Red Lounge: Mulu and Tsegay – March 14, 2018

On March 14th we hosted children from the Ben Yehuda School in Jerusalem at the center. Together, we watched the puppet show “Mulu and Tsegay” performed by Shaharit Yerushalmi and Moria Ben Avot.

The performance was based on a children’s book written by Tamar Verete-Zehavi and Ronit Rosenthal and published by Kinneret Publishing in 2014. The book describes the harrowing journey of two siblings, a brother and sister, who ran away from their homes in eastern Africa after witnessing the burning of a neighboring village. Their mother provided them with a magical courage potion and urged them to flee and seek out a refugee camp in order to save their lives. Although the children felt devastated because they had to leave their mother, they set off on the daunting journey in the search of a new home.

Created by: Moriya Benavot, Shaharit Yerushalmy & Hadas Selbst
Concept & Performing: Moriya Benavot & Shaharit Yerushalmy
Director: Hadas Selbst
Dramaturge: Roey Gormezano
Performer & Writer: Shaharit Yerushalmy
Performer & Puppet designer: Moriya Benavot
Original music: Dana Eizen
Table designer: Gilad Nardi
Puppet design consulter: Gili Ulmer- Kuzin
Props consulter: Yaron Karbel
Light designer: Itamar Houri

Shaharit Yerushalmi has a BA in theater and directing at The Kibbutzim College Performing Art School, and is part of the “Holot Legislative Theatre” – a collaboration between Israelis and asylum seekers in the method of “The Theater of the Oppressed” by Augusto Boal. In an interview with “Haaretz” she says:”I worked with young people at risk and with disadvantaged populations and joined the ‘legislator theater in Holot’ through which I was exposed to the refugee community in Israel and to its distress, and I found myself reading and looking for materials and learning about their situation. I read the book to my niece and my tears went on”.

Moria Ben-Avot holds a BA in theater instruction and directing at The Kibbutzim College of Performing Arts School and is a graduate of puppet studies at the Holon Puppet Theater Center. She also has a master’s degree in cinema at Tel Aviv University. “We did an in-depth investigation and spoke with asylum seekers about their childhood, the village where they grew up, the games of childhood, the songs and the way of life, in order to recreate and create it in stage design and in the creative process,” she says. (‘Haaretz’, November 2017).

In their website, director Hadas Selbst and performers Shaharit Yerushalmi and Moria Benavot write: “Art, as we see it, can serve as a bridge connecting religion, race and culture. Performing the play Mulu and Tsegay is, for us, both a moral act and a social mission. Using puppets to tell a story about children who are forced to become refugees allows us to create a space for the audience to relate to the refugees’ harsh past and unknown future. We know from our work that puppets can bring hearts closer together and allow children to begin to see the ‘other’ as a human being and, in this instance, more than simply an asylum seeker or foreign worker”.

Trailer Mulu and Tsegay

 

Falken Delegations & Archiv Arbeiterjugend visits

The Easter holidays are always a busy time for the Willy Brandt Center. This year, Falken delegations from Baden Wurttemberg, Hessen and Berlin, as well as from the Archiv der Arbeiterjugend (Working Youth Archive), visited the center to learn more about the cooperation of the IFM-SEI (International Falcon Movement – Socialist Educational International) movements in the Middle East and their relations with SJD – Die Falken.

Each delegation customized their program in Israel according to their exchange partner organization. The Falken from Hessen and Berlin for instance travelled all over the country to meet with the Arab Section of HaNoar HaOved VeHaLomed (NOAL) and in the latter case took part in a workshop about anti-racism and cultural appropriation. The group from Baden Wurttemberg organized an exchange in Rishon LeTzion in particular, to learn about the history and political practice of HaShomer HaTzair. On the other hand, the group from the Archiv der Arbeiterjugend visited archives, met with historians and collected sources relating to the Zionist Socialist movements.

