MA in Culture and Difference 2011-12
Wala' lives in Hebron and graduated at Bethlehem University in English Literature in 2010. She then worked as an Intercultural Learning Tutor for the International Palestine Youth League, an NGO that focuses on developing the skills of women and young people, and promoting democracy and cross-cultural education.
Her many voluntary activities included being a Student Ambassador for international delegations to Bethlehem University, working at the IPYL's Media Centre, and joining Youth Against Settlements to expose Israeli human rights violations. She represented young Palestinians at the Global Youth Congress in Liverpool and, in 2008, she was selected to attend the University of Alabama for a semester and to be a Palestinian cultural representative there.
Wala' is especially interested in questions of identity, particularly the social, racial, cultural and gender issues arising from bi-culturalism, and she is widely read in the works of Amy Tan, Gloria Anzaldua and Erich Fromm.
Her Durham MA (awarded with Distinction) has encouraged Wala' to seek work in a Palestinian inter-cultural organization that aims to provide the tools for Palestinian youth to become active citizens. It is imperative, she says, that Palestinians begin to challenge the dominant socio-political norms and the colonialist ideology that seek to impose its dominant racial, cultural and gender identities and roles. She particularly wants to encourage women's contribution in the social, economic and political spheres, and establish international networks that help women and young people become active citizens in a developing society.
After the end of her Masters course, Wala' obtained an internship with Christian Aid in Newcastle to get some experience of working with a British organisation before returning to Palestine in January 2013. (Nov. 2012)
MA in Research Methods (Developmental Psychology)
After graduating in Psychology at Birzeit University in 2006, Lina worked as a Special Educational Needs Teacher at the Friends School in Ramallah. In 2010, she became the Vocational Training Coordinator in Palestine for Save the Children Sweden, working particularly with children who have suffered detention in Israeli prisons. She has also done voluntary work with children with dyslexia and learning difficulties.
With the El Funoun Dance Troupe, Lina toured a variety of countries in Europe, Africa and Asia, as well as the US. She has taught Palestinian folklore to children at summer camps and assisted with planning cultural events and festivals at the Popular Art Center in Ramallah.
Lina says that her Durham MA (awarded with Merit) expanded her research skills and her knowledge of developmental psychology and children's cognitive and behavioural issues. Building on her extensive professional experience, she aims to specialise in this field as a university teacher who can train more Palestinians to work with children who have emotional and behavioural difficulties and enable them to enjoy their childhood.
MA in Culture and Difference 2011-12
After graduating at the Islamic University of Gaza as the top student in English Language and Literature in 2010, Samiha was employed in the university's Continuing Education Department as a teaching assistant in academic writing and oral skills. During her degree course she also worked as an English trainer and translator for various employers, including an American film maker.
Samiha's voluntary activities included helping in summer camps for children and leading the English Forum at the American Language Center. She has written for several electronic newspapers and is a well-known blogger (www.sameeha88.wordpress.com).
In Durham, Samiha gained an MA with Distinction and she wants to continue to expand her understanding of other cultural perspectives, to build on the work of Edward Said and others in combating deep-seated Western misrepresentations of Arabs, and to apply a similar analysis to other parts of the globe. Ultimately, she wants to pursue an academic career, interacting with academics in other parts of the world who are interested in cultural criticism and in removing the national prejudices that have helped to bring so much suffering to the world. Currently, she is working for the Women's Unit of PCHR. a major human rights organisation in Gaza and she is on the steering committee of the Gaza Ark Project, which aims to build a boat in Gaza, load it with Palestinian goods and sail it in an attempt to break the Israeli economic blockade of Gaza. She also showed Naom Chomsky around Gaza when he came for an international linguistics conference and she arranged the conference's cultural event.