22 May
Type of event: 
Writing Our Nakba Stories
Organizing office: 
IPS Washington
In partnership with: 
United Palestinian Appeal
Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University
Monday, May 22, 2023 - 18:00 - 19:30
Eastern Date:: 
Monday, May 22, 2023 - 11:00 - 12:30
via Zoom
Event Theme: 
About the event: 

*AT 11 am ET / 6 pm Palestine VIA ZOOM*

Over the past few months, five writers of Palestinian heritage attended the 'How to Write Your Nakba Story? workshop hosted by the Institute for Palestine Studies (IPS) to commemorate 75 years of the Nakba. Led by Laura Albast, the workshop aimed to give space, support, and power to young writers to tell their own stories. Journalists and academics delivered sessions on reporting and oral history practices, including how to approach conversations with a trauma-informed lens.

Join us to hear from the writers themselves — they'll read excerpts from their stories and share their experience collecting the testimonies of family and friends. The stories produced center histories of Palestinians who were expelled from Silwad, Bethlehem, Jaffa, 'Ilabun, Akka, Jerusalem, and Jenin. Their stories are about resistance, displacement, love, family, memory, and sacrifice. We are thrilled to share them with you and introduce new voices and untold histories from the collective Palestinian consciousness. 

What happened to their family and neighbors in 1948? Where did they go? What was different when they stayed, returned? Who was lost? What was left behind? What are the memories passed down? And what was built in exile, in refugee camps, in the generations that came after the expulsion?

The stories have been published in English, Arabic, and Spanish. Palestinian artist and author Aya Ghanameh illustrated the stories. 

About the sponsors:

United Palestinian Appeal (UPA) empowers Palestinians to improve their lives and communities through socially responsible and sustainable programs in health, education, and community and economic development. For more information about UPA's work in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, and the diaspora, visit: UPAconnect.org

The Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS) is the only academic center in the United States focusing exclusively on the Arab world. Since its founding in 1975, CCAS has prepared new generations of diplomats, scholars, teachers, policymakers, and leaders in the business and nonprofit sectors capable of critical thought, constructive dialogue, and creative engagement with the Arab world. CCAS advances research in the field of Arab Studies not only through its academic programs, public events, education outreach, and multimedia projects but also by regularly hosting prominent scholars, visiting researchers, and post-doctoral fellows at the Center.

About the speakers: 

Laura Albast is a Palestinian journalist, editor, translator, and media analyst. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The New Arab, Arab American News, Doha News, Al Jazeera, TRT World, KPFA, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Nation, Fiasco podcast, and The Common. Laura guest-edited and translated a special issue published in Skin Deep Creative magazine titled Palestine: Ways of Being. She holds degrees from the American University of Beirut and Boston University. She is currently the Senior Editor of Digital Strategy and Communications at the Institute for Palestine Studies-USA in Washington, DC.

Samah Fadil is an Afro-Palestinian writer, editor, and translator who resides in Tiohtià:ke/Montreal. Her words can be read in FIYAH, Palestine Square, Skin Deep, Mizna, and more. She was a guest speaker for Black Lens on Palestine and a performer for Global Indigenous Solidarities: a Poetry Reading, organized by Yale University Art Gallery in conjunction with Yale University Native American Cultural Center. Fadil served as content editor for the winter 2022 Black SWANA Takeover issue of Mizna. She is a Cinephilia Film Development Workroom fellow. Her project, Wander, is an official selection for the Cinephilia Advanced Lab. Fadil is interested in showcasing historically marginalized experiences through storytelling, poetry, and visual art.

Abdulla Moaswes is a writer, researcher, translator, and educator. His current academic explorations focus on the globalization of settler colonial logics. He has previously written about the politics of food, with special reference to chai karak, and the sociopolitical role of internet memes in South and West Asia. In addition to this, Abdulla also writes poetry and speculative fiction.

Odette Yidi is a Palestinian-Colombian cultural entrepreneur, researcher, writer, and educator interested in Arab-Latin relations and in the intersection between migration and identity. She holds an MA in Near and Middle Eastern studies from SOAS, University of London, and is the executive director of the Institute of Arab Culture of Colombia.

Marah Abdel Jaber is a Palestinian writer, researcher, and creative currently pursuing her master's degree in Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago. Her work focuses on constructions of Palestinian identity within and beyond occupied land, historical preservation, Palestinian creative movements, and the imagined Palestinian space. Marah is devoted to accessible knowledge production, seeking innovative methods of globalizing education about Palestine which prioritize the Palestinian narrative.

Zain Assaf is a graduate of Georgetown University in Qatar. She majored in Culture and Politics and minored in History. She also pursued a Certificate in Media and Politics, offered jointly by Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) and Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q). Her thesis examined mainstream media's framing of the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh. She is currently a part-time Assistant Engagement Producer at Al Jazeera English. She has written for Palestine Square and Doha News.

Saleem Zaru is the Executive Director of the United Palestinian Appeal. Since 2011, he leads a diverse staff across five areas of operation (Gaza, West Bank, Lebanon, Jordan and Washington, DC). During this period, he has provided strategic leadership in the expansion of UPA’s capacity to meet the growing relief and development needs of the most vulnerable Palestinian communities in the MENA region. Saleem brings 35 years of executive experience in both the non-profit and private sectors. Saleem grew up in Ramallah, Palestine. He attended Ramallah Friends School, the American University of Beirut, Earlham College, and Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. He currently resides in Maryland while maintaining close ties to his community in Palestine.

Rochelle Davis is The Sultanate of Oman Associate Professor of Anthropology at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Her research focuses on refugees, war, and conflict, particularly in Palestine, Syria, and Iraq. Her first book, Palestinian Village Histories: Geographies of the Displaced, (Stanford University Press, 2012) was co-winner of the Middle East Studies Association’s Albert Hourani Book Award, recognizing outstanding publications in Middle East studies. The book addresses how Palestinian refugees today write histories of their villages that were destroyed in the 1948 war, and the stories and commemorations of village life that are circulated in the diaspora.

Video of the event: 

Read more