|Creating Reality - Statewide Seminar for Student Activists, Jerusalem, June 3, 2011|
The annual statewide seminar for student activists, titled "Creating Reality", took place at Beit Breter, the Authority for Community and Youth, at the Givat Ram Campus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Following five years of large seminars mostly for students who are new to civic activism, this year the seminar focused on the needs of more experienced student activists. Over 50 Arab and Jewish students, from institutions of higher education and civic engagement frameworks from across the country, participated in the seminar. Our main partner in the organization of the seminar, as in previous years, was Mahapah-Taghir, and the seminar was guided by a steering committee of student activists engaged in several frameworks, who are graduates of our previous seminars.
For the seminar invitation (in Hebrew and Arabic) press here.
The seminar's main objectives was to provide experienced student activists with a place for thorough examination of practical tools for social activism, as used by a range of organizations and social movements, alongside exposure to new campaigns and struggles, and to critical thought about relevant social problems.
After a plenary opening session, students were asked to choose between four main tracks: status-less persons, urban planning, education and society, and partnership and inclusion. Each of these tracks/themes incorporated two workshops or panels that presented both a theoretical perspective and practical tools for change, discussing current case studies, and evaluating the tools and strategies in light of their effectiveness. The second part of the day included a study tour, a documentary film, and two workshops – all related to successful social change efforts, investigating the strategies that contributed to the success of each struggle. A closing session was held for participants to share their conclusions and overview, and feedback questionnaires were filled.
For the seminar program (in Hebrew and Arabic) press here.
From the tour to Lifta
Students participating in this year's seminar were pleased about the opportunity to participate in a smaller, more intimate setting that enabled a more straight-forward, yet intricate dialogue, and a more direct acquaintance with fellow participants. Students mentioned the different sessions were an important introduction to the work of a range of organizations, and to the tools and strategies for change which may now enrich their activism. Yet students also asked to return to the two-day seminar format, which they felt is more inspiring and energizing, and better cultivates dialogue and the connections among participants and organizations.
The annual statewide student seminar is singular event – there is no comparative framework in Israel. It therefore remains a rare occasion for shaping and inspiring an activist student discourse, and for reinforcing the relations among students, academia, and organizations for social change.