The School of Communication, which is the host of the Media and Exchange program, provides training, resources, technical support and networks to Palestinian youth, women and educators in order to raise skills in the communication of Palestine. Communicating Palestine is understood to cover both human rights and political aspects as well as the cultural heritage of Palestine. The program brings together international volunteers and guest lecturers in offering content-related and skill-based training courses on various dimensions of communication. Furthermore, the School provides and develops, together with its trainees, various resources such as publications, videos, expositions, and written and visual documentation. All these will further encourage students to engage in media and communications projects with learning communities abroad.
The workshops and courses presently offered are:
- Language courses, especially conversation in English and French for beginners and intermediate levels, using active and creative methods and resources led by qualified international volunteers.
- Annually, two-three workshops in video-making for beginners and intermediate levels; the focus is on the communication of daily life in Bethlehem and Palestine.
- Annually a workshop in blog-writing, to create strong narratives about Palestinian life.
- Annually, a week-long workshop in the making of animation cartoons, including the development of drawing and photo materials and editing.
- Annually, a workshop in photography: shooting interesting photograps and putting them on a website.
- Upon request, guidance in the making of interviews with women connected through the Sumud House; including registration techniques, methodology and editing.
- Upon request, courses in Arabic as second language, for visiting foreigners
The courses and workshops are provided to AEI groups as well as AEI’s outreach partners and the community at large.
Holy Switch project
At the initiative of ChurchinAction in the Netherlands, a group of teenagers of the school group of AEI-Open Windows is involved in regularly making video and writing blogs for the Dutch HolySwitch website. The blogs show ordinary life in Bethlehem and Palestine, both the oppression, the culture (feasts for instance), and the little things of daily life, such as life at school. The website is a well-used resource in the Netherlands for Dutch teenagers who need to prepare a project at school about Palestine, Israel or the Middle East. On a separate track, an Israeli educational organization is providing video blogs to the site. During summer 2009, the Palestinian youth met the Israeli blogging youth for the first time, during a camp in the Netherlands.