Their visit to the Willy Brandt Center was an additional opportunity for delegations to reflect on their time in Israel and to exchange thoughts about current political developments. Participants were particularly interested in the narratives and struggles of different ethnic, religious and political communities in the city and in the controversial decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. So what better place to start talking about these questions than the balcony of the Willy Brandt Center, which offers one of the most stunning views of the Old City and East Jerusalem!

New Project Coordinator for “Social Art”

Petra Klose is an Austrian-Czech cultural manager who was initially drawn to Jerusalem by a music festival taking place in Israel and Palestine in 2007. From the very first moment, she was fascinated by the many colors, the immense cultural richness and the uncountable number of fascinating stories from Jerusalem’s past and present. Over the years, she has developed a strong connection with the region, the people and cultural life. In 2011 she was assigned by Sari Nuseeibeh, at that time president of Al Quds University, to develop the Al Quds College of Music Project. She has also worked on other projects in the region like the Austrian Hospice Academy and the American Colony Concert Series and has presented Israeli and Palestinian art projects in Europe.

Petra Klose studied Drama and German Literature in Vienna and was also trained in ballet, harp and elocution. She founded „K und K Wien“, an agency for artists and intercultural projects in Vienna which collaborates with organizations like the Vienna Festival, Salzburg Festival, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, the Scala and the Bolshoi Theatre.

„I see the Willy Brandt Center Jerusalem as an unique creative space for cross-cultural exchange and profound human encounters. Despite or maybe even because of all the challenges artists are facing in this part of the world, I couldn’t think of a more inspiring place for the arts, as I believe that art itself is always destined to find its way to realization beyond all borders.“

Narratives of Longing – March 12-19, 2018

Five days, eight nations and one show.

Twelve young people between the ages of 19 and 22 came together in Jerusalem and Berlin to set up a performance called “Narratives of Longing”, using approaches such as ethnology, fine arts, performance and video-making.

After a week in Jerusalem in November, they met again in Berlin for 5 days to finalize their performances and present at the Theatre Expedition Metropolis as part of the festival “New Narratives”.

The participants were not only from Germany, Israel and Palestine, but also from Afghanistan, Mexico, Italy, Poland and Romania. Diversity was not merely spoken about, but was also experienced and lived daily. Flight – the search for asylum, threat and discrimination – was a connecting narrative that all participants had experienced in varying degrees, regardless of where they born or raised. The narrative of personal liberation from constraints, permanent expectations and restrictions was a central theme for many.

This authentic performance of diversity attracted a large audience at the festival “New Narratives”.
We are proud to be part of this project and to make a great contribution to its success by providing a safer space across conflict lines at the WBC in Jerusalem.

“Narratives of longing” is a cooperation with: Drei Wünsche Frei-Studio for Hybrid Culture (Berlin), Theater Expedition Metropolis (Berlin), the Center for International Encounters (Jerusalem), the Willy Brandt Center Jerusalem and the Musrara School of Art. Special thanks to the Theater Thikwa Berlin.

This project was funded within the framework of the EUROPEANS FOR PEACE program of the Foundation EVZ (Erinnerung, Verantwortung und Zukunft / Remembrance, Responsibility and Future).

Featured image by courtesy of Amal Mattar, 2018

Photo documentation: Michelle Reissmann

 

New Project Coordinator “Peace Education” – Maja Sojref

In January 2018 Maja Sojref joined the Willy Brandt Center as the new coordinator for the project “Education for Social Change”. She has since spent as much time as possible in the youth clubs and offices of our partner organisations, in order to learn more about them and their approaches to non-formal education.

“These youth movements are radically re-imagining the possibilities for Israeli-Palestinian cooperation. Against all odds, they are determined to find new ways. The region needs youth like them”, she says “and I feel very privileged to work with them.”

Maja is a policy, public affairs and communications specialist with experience in international organisations, NGOs and media in Berlin, London, Oxford and Jerusalem. Before joining the Willy Brandt Center she worked as press consultant for the OECD Berlin office.

