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May 24, 2010

"Sumud is a Lifestyle"

Sumud and The Wall Conference Enhances Educational Mission at Bethlehem University

SumudBethlehem University hosted Sumud and the Wall Conference on the 30th of April and 1st of May. The conference included workshops and discussions around four topics; The Wall, Space and Violence, Life near the Wall, Activism and Sumud practices, and Towards Wall Studies.

Tackling Sumud concept at Sumud and the Wall Conference at Bethlehem University was so much related to the idea of resistance; non violent resistance. “Sumud is a kind of peaceful resistance, that aims to keep the historical, cultural and psychological connection of the Palestinian people with their homeland,” said Dr. Waleed Mustafa, associate professor in the Department of Humanities at Bethlehem University and its former Dean of Arts and Dean of Students, “this resistance will not give the Israeli occupation the opportunity to take advantage of their military superiority,” he added.

SumudIn this concept survival and resistance strategies are blended, “in many cases Palestinian survival or coping strategies contains aspects of resistance and vise versa,” said Dr. Toine Van Teeffelen, Development Director of the Arab Education Institute at Bethlehem.

The Conference was not only about resistance. Dr. Brigitte Piquard, a Senior Lecturer in International Humanitarianism at Oxford Brookes University, UK, presented a paper on how through the Palestinians’ will to stay on the land,  and to stay against all odds they have strengthened their (Palestinians) notion of Sumud, their resilience and steadfastness; “ the wall impacts Palestinian life through the destruction,” she said, “the confiscation of land, the destruction of visual perspective, the closure of enclaves, the denial of privacy, the destruction of landscape, and the systematic control of Palestinian places o memories and social meanings can be described as acts of ‘spaciocide’ and ‘urbicide’, and even in combination with symbolic  violence, as a form of ethnocide,” she explained.
 of social and spatial environment,” and the Wall Conference

It is easy to find examples of Sumud here in Palestine, particularly Bethlehem University. Sumud is the reality at Palestine. Sumud is needed to live in Palestine. Sumud is a way for Palestinians to survive hard life their experience in their homeland. It is a way to confirm their rights to their land, right of freedom of movement … etc.

Students at Bethlehem University embody the concept of Sumud. Students from Gaza are one alive example. Berlanty Azzam, was deported to Gaza few months before her graduation, yet she continued her studies and graduated. To read more about Berlanty click here, to watch the video of her graduation ceremony click here. For more stories about Gaza students click here

“Education gives Palestinian People tools to survive and peacefully resist oppression they experience in their daily life,” said Br. Peter Bray, Vice Chancellor, “Sumud has many aspects, Bethlehem University model one aspect every day by providing quality education and opportunities to Palestinian students,” he added.

For more pictures click here

For more articles about Sumud concept click here

The conference was organized by Oxford Brookes University (UK), Paris-Est University (France) and the Arab Educational Institute (AEI-Open Windows, Bethlehem), in cooperation with Al-Quds Open University, Bethlehem University (Department of Humanities) and Utrecht University (Center for Conflict Studies) as academic partners. The Arab Educational Institute (AEI-Open Windows) is locally responsible for coordination.


Bethlehem University Foundation
Phone: +1-240-241-4381
Fax: +1-240-553-7691
Beltsville, MD USA
Bethlehem University in the Holy Land
Phone: +972-2-274-1241
Fax: +972-2-274-4440
Bethlehem, Palestine