar focused on Media and Communication Skills and developed the participants’ ability to formulate communication strategies, make winning presentations, communicate effectively, plan media events, and be successful in public relations.