The Social Work Programme at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies (DI) organised the Social Work Forum on Sunday to mark the International Day of Social Work. It was held in the presence of a number of partner training institutions, students and graduates of the programme. The forum was introduced by student Dalal al-Mulla, then Dr Basil Salloukh, Associate Dean of the College of Social and Human Sciences, gave a welcome speech and praised the efforts of social institutions in their effective partnership that provides substantial training spaces for the students of the programme, hoping that a national day will be organised for social work.It was followed by a welcome speech given by the head of the Social Work Programme, Dr Hamoud al-Aleimiyat, who focused on the importance of the professional intervention carried out by specialists in social work wherever they are during crises, disasters and wars, and in developing social policies and societies.Brigadier General Dr Ibrahim al-Samih, Director of the Community Police Department, took the floor and promoted the value of specialising in social work. Especially at the level of postgraduate studies provided by the DI. Highlighting the importance of social work in various fields, whether in raising awareness, intervention or rehabilitation. He proposed his unique experience in the educational field since his professional beginnings in schools, universities and even in mosques.Sheikh Ahmed al-Buainain, Director of the Office of Family Reconciliation, delivered a paper titled 'Social Work in the Judiciary: A Pioneering Experience'. He focused on the role of social work in the Office of Family Reconciliation and Foster Affairs, and commended the efforts of the trainees from the Social Work Program who proved their worth among Family Reconciliation Office halls in the Family Court.Then, the students of the second year of the social work program presented their experience: "Our Students on the Platform: Experiences Inspired by Training Outside the State of Qatar." They described it as a pioneering practice in the field of training, which went beyond the local sphere to the Arab and regional one through the vocational training programme in Jordan. It gave them the opportunity to identify new problems that enriched their knowledge and skills as the students had to test the methods they learned in the classroom on real cases. The graduate students also presented their experience: "Brilliant Graduates: Voices from the Field." They talked about the academic, professional knowledge, and experiences that the Institute provided them with, which they used to serve their communities. The most prominent of which was the leadership in research management and impact measurement in Qatar Foundation for Social Work, the Community Police, and the Qatari Red Crescent Society, and the Family Court.The forum concluded with congratulating the social workers on this day, a tour of the presentations of services and goals of field contribution of partner institutions highlighting the importance of the specialist's role in social work.
Computer scientist, academic, researcher, keen squash player, doting husband and father. Professor Rachid Benlamri, vice-president of the University of Doha for Science and Technology (UDST) is a multi-faceted researcher and a distinguished academic administrator who has left an indelible mark on all the positions he has held and the different roles he has played, endowed with resourceful enthusiasm and abundant energy to lead younger generations to push boundaries to even greater heights.'Gulf Times' met with Prof Benlamri, a well-versed academic with a passion for sports who discovered the virtues of leadership, good organisation and time management at a young age during scouts’ camps.He says, “I strongly believe that success starts from a young age, a number of characteristics shaped my life and made me successful. Resiliency, creativity, optimism and sociability. I see them as a must for any youth in order to be successful."I was lucky to join the boy scouts, the school of life, and this made me work hard, be at the top of my class. I got my BSc in computer science from the University of Constantine in Algeria. I was top of my class, this got me a scholarship to study at one of the top schools in computer science, Manchester University, where the world’s first stored program digital computer was designed and built by the late Tom Kilburn and Freddie Williams."I was fortunate to be in the research group of one of the leaders in computer science, professor David Aspinall, who worked under the supervision of Tom Kilburn and designed the fastest computer in the world in 1962, namely Atlas Computer."Being there gave me the opportunity to get an international experience, to work with scholars and leaders who made the first footprints in computer science. This gave me the extra mile to innovate, and to be with the big players in this field.”Prof Benlamri has previously held academic and leadership positions in the UAE for 25 years, and transformed a number of small institutions into big ones.“The unique turning point in my life was when I joined the UAE University in 1996, as the head of the computer science department."This mindset has always accompanied Professor Benlamri. He contributed to academia in Canada for 16 years, mainly in research, “where I built research centres in the health informatics sector, computing and healthcare, developing smart healthcare systems using AI, IoT and knowledge engineering to address crucial healthcare challenges; thus impacting the health of people and programs that are still used in the healthcare system in Canada.”This enhanced his international experience after working as an academic in Algeria, a researcher in the UK, along with the UAE know-how, to give him a rich experience and a different approach to understand challenges and work from the experience he gained. This consequently impacted his joining of College of the North Atlantic-Qatar, which is now UDST. He sees this as “a lifetime opportunity in terms of joining a technical college that was in the transition of becoming the first national applied science and technology university in Qatar.”Talking about the last one-and-a-half years of being here, Prof Benlamri said: “We made a fantastic transition. We are also making our partners very active in the delivery of our technical programmes that address Qatar’s needs, which are aligned with the strategic goals of Qatar National Vision 2030. These are a very good fit for the needs of the industry, with which we create very close relationships to be unique in this area.”He stressed that “the mindset about applied science institutions has completely changed. The world is about jobs now - startups, creating new industries; therefore, technical skills, competencies, innovation, leadership and being sustainable in your way of thinking are the major drivers of the landscape in education in the future. We are witnessing an era where many big companies are falling down. The leading ones in terms of job creators are the companies who were not herefive or 10 years ago, such as Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Google, Amazon, etc. These are the main players of the future industries."In the knowledge economy, students equipped with leadership skills, soft skills and professional competencies are the main assets for developing and accelerating the building of a new wealth for our nations.”Prof Benlamri said he is grateful to “the presidents of universities I worked with, who shaped my life and provided me with opportunities to take up new leadership positions and make a change. In Canada, I worked with president Brian Stevenson, I built many projects there. In Qatar, I am fortunate to work with Dr Salem Al-Naemi, who has an inspirational vision for applied education and long, rich experience in industry. We met the challenges and put large perspectives for UDST, set high goals for it and made progress in this big project.”The UDST vice-president is of the view that applied research is a major driver: “We promote STEM/STEAM education building on our legacy of 20 years of TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) excellence. We strongly believe that there are many new creative industries that mix arts with technology, especially in the media, digital communications, and artistic production, where we can lead and be unique. We try to inspire our youth that the future jobs are vocational, professional, and the challenge of the future is to be able to compete, get a job, and make a change. We strongly believe that digital technologies - AI, IoT, Cloud computing, data science, cybersecurity and 5G+ - are the major enablers of change in the future, in industry, and they are also vital to support the healthcare system and its sustainability. That’s what we are teaching our students at UDST.”Prof Benlamri grew up in Constantine, Algeria, and talked about his hobby and family. “My favourite sports are squash and swimming. I have been raised in a family of nine kids, I am the middle one, my grandfather was an entrepreneur, and he owned a successful construction company in the east of Algeria, Constantine. My father took over from him after being a teacher and went into business. That is why I am inspired about achieving and not shunning challenges. We are a typical middle-class family who values culture, and our Islamic values. I am also a young grandpa. I have two successful daughters, we gave them all the support."One is a doctor, a neo-natal specialist at the University of Calgary, and the second specialised in mental health and works at a hospital in Ottawa, Canada. They were raised in the Gulf and then went for higher education to Canada. We nurtured them well and they are very successful. They follow the footpaths of their parents, I am very proud of them.”He also reflected on the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. “I think the World Cup has been a worldwide lesson, and brought about a change in mindsets the world over. Many of the de facto western perceptions in general towards the Arab and Muslim world have changed because of what was witnessed during the World Cup - the ability to run a mega project with excellence, and people in our region have the leadership and are able to run such a scale project in all its aspects. Also, the cultural perspective, that this part of the world is a very safe place. Those who came here experienced a very social and friendly atmosphere, and discovered the real Islamic values, a safe and hospitable society and a wealthy nation."From our perspective, making Qatar a regional educational hub and to promote study in Qatar, where we provide education, empower youth to make a change, and a very safe student life."
