Richard Melson

April 2006

Qattan Foundation

Welcome to the first edition of our English language newsletter,

which covers the period of five months up to the end of February 2006. This is a summary of the bi-monthly Arabic-language version and contains only highlights of the events, activities and publications of each of the Foundation's projects and programmes as well as a general news section.

Newsletter content:

General News Qattan Center for the Child Culture and Science Programme Palestinian Audio-Visual Project Qattan Center for Educational Research and Development

After years of patient preparation and considerable delays caused mainly by the Occupation and closure of Gaza, the QCC finally opened its doors to the public on September 29th 2005. Since then, more than 23,000 children have visited and benefited from its services. Full membership has now reached 3,731 children.

New Premises Planned in Ramallah As our projects expand, and as the number of people either working in or using our Ramallah premises increases, we have decided to build a new annexe to our current offices. The architectural competition was won by Anastas Architects in Bethlehem with whom the distinguished architect Jaafar Touqan has generously agreed to collaborate on behalf of the Foundation.

Issam Nassar's history of early local photography in Palestine, Laqatatun Mughayira, was published in the Autumn in collaboration with Dar Kutub in Beirut. Launch parties were held in the author's presence in Beirut, Amman and Ramallah. The Culture and Science Programme also published the winning texts from the 2004 Literature Prize (Short Story and Poetry Prizes), in collaboration with Dar Al-Adab, Beirut. Our educational output included an introduction to teaching children music in collaboration with the Arab Centre for Popular Art in Beirut; a comparative studies volume on teaching linguistic expression in the classroom entitled Narrative, Imagination and the Production of Meaning by Wassim Kurdi and Malek Rimawi; and issues 18 and 19 of Rua Tarbawiyya, our educational studies quarterly. QCC also produced its first publication, the unique and comprehensive Guide to General and Children's Libraries by Mahmoud Itayyim.

Conferences and External Activities Wasim Kurdi, director of programmes at QCERD will be attending the 5th International Conference on Drama and Theatre in Education in Athens on March 22. Colleagues from QCERD Gaza attended the 2005 Cairo Book Fair, but their colleagues from Ramallah were unable to do so as their visa applications were rejected. However, they were able to attend the Sharjah Book Fair between 10 and 17 December 2005. Our deputy director, Manal Issa, and QCC Director Reem Abu Jabr took part in a workshop on Project Development and Funding Applications in Alexandria, in cooperation with the Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures.

Electronic Forums We are currently developing a number of electronic forums around various cultural and educational issues with the aim of inviting comment from the public on the Foundation's work but more importantly to encourage debate about important issues related to our work.

Since its opening in September 2005, the QCC has organised a number of activities alongside the routine work of receiving its young readers. These have included a portrait photography workshop for children; the Open Microphone, which allows children to show off their singing talents; the Winter Reading Camps; a daily programme of film screenings; two theatre productions (in collaboration with the Basma Cultural Institute); the completion of the first course of its Language Clubs Programme; a number of book fairs outside the centre to encourage reading; the launch of its Mobile Library Service with visits to six schools and a number of local, social and youth clubs; a number of activities for its Children with Special Needs and regular short courses introducing children to IT.

Services for Librarians In addition, the QCC has organised several activities aimed at librarians and at children's librarians in particular. Two lectures on the WINISIS software were held, as well as additional talks on modern electronic filing systems and online libraries.


We also continued our networking programme with local institutions, inviting a number of them to visit the Centre on a monthly basis. During this period, we received visitors from the Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children and the Institute for Free Thought and Culture. An open day on Protecting Children from Exploitation was held in collaboration with the Gaza Mental Health Project.

The QCERD is an independent Palestinian research institution.

Its primary mission is to assist Palestinian teachers in acquiring new skills and improving their knowledge base. The Centre perceives its mission as one which is complementary to the work of official and unofficial institutions such as the Ministry of Education and non-governmental organisations and universities which are actively involved in planning and providing educational services.

The QCERD believes that the Palestinian people should become producers rather than mere consumers of knowledge. We believe that education of the highest standard is a vital asset for any society, particularly one engaged in a process of reconstruction and nation–building. The QCERD is therefore committed to promote the highest standards of excellence in school-based education, through action research and (teacher) development. At the same time, it aims to encourage positive social values: open, professional, and democratic debate; collaborative research and team work; openness to the innovative ideas of educators in the world; a critical reflection upon our history and experience in order to properly plan for the present and the future; the promotion of a discourse that places emphasis on the public good; the promotion of equal access to resources by marginalised groups in society; and finally, the promotion of modern skills in information technology.

The QCERD believes that policy decisions must be grounded in empirical research. The Centre will therefore put the results of its research at the disposal of all appropriate policy-making bodies. In addition, it will make its resources available to society at large, and will disseminate the results of its research and findings through books, newsletters and other media.

The QCERD will allow the Palestinian public to have access, through the internet and the printed page, to the best that the world of knowledge has to offer in the fields of education. Therefore, the Centre is building a specialised library in education and the sciences that is linked to important databases throughout the world.

The professional and technical skills of the QCERD’s researchers are to be placed at the service of Palestinian education. Consequently, the Centre will, within the limits of its resources, respond positively to requests for professional assistance by teachers, schools, and any official or unofficial bodies involved in the field of education.

Al Qattan Centre

for Educational Research and Development:

Main office:

Gaza Office:


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