The Mossawa Center held its annual Youth workshops from July 24th to July 27th, 2023. This year the workshops saw 31 participants from the ages of 13 to 17 who hail from all parts of the Arab community within Israel. Moreover, there were 19 workshop guides, most of whom were former participants. The workshops were organized by Mossawa Center’s youth team, Sofia Nassra, Costa Jarjoura, Aleen Nassra, Grace Grayeb and Mustafa Azeem. The participants stayed at Mossawa’s Carmel Center at the student dorms they offer.
Participants arrived Monday morning on the 24th. There was an opening ceremony where the organizers and Mossawa directors welcomed the students. After they were split into three groups and began activities. Monday also sent the students off on a treasure hunt around the Haifa neighborhood of Wadi NisNas and Ben Gurion Street where the Mossawa Center is located. While this took place, some of the guides sat with various Mossawa staff to learn about their work and how it relates to youth and how to best explain activities to the participants. There were also workshops on identity as they work through the complex identities they have and theater practice where they put on skits and plays. There was also free time to mingle and get to know each other better.
On Tuesday, the participants had a tour of Haifa including the colleges in Haifa. Mossawa director and Haifa native Jafar Farah led them around teaching them about the history of Haifa. They also rode the cable cars in Haifa. They also visited Ain Hawd a Palestinian village whose destruction during the Nakba was documented. At night, they began to prepare for the next day’s activities which included visiting the Canadian embassy. They began to formulate questions they wanted to ask the deputy ambassador.
Wednesday took the participants to Tel Aviv and Yaffa where they visited the Canadian Embassy. The students met with Canadian Deputy Ambassador Christopher Hull and asked him questions that ranged from universities in Canada and the application process to serious political questions about current events. After, they had a tour of Yaffa where they learned about the past and present of the city and its people. At night, the students prepared their own dinner by grilling meat and making salads and side dishes. As it was the last night they have festivities including karaoke and dancing to celebrate the workshops.
On Thursday, the last day, Speak Up had a speech workshop for the students. They also attended a workshop where they worked on a project about problem identifying and solving. The participants, guides and organizers have also been writing each other notes for them to take home.
Overall, the workshops were successful with the youth being able to learn more about their history and politics as well as connect with one another while having fun.