The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, launched its fifth annual report on Islamic philanthropy on Thursday during a forum held in partnership with HE Sheikh Thani bin Abdullah bin Thani al-Thani, UNHCR’s Eminent Advocate, at the Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies in Doha.The report aims to highlight the important role of Islamic philanthropy tools in responding to the humanitarian needs of the most vulnerable forcibly displaced people worldwide.The forum included a presentation of the report’s top findings, which indicated that UNHCR was able to help more than 1.5 million people in 2022.Bringing the total refugees and internally displaced persons benefiting from the Zakat and Sadaqah (Arabic for charity) contributions received by the Refugee Zakat Fund, to more than 6 million people in 26 countries since its launch in 2017.HE Sheikh Thani bin Abdullah bin Thani al-Thani’s significant contributions assisted more than half of this number.The report also states that UNHCR has distributed 100% of the received Zakat contributions to the most vulnerable refugees and displaced families without any deduction, in the form of cash or in-kind assistance such as shelter support materials, medicines and personal hygiene supplies, in addition to providing resources to establish small businesses.Dr Ayedh Dabsan al-Qahtani, Chief Executive Officer for the Thani bin Abdullah Foundation for Humanity and UNHCR’s Patron, said: “Assisting people most in need is one of the priorities of HE Sheikh Thani bin Abdullah bin Thani al-Thani.Refugees and internally displaced persons have long been the focus of his attention, and he generously supported the most disadvantaged refugees and internally displaced persons around the world through UNHCR.” Al-Qahtani added: “As the holy month of Ramadan approaches, we stress the need to continue supporting those who were forced to flee, and we call on philanthropists around the globe to support them.In conclusion, we hope this report will inspire others and make a difference in the lives of those forced to flee their homes.”Khaled Khalifa, Senior Adviser to the High Commissioner for Islamic Philanthropy and UNHCR’s Representative to the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, expressed his gratitude to HE Sheikh Thani bin Abdullah bin Thani al-Thani and his role in the strategic advancement of Islamic Philanthropy in response to the displacement crises, and stated: “UNHCR is able to provide humanitarian assistance to thousands of refugees and displaced persons worldwide through our close partnerships with individuals and partners, including Qatar Charity and Eid Charity, and many philanthropists who have trust in our work, and those who belief in the role of philanthropy tools in responding and alleviating the suffering of refugees, displaced persons, and their host communities.” Khalifa added: “There is no doubt that our partnership with HE Sheikh Thani bin Abdullah bin Thani al-Thani is a model to follow, and we appreciate his continuous support and commitment to advocate for refugees and displaced persons and raise public awareness about their situation and their humanitarian needs, which are growing year after year.”The report also noted that during 2022, UNHCR obtained several additional fatwas to endorse the Refugee Zakat Fund, bringing the total number of fatwas and endorsements issued by prominent Islamic scholars and institutions from around the world to 16.Thereby enhancing UNHCR’s access to and distribution of Zakat to eligible refugee and displaced persons, through the Fund.Professor Dr Sheikh Ali al-Qaradaghi, participated in the event and expressed his support of the Sharia’h compliance of the Refugee Zakat Fund, as a measure that restores confidence in Islamic Philanthropy programmes through the United Nations.
