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By: Celia Polestra, Marqus Aphiler

We greatly appreciated the warmest hospitality and organization of the two week stay at An-Najah ‎University. Despite the complex situation, we enjoyed a complete feeling of security when ‎discovering the direct, deep and large experience of the reality and the profound problems of living ‎in Palestine. But we also deeply appreciated the fact that we were given a chance to discover the ‎strong engagement and the open-mindedness of the students and of all the other people we came to ‎know in order to cope with the problems and to resolve them in the best way for everyone. It has ‎been particularly astonishing to share opinions with female students, who demonstrated a profound ‎awareness and capacity to reflect on and discuss the Palestinian society as well as a concrete ‎willingness to share opinions at an international level. We feel that these women could represent a ‎strong energy in the future development of the country.‎

We enjoyed collaborating with other internationals and, of course, with our students of the ‎workshops, who demonstrated that they are able and ready to take the rudder. They were willing ‎and able to learn rapidly, although we had to notice that certain fundamental aspects on culture and ‎concepts in practice were not disposable in the way we thought they would be. But, on the other ‎hand, we ourselves have also learnt from our students.‎

The lectures and the visits were very interesting and they opened up our minds to the reality of ‎Palestine, not only regarding the very problematic relationship with Israel, but also the problems ‎inside the Palestinian society. The visit to the Freedom Theatre was extremely interesting and ‎surprising. In this sense we would have appreciated more experience with the cultural initiatives ‎and movements, which promote their part of resistance (literature, music and performing arts) ‎through cultural and artistic activities as instrument of local social development. We also think that ‎artists could play a greater role as international ambassadors of Palestine and promoters of ‎international exchanges.‎

Finally we wish to pass on our deepest thanks to Zajel Program and all the local volunteers, who not ‎only have been doing great work in assisting us and organizing even the minor problems and issues, ‎but have also anticipated every need and problem almost every time along with the solution. Great ‎synergy and competence have characterized our stay.‎

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