Growing up in Berlin Maja, was an active member of SJD-Die Falken. During countless trips to Israel and Palestine, she discovered her passion for Middle Eastern politics, history and languages and fell in love with Jerusalem: “There is no place like Jerusalem. In Jerusalem you can see both the ugliest face of the conflict and a blueprint for solidarity and shared existence.”

International Women’s Day 2018

On 8th March 2018 we are still having to fight for equal rights for everyone regardless of gender.

The WBC in Jerusalem has been working for more than twenty years with our partners to strengthen the political role of women in society.
Without equal rights for men and women, there will be neither social justice nor a democratic society. That’s what we want to emphasise today on International Women’s Day, but it is also something we have to work for every day!


Thank you for your support!

Postcard designed for the WBC by: Dorit Bialer, 2018

Intercultural Project “Narratives of Longing” in Jerusalem and Berlin

In November young artists  from Berlin and Jerusalem came together in Jerusalem.
They arrived with distinctive backgrounds of five different nations and are trained in fields  such as ethnology, fine arts, performance and videomaking. Together they started working on a performance about “longing”
The project will continue in March 2018 in Berlin.

“Narratives of longing” is a cooperation with Drei Wünsche Frei-Studio for Hybrid Culture (Berlin), Theater Expedition Metropolis (Berlin) and the Center for International Encounters (Jerusalem) and is funded within the framework of the EUROPEANS FOR PEACE programme of the Foundation EVZ (Erinnerung, Verantwortung und Zukunft/ Remembrance, Responsibility and Future).

WBC Partners Conference in Jerusalem, October 19-20, 2017

This year’s partners conference was another opportunity for us to reflect on the past year’s activities, to exchange our experiences and to take a glimpse into the future: How do we continue to create peace and dialogue while surrounded by conflict? Taking a new route with our Annual Conference we focused this year on the city where we live, work and meet: Jerusalem.

There is no solution for the conflict without considering Jerusalem in all its complexities and contradictions. So this year we opened the doors of our Center in this very heart of the conflict for two days to focus on this complex and wonderful city. While our reception on Thursday was an opportunity for mingling, networking and discussing art exhibitions in the WBC, we invited our guests on Friday to take part in talking sessions with artists, political discussions with activists and journalists and to debate during breaks on our balcony and terrace the possible future visions of our city. We thank you all for joining our event and sharing your experiences and thoughts. We can’t wait to continue the discussions and ideas within our projects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delegation Hans Böckler Foundation, September 2-10, 2017

We were happy to welcome our partners from the Hans Böckler Foundation for the 3rd time to facilitate a delegation for young scholars and student activists. Under the title “Amorphous borders? Conflicts, borders and boundaries within and between the Israeli and Palestinian society”, we facilitated a number of international encounters, political talks and tours and discussion rounds to give an impression of the complexity of our region.

Although 9 days are never enough to answer all the questions, we enjoyed furthering the knowledge of the group during meetings with German diplomats, discussions with trade unions from both sides and tours, and gatherings with activists. We can’t wait to continue our talks and our partnership with the upcoming delegation next year!

Course: Education as a Political Act – Co-Creating New Possibilities

How do we learn how to think critically, and how do we teach others to learn how to think critically for themselves? How can we learn how to be in solidarity, and implement liberatory processes within our classrooms, staff meetings, and daily lives, through educational dialogue and creativity?

This 12-week course, Education as a Political Act: Co-Creating New Possibilities, explores the concept of critical pedagogy, created by the great educational philosopher Paulo Freire based upon his book “Pedagogy of the Oppressed,” through experiential and participatory practices of educational dialogue and the expressive arts (aesthetic education), and how to implement these philosophies daily in our work environments, classrooms, and activism.

The class will run from January 2018 – March 2018, once a week at the Willy Brandt Center Jerusalem on Wednesday’s from 17:30-19:30.

To express interest and to request more information, please email Shoshana Gottesman: shoshibee@gmail.com