In the presence of HE Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Hamad al-Thani, the activities of the “Seminar Series 2023” continued yesterday, at the Wisdom Hall of the Ministry of Culture under the title “History of Andalusia” with the participation of critic and novelist Dr Nizar Chakroun, cultural adviser at the Ministry of Culture, and members of the “Himma” team.“Himma” was recently produced by the Ministry of Culture on Andalusian history. The members of the team are Saudi journalist and poet Badr Lami, Qatari media figures Saud al-Kuwari and Mohamed al-Shahrani. The seminar was moderated by Iman al-Kaabi, director of the Qatari Media Center.Dr Nizar Chakroun presented a paper titled "What is the necessity today for the study of Andalusian history" (92 AH - 711 CE / 798 AH - 1492 CE). He emphasised that “returning to Andalusian history constitutes an essential step for understanding the elements of the Arab-Islamic identity. It is not possible to exclude more than eight centuries of civilisation from thinking about the cultural identity of the Arabs today. Just as the Andalusian cultural heritage cannot remain away from the Arab generations who have the right to see the symbolic wealth left by the Andalusian civilisation in Arab civilisation first and in human civilisation second.”He pointed out “the need for a new discourse regarding that rich civilisation, so that this discourse will enable us to determine its components and its role in creating a model of progress in a period when the West was mired in its darkness.” Indicating that Spanish intellectuals have recently awakened to their neglect of the "Andalusian civilisation" as a component of their identity, so they returned to studying it, although its features are visible in their language, lifestyles, and urbanization.Dr Nizar Chakroun, pointed out that many Spanish writers in the nineteenth century suffered from the consequences of dealing with the Arab presence in Spain due to the entry into force of the Inquisition Courts law, which was abolished in 1824 CE. While its content continued to be worked on in the norms of Spanish society for years. Chakroun stressed that the conquest of Andalusia in 711 AD was not just a geographical expansion or the spread of the Islamic religion only in the Iberian Peninsula, but rather it was a starting point for the establishment of a civilization.Chakroun stressed out that the Andalusian culture was influenced by the scientific, intellectual and literary production of the Muslim Arabs in the East. It took many of its components, but was distinguished from it, as Andalusia became, after less than two centuries, the destination of the people of the East. He continued: “Andalusian poetry was not the only literary form that reflected the spirit of renaissance in the Andalusian literary and intellectual movement, and it was not the only influential one in Europe. Ironically, since the thirteenth century CE, Europe has benefited from the fruits of the Andalusian intellectual and scientific renaissance, while the Arabs outside Andalusia in those centuries and beyond did not pay attention to the importance of Andalusian culture.”Chakroun said that ‘the most important gains of the Andalusian civilization is that it dealt with the Arab cultural heritage that preceded it in a critical manner. The Andalusians realized that each stage of civilization has its challenges, and the present cannot be measured by the emptiness. Their concept of time was different from what previous cultures looked at, which made Western modernity later adopt this concept. Thinking about the present prevails over thinking about the past, and this is a concept that we should adhere to and think about our present more than thinking about the past, in order to learn from this civilization that is still in need of research and discovery.Dr Nizar Chakroun called for the importance of establishing a center dedicated to the study of Andalusian civilization to be a new civilized starting point.The journalist Badr Lamy talked about the "Himma" program, explaining that the program tried to answer in a simple way many questions such as the reason for the conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, and what are the challenges that Muslims faced regarding the conquest? In order to understand the history of this period. The idea came from the Culture Minister, HE Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Hamad al-Thani, in order to focus on the aspiration of the men who conquered Andalusia, based on the aspiration that the Islamic faith placed in the hearts of these conquerors.The two Qatari journalists, Saud al-Kuwari and Mohamed al-Shahrani, talked about their role in preparing and participating in the “Himma” program. Stressing that the efforts of the work team, sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, yielded filming from the same events sites to bring information closer to the viewers.The seminar was accompanied by comments from of the poet Dr Hassan al-Nama, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Sheikh Hamad Award for Translation and International Understanding, who appreciated the efforts of the Ministry of Culture in promoting societal culture, pointing out that Qatar's interest in the history of Andalusia is not recent, but rather an inspiration for a legacy dating back to the history of the former ruler of Qatar Sheikh Ali bin Abdullah al-Thani, who was the first to direct the interests of the Arab region and the Gulf to the study of Andalusia out of his admiration for its heritage, and that was at a time of scarcity of information.
At the end of the three-day conference on Social and Human Sciences, held by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies in Doha from 11-13 March 2023, Dr Abdel-Wahhab al-Afandi, Chairman of the “Arab Award for Encouraging Research in the Social and Human Sciences” Committee, presented the 2021/ 2023 session results and announced the committee’s decision to award the Arab Prize to three of the twenty research papers, ten of which were shortlisted.The award was distributed to the winners by the Qatari Minister of Culture, HE Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Hamad al-Thani, and Dr Azmi Bishara, Director General of the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies.Dr Ahmed Abu El-Ela won the Arab Prize for his research “The Political Culture of Nubian Youth in Egypt: The Nubian Movement Towards the Issue of Return as a Model.” The Scientific Reading Committee for the Prize considered it as one of the best research work received by the Committee of the Conference of Social Sciences and Humanities. This research goes directly to the core of the subject of political culture, thanks to its harmonious structure, its objectives, clear problematics, consistency of method and topic, valuable study results, and the importance of the references on which it was based, as well as writing the text in sound language.The Arab Prize for this session was also won by Dr Saeed al -Haji for his research "Consensus in the Culture of the Moroccan Political Elite: On the Relationship between the Determinants of Consensus and Democratic Transformation in Morocco." The Scientific Reading Committee of the Award confirmed its consistence with the objectives of the Center stipulated in Article 1 of the Statute of the Award. It enters into the core theme of the conference, and contributes to introducing the Arab reader specifically to the Moroccan experience, and it confirms the results previously reached by Moroccan researchers in interpreting the existing political structure in Morocco.The third winner of the Arab Award was Dr Mohamad Naimi for his research " ' Political Culture ' and Protest Collective Action in the Context of the Arab Uprisings (2011-2019)." The Scientific Reading Committee of the award confirmed that it is characterized by a great intellectual effort to formulate the problem at the theoretical level. A serious attempt to understand a complex and changing reality that concerns some Arab countries.The Arab Award for Social Sciences and Humanities is a competitive award launched by the Arab Center since 2011, in order to encourage Arab researchers to conduct creative scientific research on issues and problems that deal with the process of development of Arab societies in the field of social and human sciences. It is held every two years to allow sufficient time for researchers to complete their research. The Arab Award for the Encouragement of Research in the Social and Human Sciences awards a maximum of three papers submitted to the Social Sciences and Humanities Conference. The award consists of three components: an award certificate, an encouraging financial reward of ten thousand dollars, and a research grant of forty thousand dollars, to support the researcher in developing the study. More than 250 papers competed for the Arab Award in its nine sessions, and more than 50 researchers from various Arab countries won it, namely Egypt, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia, Sudan, Iraq, Bahrain, Kuwait, Palestine, Syria and Algeria.At the conclusion of the Arab Award ceremony, the Director General of the Arab Center, Dr Azmi Bishara, spoke about the role of the Center in encouraging research in the social and human sciences, whether through the Arab Award or other programs of the Center. Then he introduced the theme for the tenth session for the Social and Human Sciences Conference and for the Arab Award for Encouraging Research in the Social and Human Sciences, which is “Social Media: Dialectic of Freedom of Expression, Censorship and Regulation.” Calling on male and female researchers to contribute to this session, for which the invitation to write for it and its background paper will be announced soon, on the center’s website Arabic and its social media.
