Our 2015 conference looked at what makes an effective group. How we can navigate the complicated political and social issues that confront us in times. In 2016 we look to build links, exchanges and friendships.
Speakers at our conference reminded us of the situation we face. Tony Laurence, CEO of MAP, looked at the physical situation in Gaza, where over 40% live in absolute poverty. 20,000 homes have been destroyed, yet only one has been rebuilt. Vincent Fean talked of the political complexity of building discussion and understanding of the situation. While Diana Safieh, St John’s eye hospital, talked of working along the line between sides.
As always the fundamental purpose of our conference was to bring twinning and friendship groups together. This year delegates from 18 of our members were present, together we created an agenda for 2016.
The BPFTN has been tasked to help make all groups be more effective. Addressing issues such as BDS, human rights, exchanges, visits, education and money. We hope to be developing links with the Balfour Project, promoting cultural exchange, offering materials for presentations and meetings, and encouraging links for volunteers and students and others.
A full report on our conference will be available shortly. Please get in contact with any suggestions or thoughts. Get involved with your local groups and help build
Jean Fitzpatrick (BPFTN Treasurer and Joint Membership Secretary) accompanied a group from the Camarthen area of Wales on a visit to Palestine exploring history, culture and potential links.
Arriving in Jerusalem on May 11th the group spent time exploring Jerusalem and Bethlehem. In Bethlehem they visited Aida Refugee Camp and Wi’am Centre for Reconciliation. In Wi’am they found an “oasis of calm", close to a check point and hard up against the wall the group learnt about the women’s and children’s groups activities.
Moving north the group headed to Sebastiya and a beautiful guest house. From there they visited four villages actively seeking friendship links and others who wanted to share stories of life under occupation. In Taybeh they visted schools.
In Rummameh - north west of Jenin – they again came close to the wall. At this stage the wall becomes an electrified fence, dividing families and separating people from their land.
In Burqin they gained an insight into the history of the land and peoples. Visiting a church founded in the 4th Century C.E.
While all the while gaining an understanding of the difficulties which are part of everyday life. Over a week the tour touched upon some of the issues that twinning seeks to understand.
First-time visitors were impressed and moved by everyone we have met and talked to.
We have also widened our network of Palestinian friends and really feel the network can grow with their commitment and support.
Contact us for more details or to start talking about tours for 2016 email@example.com
East Suffolk, a newly formed group hosted an event in support of the Women in Hebron. Recent visitor Melissa shared her experience staying with in Hebron.
23 people turned up on Thursday evening to listen and explore five stalls of local crafts. In all £110 was raised towards the planned children's space.
For more information please get in contact
mescey design @pressense