Training Seminar for Student Activists

Training Seminar for Student Activists, Hadassah Neurim, November 24-25, 2006
Mahapach-Taghir began its activity year 2006/7 with a statewide student seminar that brought together all active students in the organization, and built the pedagogical and political framework. The seminar included 170 students from all seven Mahapach-Taghir communities. The preparation process involved intense work, with roles divided between the statewide team members and the regional coordinators', emphasizing the principle of partnership and dialogue which is an inseparable part of the seminar design process. It was important for the statewide team not to take upon itself the entire role of leading the seminar, but to enable the coordinators, including the new coordinators, to lead the organization of the seminar.
Regarding the planning of the various sessions, a logical flow between the different units was intended, as the issues of each unit were connected, aiming to generate a process of reflection among the students. This emanated from the order of the units, as well as the connections between the national-political-economic which were illustrated throughout the sessions.
The following is the order of the units and activities at the seminar:
  • Plenary acquaintance: What is Mahapach-Taghir? Presentation in Hebrew and Arabic. - Tammy Schneider and Kholod Edris.
  • Acquaintance in the community groups, including discussion of expectations. - community coordinators.
  • Why community and student activism? - community coordinators.
  • Lecture: the socio-political situation in Israel - Ephraim Davidi.
  • Acquaintance with the community and the neighborhood. - community coordinators.
  • Social evening: "On a cup of coffee". Alternative café.
  • Memories of school. - community coordinators.
  • Tracking and exclusion. Lecture in three groups: Tammy Schneider, Haggith Gor Ziv, Kholod Edris.
  • Critical pedagogy - discussions. - community coordinators.
  • Critical pedagogy practice - elective workshops (for example: partnership with parents, reading and writing, educational/pedagogical games, gender in work with children, work with youth, ecology, tackling children violence.)
  • Summary/conclusion in the community groups. - community coordinators.
  • Plenary summary.
The informal conversations between students, and the informal encounters throughout the breaks, were very meaningful and created an atmosphere of solidarity, community and dialogue.
Palestinian-Jewish partnership in the seminar
The seminar opened with a lecture about Mahapach-Taghir, and its connection to the social situation in Israel. Holding a lecture in both Hebrew and Arabic initiated a dialogue about the meaning of partnership in the organization, and its identity: what is its socio-political agenda towards students of different identities? The lecture in both languages raised sensitive questions relating to language and identity.
The concept of partnership was further expressed in the different seminar units: class partnership, Jewish-Palestinian partnership, and partnership in the neighborhood. In addition, a special workshop was devoted to veteran students' critical study of the Nakba, (written of further in detail).
The coordinators worked intensively with the students throughout the seminar, both in planning and in facilitation, which also enabled the veteran students' full partnership in the design of the seminar and possibility of facilitating a workshop. Further, the coordinators facilitated units that involved not only students from their community, but also those from other communities, particularly units that deal with pedagogical practice.
Veteran students in the seminar
A great number of the veteran students took upon themselves the responsibility of facilitating some of the sessions, which enhanced the learning atmosphere and sharing of knowledge. The ability to learn from the experience of veteran students elicited interesting discussions, and raised dilemmas from previous experience.
Further, a special section of the seminar was designed especially for veteran students in order to promote the creation of a group that will take upon itself to advance student activism through Mahapach-Taghir statewide, and locally in the different communities.
The sessions for veteran students included:
  • Place of veteran students in Mahapach-Taghir - vision. - Nidaa Khalilia-Khatib.
  • What further? From vision to action. - Marcelo Wexler.
  • Critical learning about 1948. Uri Gopher, Zochrot. An important unit that lead to discussion of different narratives, their legitimacy, and possibilities of action for students.
Significant accomplishments of the seminar:
  • Seminar designed jointly by the statewide team, the community coordinators, and veteran students.
  • Involvement of many students in the preparations.
  • Strong bonds formed between the coordinators.
  • Diverse and enriching issues discussed in the workshops.
  • Interest that was raised by the seminar among the students, for continuation, and for deepening the connections between students statewide.
  • Political guidance of students who are active through the learning centers.