The activities of the Ministry of Culture’s Seminar Series 2023 continued Sunday at Qatar University (QU) with Qur’anic Studies professors Dr Abdulrahman Hallali (QU) and Dr Joseph Lombard (College of Islamic Studies, Hamad Bin Khalifa University) talking about Islam and modernity.Dr Hallali stressed that Islam has never been in conflict with modernity except in certain cases that may undermine religion. Muslim philosophers and thinkers have constantly addressed it. There are many aspects of modernity present in the Western and Islamic worlds in varying degrees.“Modernity, from the perspective of theorists, is to create your own modernity without affecting the modernity of others. But this modernity should not be used in a wrong place, whether in experience or in theoretical vision.“Some see postmodernism as a breach that produced alternative theories and carried within them a denial of the facts that the eras of modernity ended with. That success necessitates reaching the best by having the will and the ability to change, which has been achieved theoretically, but is still missing on the practical level.”Dr Hallali saw there are obstacles in acquiring the necessary knowledge regarding modernity and postmodernity, bearing in mind that the context in the perspective of the West is not the modernity that people in the Arab world are talking about, and therefore should be defined properly.Dr Lombard said: “We must focus on making our reality in harmony with our culture and our Islamic religion. Modernity is different in the West from Islam, as it became related to science. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was sent as a mercy to the world. Therefore, our officials as Muslims should deliver mercy, and make it closely related to modernity, and present an Islamic model to the world.“There is a need to invest resources in our Islamic world for the benefit of advancement by applying the teachings of Islam for the benefit of humanity. Abu Hamid al-Ghazali realised the incoherence of philosophers who were governed by a liberal human model. But the spirit of religion means looking at our responsibility and at the same time to build the future.“The spirit of modernity makes us look only at the future and then we make excuses for failure. Postmodernism is a concept that has more than one definition. However, the developments of modernity in Europe have taken different forms according to their different social, political and religious circumstances. There should be Islamic definitions that are not only related to the past but are also compatible with the present, contemporary people,” he concluded.The session was moderated by journalist Iman al-Kaabi, director of the Qatar Media Centre, the Ministry of Culture.
The three-day Conference on Social and Human Sciences, being held by the Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies, continued for the second day Sunday with ten lectures across four sessions.Dr Stephen Welch, honorary fellow at the School of Government and International Affairs at Durham University in Britain, gave an introductory lecture on the topic 'Causal Dynamics of Political Culture'.Mohamad Hamshi, a researcher at the Arab Centre in Doha, spoke on 'Criticism of the theory of political culture in the Arab world.' He argued that the concept of cultural politics is not separate from the sociology of the history of concepts, given that it is a shift from reflections, which can be described as philosophical and linked to traditions dating back to Plato and Aristotle. In this regard, the researcher referred to the works of Stephen Welsh and Margaret Somers, then moved on to criticising the discourse of political culture theory, based on the works of Azmi Bishara.On a related topic, Abdul Karim Amenkay gave a lecture titled 'Arab Culture between the Fields of Middle Eastern Studies and Contemporary Arab Thought: Are Cultural Essentialism and Heritage Criticism Two Sides of the Same Coin? The professor of political science at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies (DI) proceeded from the observation that the cultural approach, which is one of the most important theoretical and analytical currents in the field of Middle East studies, has known ebbs and flows in the extent of its dominance over this field of American origin, and regained its strength in the wake of the fall of the eastern camp with the beginning of the 1990s.The sixth session of the conference was devoted to philosophical approaches to political culture. Raja Bahloul, professor of philosophy at the DI, talked about 'Emotional Attitudes and Democratic Political Culture', in which she started from a question about the possibility of a causal relationship between political culture and the political system.Then, Mouldi Ezzedine, professor of philosophy at the University of Sfax, Tunisia, gave a lecture titled 'A Philosophical Contribution to Liberating the Values of Arab Political Culture from Ideological Culturalism', in which he made a critical philosophical distinction between a political culture and an ideological culture that theoretically and practically posed an extreme danger.Differentiating between the two contexts, the limit of comparison between them is governed by the hope of opening up a possible way to liberate the society of the Arab countries from its ailment due to several factors, on top of which the political practice that is contrary to the concepts of freedom and democracy.The seventh session devoted approaches to political culture in the Iraqi, Syrian, and Palestinian cases. Rahaf al-Daghli initiated it with a paper entitled 'The Persistence of Tyranny through Political Culture: Forms of Loyalty and Subjectivity in Syrian Public Discourse.' The director of research at the Harmon Centre for Contemporary Studies said it is important to consider how socialisation spreads under authoritarian regimes, and the influence of the political scene on the level of behaviour and attitudes of citizens.In dealing with the Palestinian situation marked by the division, Hassan Obaid talked about 'Reframing the Political Culture through Pierre Bourdieu’s Social Theory: A Case Study of the Field and Capital Formation of the Hamas and Fatah Movements after the Division.'Al-Nasser Duraid, consultant at the Iraqi Centre for Strategic Studies, concluded the session with a lecture titled 'The Phenomenon of Nostalgia in Politics in the Middle East: Iraq as a Case.' He presented a definition of the phenomenon of nostalgia, and its causes, in a manner specifically related to the political culture in Iraq.Abdelkader Abdelali, Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Dr Moulay El Taher University in Saida, presented the 'Political Culture, Social Cracks and Democracy: A Case Study of Algeria.' He shed light on the relationship between political culture and the structure of social cracks, and its impact on support for democracy, and its considerable importance in knowing the current status of the orientation towards democracy in Algeria.Muhammad Naimi, professor of sociology at the Institute of Social Development in Rabat, presented 'Political Culture' and Protest Collective Action in the Context of the Arab Uprisings (2011-2019).' He analysed the issue of political culture among the Arab public during the 2011 and 2019 waves of the Arab uprisings, and showed how to build Collective action, and its dismantling within the Arab protest space in connection and interaction with the prevailing political culture(s) in the Arab world. The researcher concluded that it is useful to understand and explain the transition of this political behaviour from a state of relative submission to one of growing resistance, by adopting a social approach.
