RETURN AND LIBERATION: Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North America
FINAL SCHEDULE AND PROGRAM
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Territories, Canada
Conference Centre: Buchanan A Building, Room A101, 1866 Main Mall, UBC Campus, Vancouver
Friday, May 3
|3:00 pm||Registration Opens – Buchanan A101, Buchanan A Building, 1866 Main Mall|
|5:00 pm||Conference Opening
Light refreshments will be served
Acknowledgement of Unceded Musqueam Territory
Remarks from Nisga’a elder and community organizer Carol Martin
Remarks by Indigenous and Human Rights activist Steven Kakinoosit
Welcome from Haneen Karajah, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights – UBC
Remarks from Khaled Barakat, Conference Coordinator
Keynote by Hanna Kawas
|7:30 pm – 8:30 pm||Informational Workshops SessionCurrent Forms and Conditions of Palestinian Representation in the Shatat and Homeland
Facilitator: Loubna Qutami
We will map out the current forms of organizing by Palestinians in the homeland and across the Shatat, and the challenges they face in their respective locations. This session will allow participants to better situate and contextualize our role in North America within the broader movement for Palestinian liberation around the world.
Organizing on the Arab Community Front: Implications for our struggle in North America
Between Denunciation and Self-Criticism: Histories, Principles, and Strategies
Saturday, May 4
|8:00 am||Registration Opens – Buchanan A101, Buchanan A Building
Breakfast – and a special greeting, via Skype from Leila Khaled
|8:30 am – 10:30 am||PLENARY ILOOKING BACK, FORGING FORWARD: Strengthening our Organizing in the ShatatThis plenary will examine Palestinian organizing in the shatat, looking at the past and moving to the present day. We will discuss the reasons and implications for how different methods and mechanisms came to frame our organizing as part of our liberation movement, and consider frameworks moving forward. Some of the questions addressed will include: What have been the organizing trends within the history of our movement? What has been the historical role of students, workers, and women? How do we forge our role and revitalize our sense of national responsibility in the shatat? How do our communities currently organize? What internal and external challenges are confronting our communities? How do we build community accountability and organizing discipline? How can we imagine and strategize ways to connect our organizing in North America with our brothers and sisters on the ground and in exile?
Speakers: Loubna Qutami, Issam Yamani, Mezna Qato
|10:45 am – 12:45 pm||Organizing Workshops Session IReference and Leadership: Palestinian Perspectives and Practices on BDS and Solidarity in North America
Facilitators: Dina Omar, Fatin Jarara
Palestinians in the shatat are deeply involved in Palestine solidarity work, and in particular BDS organizing. In that context, in this workshop we will discuss the role of Palestinians in shatat in determining the course of the BDS movement, and the challenges of reference and notions of leadership that have emerged within the BDS movement. The discussion will also address how Palestinians in shatat can mobilize within Palestinian and Arab communities to isolate Israel.
From Prisons to Pipelines: Forging Joint Struggle with Justice Movements in North America
Issues in Gender and Queer Organizing
Fighting Back: Confronting Zionism and Normalization in North America
|12:45 pm-1:30 pm||Lunch – and a special photo presentation from Gaza by Kevin Neish – Buchanan A 101|
|1:30 pm – 3:30 pm||Organizing Workshops Session IIRepression and Resistance: Palestinian Civil and Political Rights in North America
Facilitators: Lamis Deek, Liz Jackson
Political repression has played a significant role in suppressing organizing in the Palestinian community. This workshop will address challenges in dealing with the FBI, police and other forms of surveillance and harassment, both directly and as it impacts political organizing. We will discuss how can we organize and challenge this intimidation in our communities, schools, and organizing spaces.
Integrating Grassroots Democratic and Participatory Processes
Building Bridges with Palestinian Refugee Camps in the Shatat
Organizing on the Cultural Front
|3:45 pm – 5:30 pm||PLENARY II
PALESTINIAN REPRESENTATION AND THE RIGHT OF RETURN: Raising Our Voices in the Shatat in North America
The PLO is historically regarded as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, an overarching mechanism by which we all came together to deliberate on the strategies of our national movement. In this plenary, we will discuss the histories of political representation in our national movement, and what representation might mean today. Some of the questions addressed will include: What did the PLO look like, what does it look like now, and how/can it be remade? What can we learn from our earlier revolutionary histories? How has the current lack of representation impacted our struggle, and our ability to develop a coherent and cohesive national strategy for liberation and return? How do we create representation bodies that are inclusive of all our people and forces, and serve the needs of our national movement? How do we embody our demands for popular and democratic representation in our own communities and associations?
Speakers: Rabab Abdulhadi, Karma Nabulsi, Abdelrazzaq Takriti
Moderator: Jacqueline B. Husary
|5:45-7:30 pm||Representation Workshops SessionReclamation and Renewal: Part I – Exploring and Defining our Relationship to the PLO and PA
Facilitators: Ramzy Baroud, Karma Nabulsi
This conversation will continue on from the plenary to discuss in further detail the current state of the PLO, the national reconciliation process, and other issues in the current national political scene, and ways forward for Palestinians in North America. It will discuss in further detail the campaign for direct elections to the Palestinian National Council, and ways in which Palestinian communities can build the campaign.
Building Discourses for National Unity and Liberation: Setting Principles and Goals
The Role of Palestinian Students and Youth: Grassroots-Building in the Shatat, and Bridging to Palestine
Representation in North America: Building Community Leadership
|8:00 pm||Celebration Evening and Dinner
Join the Palestine Cultural Society and the organizing committee of the Vancouver Palestinian Shatat Conference for an Arab cultural evening at the Conference of the Palestinian Shatat, celebrating our coming together and marking 65 years of resilience after the Nakba.Featuring:
Palestinian singer Nisreen Hajaj
Oudist Ghassan Hijazi Dabke by the Jafraa Dabke Troupe
Arab singer Nancy Jibbe
Poetry by the Desert Poet
Poetry by Akram Shaban
Sunday May 5
|8:00 am||Registration Opens – Buchanan A101, Buchanan A Building|
|8:30 am||Breakfast – and special greeting from a former Palestinian prisoner|
|9:00 am-10:00 am||Skill and Campaign Building SessionsOrganizing Palestinian Academics: Challenges, Potentials, and Responsibilities
Facilitators: Nada Elia, Rabab Abdulhadi
What role have academics played in national movement work? What role should they be playing? Here we will have a conversation on the role of Palestinian academics in North America, and their relationship to broader community and movement work.
Civil Disobedience, Direct Action and Protest Organizing
The Role of Palestinian Students and Youth: Part II – Grassroots and Campaign-Building in the Shatat
Reclamation and Renewal: Part II -Next Steps
|10:30 am – 2:00 pm||PLENARY III
Organizers Plenary – Reporting Back, Decision Making and Ways ForwardIn this plenary, we will come together to discuss findings from all the movement conversations we participated in throughout the weekend. We will hear reports back from sessions on suggestions for possible work moving forward, and think through possibilities of crafting a conference statement.
All conference participants should attend and participate in this session!
|Afternoon- 4:00 pm||Protest CIJA (Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs) Western Regional Conference, featuring Dennis Ross and Israeli Ambassador to Canada (downtown at the Segal School of Business)|