The three-day Conference on Social and Human Sciences, held by the Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies, began Saturday based on the theme - 'The concept of political culture and political cultures in the Arab world'.Dr Azmi Bishara, director-general of the centre and chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, delivered the opening lecture.Then, Dr Abdelwahab El Affendi, president of the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, presented a paper titled 'Culture as a Weapon: Culture Wars and Cultures of Wars in the United States and Egypt', in which he dealt with the phenomenon known as “culture wars” in the US, a development that drew public attention in the 1990s. It reached its peak in the era of former President Donald Trump.El Affendi compared it to similar developments in Egypt in the period leading up to the July 2013 events, and it is still raging today. He reviewed the dynamics of this "cultural" conflict, which reveals that the pivotal role of culture is in shaping identity and giving political and social action. The meaning also interacts with the multiplicity and diversity of the possibilities of using it as a tool for conflict and division. He also disagreed with Samuel P Huntington's contention that the difference of cultures delineates the boundaries of conflict between nations.Dr Abdel-Fattah Madi, a researcher at the Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies and director of the State and Political Systems Studies Unit, presented a paper titled 'How does tyranny shape the political culture of the masses? An approach from the perspective of civil-military relations'. He focused on the policy of indoctrination, which usually has long-term repercussions, because it is related to the political culture of the masses.The subsequent sessions featured Tunisian researcher in sociology, Dr Asma Lahyoul; Dr Shaker Houki, professor of Public Law at Al-Manar University in Tunis; Dr Ahmed Abu El-Ala, professor of Cultural Anthropology at the National Centre for Social and Criminology Research in Cairo; Egyptian academic and architect Dr Ali Abdulraouf; researcher at the Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies Dr Hani Awad; Dr Ibrahim Morshed and Dr Ibrahim Mansouri, professors of economics at the University of Marrakech, and Dr Hussein Shukrani, professor of public law and political science at the same university; Dr Saeed al-Haji, professor of Contemporary and Current History at Abdelmalek Saadi University in Tetouan (Morocco), and Dr Abd al-Ilah Setti, professor of political science and constitutional law at Ibn Zohr University in Agadir (Morocco).
In the presence of HE the Minister of Culture Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Hamad al-Thani, the activities of the 'Seminar Series 2023' continued on Wednesday, at the Doha Institute for Research and Policy Studies with HE the Minister of State and Qatar National Library president Dr Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari, speaking on 'The Legacy of the World Cup Culture'.Dr al-Kawari said: “I admit I did not have great ties with football, but the World Cup in Qatar was a turning point for me. I realised the importance of football not only as a mere sport, but that millions of people in the world are associated with it, taking its cultural and social dimensions beyond sports."What happened to me in terms of watching football is a common perception with many intellectuals in the world. I found this in the book published by the 'New Arab' Foundation under the title 'The Magic of Football: Writers from East and West' who talk about their passion for the most joyful game. "While I commend this work edited by Professor Maan al-Bayari, I value these cultural initiatives that enrich the Arab library with an interesting, useful and exceptional book. I appreciate the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies’ keenness to enhance awareness and its approach of the cultural phenomena experienced by the Arab world. I was attracted by what the Romanian writer Ion Diaconescu described football: 'It is that distinctive tool that passes from soul to soul, because we need a rhythm of life, a new behaviour, a new humanity. Football is certainly not a saviour, but it makes the earth a better place.' This means that football is a means of rapprochement between people, due to the cultural values it contains."The World Cup was linked to cultural dimensions, which was indicated by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, who said: “We will not prevent anyone from coming to our country and enjoying football, and we respect all the cultures of the world, and we expect everyone to respect our culture .”"The successful staging of the World Cup proved that Qatar will not abandon its cultural values. Qatar has presented its culture and values throughout the World Cup, allowing visitors from different cultures to learn about our religion, culture and social values, and to affirm the principle of mutual respect between cultures.“My goal is to implement what I have long called for, which is the necessity of activating the gains of the success of the World Cup on the cultural level, so that the joy of success does not prevent the continuation of work on cultivating this tree that needs care in order for its branches to leaf and bring forth its fruits continuously."The World Cup stirred the 'collective memory' of the peoples, as the Arabs and Muslims specifically restored the glories of the Arab-Islamic civilisation when we were leading the way of civilisation.“The World Cup contained cultural expressions and messages that gave the tournament an exceptional character, and emphasised the value of soft power. This again confirms the effectiveness of cultural diplomacy, of which sports diplomacy is a part. The World Cup was a real test of the feasibility of this diplomacy, which today requires more work in order to preserve its gains and continue to diversify its tools.”“Qatar, through the World Cup, presented a lesson in the concept of cultural exchange, which is respect for cultural specificities and not acquiescence in imposing cultural expressions that contradict the hierarchy of Arab-Islamic values."These values, which were an essential part of the cultural expressions of the World Cup. The opening ceremony proved to be the 'compass' of all its activities. This compass was based on the Qur'anic concept of 'friendship' through the verse that brought together the young Qatari Ghanim al-Muftah and the American actor Morgan Freeman."
The Excellence Center for Training and Consulting at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies (DI) organised yesterday a session titled Dialogue on International Women's Day between Celebration and Criticism.Media personality Khadija Bengana, Dr Hind al-Muftah (Permanent Representative of Qatar to the European Headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva), and Dr Maryam al-Khater (professor of Digital Media and Politics, and Advisor to the Office of the President of Qatar University) were the panellists. Dr Aya Randall (assistant professor in Human Rights Programme, DI) was the moderator.Bengana shed light on prominent historical examples of women in general and Arab women in particular, referring to the role of Arab women in the national struggle, and the battles and struggles they waged in order to obtain their rights. She wondered whether the reality of women has changed or not, pointing out that “there are positive changes in varying proportions from one society to another.”Dr al-Khater emphasised that “reducing women's right to one day is a marginalisation of their active role in building societies and contributing to their development and sophistication.” Explaining that celebrating women on this day may be formal in many cases, she said there are “fundamental issues that must be discussed seriously, away from these formal celebrations that do not address women's issues from their roots.”In a related context, Dr al-Muftah indicated, during her online video presentation from Geneva, stated that “the celebration of International Women's Day faces a lot of criticism as it is imported from Western culture and a product of the Western feminist movement. She said that the issue of women's rights is characterised by a contentious and controversial nature and what is considered a right of Western women may be the opposite in Arab societies.”Dr Hamed Ali, dean of the College of Economics, Administration and Public Policy, opened the session and stressed that “women have become an active force in society. They have a significant and noticeable impact on public life, and that most of the countries in the region have begun to legislate policies intended to empower women.”
Middle East Huawei's participation in the World Telecommunications Exhibition and Conference 2023, which concluded two days ago, was marked by the company's highlighting of the capabilities of 5.5G technology, the next stage of communication networks, and the new opportunities it offers to businesses in various sectors and industries. The company stated that the achievements of the fifth generation networks in its first three years are equivalent to those achieved by the fourth generation networks during its first five years, and that the new stage of networks represented by the 5.5G will have an effective impact in enriching our digital life and the possibilities of smart communication.Peng Song, head of Information Technology, Communications and Marketing Strategy at Huawei, said at the 5G Business Success Summit that “the success of the first rounds of 5G deployment was embodied in the significant growth of mobile phone revenue, and the use of more than 20% of consumers for these networks. Which boosted their confidence in the sector path.” Accordingly, Peng expects that the fifth generation networks will maintain this success, especially if its capabilities are taken advantage of to meet the needs of consumers and business homes.Huawei explored the role of the "Guide to the Smart World" business plan, which it launched during the event, in providing support to digital network providers and enterprises to enhance the ability to accelerate the pace of transformation towards a smart world, and discussed with various stakeholders ways to benefit from the guide's proposals to lay the foundations for the development of 5.5G networks. Building on the successes of fifth generation technologies to achieve greater prosperity, especially in the field of sustainable development. Li Ping, President of Huawei Carrier Networks Business Group, said that “the progress made by the ICT industry in the field of sustainable development is exceptional thanks to the role of 5G technology in the transition to a smart world, and that the transition to 5.5G networks will be a milestone in the journey of digital transformation.” He stressed the need for “all technology sector partners to co-operate to accelerate the pace of transformation towards a sustainable and high-speed smart world, highlighting the importance of Huawei's "Guide to the Smart World" business plan in contributing to paving the way towards this important achievement.”Dr Mohamed Madkour, Global Vice-President of Marketing and Solution Sales in the Huawei Business Group for Communications Networks, confirmed during an interview with journalists from the Middle East and Central Asia that “the challenges the company faces will not discourage its determination to continue working with all international partners, led by organisations. International organisations and standards and metrology bodies to support the stages of building sustainable digital economies by supporting important technologies such as the 5.5G Which is distinguished from others by great capabilities such as enhancing the communication experience and low latency, which would contribute to achieving new stages of digitisation and building a more connected and intelligent digital world.” He concluded.The Huawei Enterprise Business Group hosted a special event themed "Working Together on Developing Digital Infrastructure to Create New Value", which witnessed the launch of more than 50 innovative products and solutions for customers globally. The event highlighted the facilitated smart headquarters network solution. From Huawei, it is a series of innovative data centre solutions and business strategies for small and medium enterprises.On the sidelines of the Digital Talents Summit, Huawei announced its joining the Global Literacy Alliance established by Unesco, and they agreed to work together to promote the use of technology as part of literacy efforts. Huawei also signed a cooperation agreement under which it will finance the current initiatives of the Lifelong Learning Institute to support the use of technology solutions by educators from developing countries.Huawei signed, during its participation in the event, an MoU with the leading Saudi telecom company, "Zain Saudi Arabia", to launch the joint innovative project "5.5G City" (5.5G City).
Martin Chungong, the Secretary-General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Monday delivered a seminar titled, “Parliament for Democracy, for Everyone: The Role of Inter-Parliamentary Union” hosted by the Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies (CHS), jointly with the School of Social Sciences and Humanities at Doha Institute for Graduate Studies. It was moderated by Dr Khalil Osman, Senior Research Fellow in CHS.Chungong discussed the role of the IPU in promoting democratic governance, institutions, and values. He highlighted that the IPU’s vision is to have “a world where every voice counts,” on the national, subnational and international levels. He stated that the IPU 2022-2026 strategy key objective is to build an effective parliamentary ecosystem for democracy and for everyone. The strategy focuses on various key areas, such as democracy, climate change, human rights, gender equality, youth participation, peace and security, and sustainable development.Chungong also discussed how the IPU, through its global convening role and accountable mechanism, provides unique platforms for dialogue and interaction, and voices the concerns of parliaments at the international level on major issues. An additional main role of the IPU is to “build strong democratic parliaments” by tackling challenges that hinder parliament and democracy, stressing that democracy is a resilient system with the capacity to self-correct and be in constant renewal, especially in times of crisis.During the discussion session, there were questions around the Arab Spring, the recent wave of democratic transitions in the MENA region, youth engagement in parliaments, and the work of the IPU on building institutions in post-conflict countries.In 2014, Chungong became the first African and first non-European to be elected as Secretary-General of the IPU, which was established in 1889.
HE Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Hamad al-Thani, Minister of Culture, patronised the activities of the second edition of the 2023 'Seminar Series' Saturday evening. It was launched with a major poetry evening, which was attended by a number of officials, thinkers, intellectuals, poets and writers from both within and outside Qatar, at Sheraton Doha. The poetry evening saw the participation of poets Saleh al-Mana’a and Abdullah Alloush from Qatar and Kuwait, respectively, and was attended by a large audience who interacted with the poems that varied between Nabataean and classical Arabic. It also featured some patriotic poems and sonnets that were recited for the first time to an audience, amid an atmosphere of creativity. This poetry evening came at the start of the activities of the 2023 'Seminar Series', organised by the Ministry of Culture in co-operation with Qatar University and the Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies. This year’s 'Seminar Season' includes five seminars on: 'The Cultural Heritage of the World Cup', which will be presented by HE Dr Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari, Minister of State and President of Qatar National Library; 'Islam and Modernity', in which French researcher and thinker Francois Burga and Syrian writer and academic Abdul Rahman Helli will participate; 'History of Andalusia', which will be presented by the writer Dr Nizar Shakroun from Tunisia, journalist Badr al-Lami, and researchers Saud al-Kuwari and Mohamed al-Shahrani; 'Islamic Architecture and the Relationship with Other Arts', which will be presented by the architect Abdel Wahed al-Wakil from the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies; and 'The Influence of Muslims on the Civilisation of Westerners', to be presented by Dr Saeed Kamali from Morocco. The Ministry of Culture has always held events that meets the aspirations of intellectuals and the society, in order to achieve its vision of promoting dialogue on issues of concern to society. Through the 'Seminar Series', the ministry seeks to establish an intellectual environment that enhances the role of culture and intellectuals in serving society, support cultural and intellectual activities, and to build bridges of communication between new generations and the intellectual elite.
The International Conference on Administrative Sciences, held under the patronage of HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Aziz al-Thani, concluded Thursday. The three-day event was organised by the School of Economics, Administration and Public Policy (SEAPP) at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies in co-operation with Belgium’s International Institute of Administrative Sciences (IIAP). The conference discussed a number of important topics, and highlighted the developmental capabilities of countries and their contributions to comprehensive development. A large number of academics and experts in the fields of public administration and governance from Qatar and abroad participated. On the last day of the conference, which hosted more than 300 participants from 70 countries, the researchers discussed the *Challenges and directions of human resource management in the GCC countries, *Developing countries and good governance, and *The role of training and consulting centers in supporting national institutions. On the sidelines of the concluding session, Prof Eko Prasojo, former Indonesian vice-minister of public administration and current head of Research Cluster Policy, Governance and Administrative Reform at Indonesia University, spoke to *Gulf Times on the implementation of new policies and their impact on the public sector career’s competitiveness, and the mindset of staff who take it for granted as a career for life. “We are looking at the integration of the spirit, i.e. the mindset of the private sector into the public sector, such as competitiveness, professionalism, modern connectivity systems,” he said. “We started this in 2014, by introducing a new law on civil service system in Indonesia.” “We moved from a closed career system to an open career system, where the higher public officer can move from one ministry to another, and from central government to local government and vice-versa,” Prof Prasojo said. “We also opened the opportunity to the private sector to compete for the position of director-general, on a contract basis for one year that could be extended according to the needs of the government.” “This has impacted the competitiveness in bureaucracy and the quality of public service, as staff from private sector bring the spirit of that sector to the public sector,” he continued. “I am involved currently in the follow-up and making sure that the strategy of the vice-president can be effectively implemented in the ministries, and local government,” Prof Prasojo added.
Under the patronage of HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz al-Thani, the International Conference on Administrative Sciences was launched Tuesday.The event is organised by the School of Economics, Administration and Public Policy (SEAPP) at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies (DI), in co-operation with the International Institute for Administrative Sciences (IIAS).The three-day event, titled 'Developmental and Professional Countries in Public Administration and Policy Making' is being held at the DI to exchange experiences and knowledge, and enhance government action to address complex policy problems and constraints.Over 300 participants from 70 countries are taking part in the conference. Topics cover important questions about the developmental capabilities of countries and their contributions to comprehensive development during the 21st century.Dr Abdul-Wahhab al-Afandi, president, DI, said in the opening speech: “We hope this great event - given the quality and number of participants in it - will contribute to making a qualitative contribution to enhancing development prospects in these anxious global conditions. This is in harmony with the institute's mission aimed at developing social sciences and humanities, promoting professionalism, and putting them at the service of man.”Dr al-Afandi added that professionalism in management and administrative sciences is one of the most important pillars of the development process, for which money and other resources are indispensable.Dr Hamed Ali, dean of the SEAPP stressed that “the conference comes at an important time when the world is recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic and when economies are threatened with stagnation due to the war in Ukraine, which makes the role of the state essential, and crucial in mitigating negative impacts and designing policies that advance long-term development goals.” He explained that the conference is bringing together not only academics, but also specialists in policy and industry from various governments, think tanks and non-governmental organisations, to advance the technocratic aspect of politics and administration. The aim is to achieve the desired development of states through professional institutionalisation, bureaucracy, capacity building, and effective distribution of resources.Dr Raed bin Shams, president of the IIAS, indicated that this conference is promising with many experiences and expertise from inside and outside the region. He pointed out that the pursuit of unprecedented crises around the world places on the shoulders of management experts and professionals, academics and researchers the task of focusing on the advancement of states and ways of managing them.Dr bin Shams stated that all must strive to achieve the maximum public interest to promote justice at all levels around the world, and learn from all disciplines and experiences to understand and respect the differences, driven by the common values and beliefs. He stressed the need to serve on the basis that countries are not companies, citizens are not customers, and that experts and academics have the same goal but use different means to serve one end - the citizen.The conference deals with research and study on comprehensive and broad topics. It highlights the cases of governments and developmental states, and the critical tools for developmental states to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Within the sessions of the first day, the participants discussed several axes and research papers that focused on professionalism in public administration and public policies for comprehensive development, developing states for sustainable development, developing states and global challenges, public administration reforms in post-conflict countries, family policies in the Arab Gulf, and other related topics.Today, researchers and experts will discuss several themes, most notably 'Rethinking the Role of Sport in Public Governance and Civil Society', 'Sustainable Partnerships between the Public and Private Sectors in the Middle East and North Africa,' 'Cities and Global Challenges', in addition to a discussion on Crisis Management and Disaster Control in Japan: Theoretical Observations and Practical Experiences.The conference will conclude tomorrow after discussing topics including the challenges and directions of human resources management in the GCC countries, developing countries and good governance and the role of training and consulting centres in supporting national institutions.
Professor Saul J Takahashi, the director of Osaka Jogakuin University’s Research Institute of International Collaboration and Coexistence in the 21st Century, presented Monday a paper on 'Linguistic Rights of ’48 Palestinians' at the Annual Palestine Forum.The scholar, who has spent five years in Palestine and well-versed in the Palestinian issue, spoke to Gulf Times on the linguistic rights and self-determination of the Palestinian people.“I see that the Israelis have been doing this for a long time ... and it is not just language, it is the appropriation of Palestinian food like humus, which they present as Israeli food, for example,” Prof Takahashi said. “They have been after the eradication of the Palestinian people as a whole, through culture, history, renaming place names.”“In 1948 the whole thing was geared towards the eradication of the Palestinian people as a whole, not just in physical sense, but culturally, linguistically, everything, and that is a gross violation of international law,” he added.“Self-determination translated into hard reality through the continuous lobbying and putting on pressure on the international community to abide by the standards that they themselves have adopted,” Prof Takahashi said.“Of course the Palestinians have been doing this and they will continue doing this,” he continued.“Finally, I think we are seeing it bear fruit, through the recognition of Israel as practicing apartheid by very prominent international human rights non-governmental organisations (NGOs),” the academic pointed out. “Finally, the International Criminal Court ... we see it is starting to move, Insha Allah.”“Also the UN General Assembly has asked the International Court of Justice to provide an opinion on the continuing occupation,” he added.“Once again, not perfect, not full, but still moving in the right direction. Certainly, we are moving in the right direction,” Prof Takahashi emphasised. “Also, the political shifts in the US are definitely favourable towards moving in the right direction.“Insha Allah, I am a human rights person, so I do think that the good guys will win in the end, and justice will triumph,” he said.“As an international lawyer, I think certainly that the entire two-state solution paradigm is based on injustice,” he stated.“It is based on the partition of the Palestinian people’s country,” Prof Takahashi explained. “That the two-state paradigm has been going on and on since 1947, the partition resolution, ... it is based on a gross injustice.”“I do not see how the two-state solution but that,” he said. “It is important that we have peace in Palestine, the true peace can only be achieved with true justice.”“I have a problem with seeing how this can be possible under the two-state solution, which is impossible now in any case, with all the Israeli colonies dotting the West Bank,” Prof Takahashi remarked. “I just do not see that it is going to happen.”"So, I do think that we are heading towards a one-state solution, what exactly that means, we have to see,” he said. “There has to be insuring justice in any kind of one-state solution that means addressing past violations.”"Without the US policies changing, it is hard to see any serious change in the situation in Palestine, but that is coming and that is already taking place,” he added.“So, definitely, Insha Allah I see it happen. Of course, political issues should also be resolved amongst Palestinian factions ... they need to be sorted out, so that it cannot be used as an excuse for not allowing self-determination,” Prof Takahashi concluded.
A total of 15 papers were presented Monday on the third and concluding day of the inaugural Annual Palestine Forum. The last workshop also served to wrap up the forum’s discussions by directing participants’ and attendees’ attention toward reflecting on the future of the Palestinian project. The sessions of the Ostour Symposium, conducted in parallel, also concluded.During the closing session, Azmi Bishara, general director of the Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies stressed the success of the forum in bringing together Palestinians from across the world to share knowledge from the field of Palestinian studies in an academic environment.Bishara then introduced Marwan Barghouti, political figure and political prisoner for the last 21 years, whose words from the cell were read out by his partner, lawyer, and politician Fadwa Barghouti.Barghouti discussed the challenges facing the Palestinian national project including: the struggle to return the unity of the Palestinian people through one national project, the unity of the Palestinian cause, Zionist settler colonialism, the emphasis on Arab identity, the humanitarian struggle, reinforcing the importance of resistance in all its forms, the crisis of the Palestinian national movement, the struggle for women’s right to equality and dignity, and a leading Palestinian force with a political culture that views the Palestinians as worthy of dignity, equality, and justice. Barghouti concluded by reflecting on the importance of the forum as a step that reinforces the unity of Palestinians and the unified aim of all those working for the Palestinian cause.The first session of the third day revolved around three main themes: the legal and linguistic dimensions of settler colonialism and ethnic cleansing, gender perspectives on Palestine, and Palestine from a historical perspective. Nine papers focusing on these themes were presented. Three papers looked at the Israeli settler colonial regime from a legal and linguistic lens.In his paper 'Ethnic Cleansing as a Tool for Consolidating Settler Colonialism and Apartheid in Jerusalem', Nizar Ayoub studied the policy of systematic ethnic cleansing as a tool of the Israeli settler colonial regime to maintain a Jewish majority in Jerusalem.'Three other papers focused on the theme of gender and Palestine. Camelia Ibrahim-Dwairy’s paper, titled 'The Case of Single Palestinian Men in Israel: Between Patriarchal and Israeli Oppression', examined the discourse of single Palestinian men living within the Green Line amid a patriarchal society.A further three papers discussed Palestine from a historical perspective. In a paper titled 'Mā kānsh fīh!: Oral Narratives as a Missing Source for the Military Historiography of the Palestine War 1947-1949', Bilal Shalash reviewed the outputs of two projects, a Birzeit University project on depopulated villages and the Nakba Testimony Programme, which reflect the military history of the 1948 war.The second session of the third day centred on two themes: the impact of settler colonialism on the environment and agriculture in Palestine, and Palestine in literary discourse. Three papers studied the impact of settler colonialism on the environment and agriculture in Palestine.Yasmin Qaadan’s paper 'Environment Meanings from the Language of Local Knowledge for the Movement of Palestinian Peasants' offered a political ecology perspective of settler colonialism through its ethnographic research of Palestinian peasants. Three additional papers were presented on Palestine in literary discourse. Abdelrahman S Abuaber presented his paper 'The Stranger’s Mirrors: Place, Time, and Questions of the Self in Biographical Writing', which aimed to give organic theoretical attention to biographical writing by Palestinians.In the afternoon, the forum hosted two workshops. In the first, four speakers – Khaled Hroub, Alain Gresh, Ben White, and Yousef Munayyer – discussed changes in the representation and news coverage of Palestine in Western and Arab media discourse.The second workshop was the closing session where Tarek Mitri, chairman, Institute for Palestine Studies Board of Trustees, and Bishara, opened the floor for a discussion for participants to reflect on the question of what is to be done and the future of the Palestinian national project.
Eleyan Sawafta, president of the C.O.N.F.L.I.C.T. Alliance, graduate research assistant at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG)’s School of Education, and the 1990’s Palestinian generation’s representative, presented Sunday a paper on 'Development and Settler Colonialism: Perpetuating Neo-Colonial Domination and Apartheid', with his colleague Hasan Ayoub at the 2023 Annual Palestine Forum. He spoke to Gulf Times on self-sufficiency under the occupation and continuation of resistance. "I think this is a very important question,” Sawafta said. “I was born in 1990 and I experienced the peace process and the second Intifada, when everybody was in their homes for several weeks.” “We did not go to schools, everybody was stuck at home, and the main issue was how to handle the situation and how we can understand our sustainability,” he said. “It was easy and simple: people at that time had their own basic needs,” Sawafta continued. “I am from a farming family, my father is a farmer and he goes to his farm every day.” “What is going on in Palestine is a land based struggle. If we understand the conflict from this angle, we can present our arguments about how we can improve our sustainability,” he said. “How can we stand against this regime or settler colonialism?” Sawafta posed. “We need to understand ourselves outside the world order of public policies.” “It does not work if we keep just talking about Bretton Woods institutions – the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – and World Bank policies,” he stated. “Now, Palestinian people have their own basic needs and we suggest, in our paper, that we need collaborations and people-centred development,” Sawafta said. “We should start from, for example, agricultural projects in designated areas,” he explained. “These lands are very important to keep fighting and resisting against settler colonialism.” “Land is a key in this conflict, without which I think we lose the game, and we should work on this issue,” the scholar stressed. “The entire agricultural sector is struggling now. My father tells me every day that he is under pressure and could be out of his land within two years,” he continued. “The (Israeli) colonisation (programme) is trying to push them in a silent way towards migration. They control water resources, and they entice them with money.” “So, if you have an option between making either $25 or $150 a day, plus loans, and a very satisfactory economic situation, most likely you will choose second option,” Sawafta pointed out. “This is what is happening now, they are trying to take our labourers, and they control water resources,” he reiterated. “Even though you have land, ideas to develop it, you do not have any tools to do whatever you want to achieve.” “So after two or three years, you will give up and leave the land to them,” he said. “This is a very dangerous idea, and that is why we say that settler colonialism is a classic colonial regime and at the same time it is apartheid, it is neo-colonialism.” “We need to understand the context, to understand the conflict first, and then we propose our ideas about development, what we should do and from where we should start,” Sawafta concluded.