Palm Beach County: Bedouin Women in the Negev Today - Progre...

Palm Beach County: Bedouin Women in the Negev Today - Progress, Challenges and Leadership - An Insider's Perspective

Oct 1, 2013 2:00pm - 3:30pm

Oct 1 2013 2:00pm - 3:30pm - Bedouin Women in the Negev Today - Progress, Challenges and Leadership - An Insider's Perspective Special presentation by Vivian Siler, Co-Director, and Amal Elsana Alh'jooj, Director of International Relations, AJEEC-NISPED Please note this is a closed meeting and we are not accepting RSVPs. The Bedouin community in Israel's Negev region currently numbers over 200,000 people, making up a third of the population of that area. Across national socio-economic indicators including education, household income and employment, the Bedouin population ranks lowest in Israel. This community has tremendous needs but also represents a population with remarkable potential for development and growth. Bedouin women as a group are leading the way towards regional development by embracing higher education, taking community leadership roles, and opening not-for profit organizations and businesses. Even though they are considered the most vulnerable group within Bedouin society, women are encouraging greater cooperation and acceptance between Arab and Jewish populations by participating in community dialogues on Bedouin issues at the local and national levels. AJEEC-NISPED have designed programs specifically to engage and support the women of the Bedouin community to further develop their skills and bring needed services and enterprises to benefit the entire Negev community. Vivian Silver and Amal Elsana Alh'jooj of AJEEC-NISPED, will lead a discussion based on their experiences from the field about why capable women are essential to leading the Bedouin community from a situation of dependency into one of empowerment. They will offer examples of Bedouin women as agents of change, and how they help create a more economically and socially empowered population and more positive Jewish-Arab relations. Speaker Bios Amal Elsana Alh'jooj Amal Elsana Alh'jooj is a PhD candidate at the school of social work, McGill University. Her research is foucing on Volunteerism in the Palestinian Bedouin in the Negev-Israel. She is a founder of AJEEC and the, Director of North American Relations, AJEEC-NISPED. Amal, is a past co-executive director of AJEEC-NISPED, was born in 1972, the fifth of thirteen children. She began her career as a community organizer at 14, and at 17, established the first Arab Bedouin women's organization to improve the situation of Bedouin women in a patriarchal society resisting the changes effected by rapid global changes and transitions. She earned her BA in social work at BGU in Israel and her MA in community development at McGill University in Canada. Upon her return from Canada, Amal worked to implement innovative methods of changing the stable but inherently unjust equilibrium characterizing the Palestinian national minority in Israel and the Bedouin of the Negev in particular. In 2000, Amal partnered with NISPED and established AJEEC- The Arab Jewish Center For Equality, Empowerment and Cooperation. AJEEC-NISPED organizational vision and approach to sustainable human development. Amal developed a new model to meet pressing challenges. This model, focused on the human aspects of development and applied to the Palestinian Arab minority in Israel dramatically diverged from existing models. Amal understood that models limited to the development of physical infrastructure are inadequate. A comprehensive transformative process and an emancipatory approach focused on the rebuilding of community confidence are necessary prerequisites for sustainable. Today, Amal is one of the key shapers of public opinion regarding the status of the Palestinian minority and the status of women in Israel. She is a board member of ICAN-International Community Action Network , a board member of MA'AN- A coalition of Women Organizations of the Negev, a member of the Steering Committee of Wadi Atir Project. Amal is the recipient of numerous honors and awards. To list a few: In 2012 she got the Shlomo Bublik Prize, Hebrow University, Jerusalem, that same year, she got the Spitzer Prize for Excellence and Innovation in the Field of Social Welfare, Ben Gurion University of the Negev. In 2011 she got the Victor J. Goldberg IIE Prize for Peace in the Middle East. In 2010, she was chosen by The Marker as 1 of 101 most influential people in Israel; in 2008, she was a keynote speaker at the Goldman Sachs Global Leaders Institute; that same year, November 7 was proclaimed Amal Elsana Alh'jooj Day in Hartford Connecticut. In 2005 she was a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize within the framework of the "One Thousand Women" submission; at the same year she got a Special award by the World Association of Small and Medium Enterprises for contribution to economic empowerment programs for Arab Bedouin women in 2003 she won the Lady Globes "Career Women of the Year" award. Vivian Silver Vivian Silver, is Co-Executive Director of AJEEC-NISPED (Arab-Jewish Center for Equality, Empowerment and Cooperation; Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Development). Born in Winnipeg, Vivian immigrated to Israel in 1974 where she was a founding member of the reestablished Kibbutz Gezer. She was elected the kibbutz's first secretary general and subsequently became Gezer's construction manager. She was the founder and first director of the Department to Advance Gender Equality in the United Kibbutz Movement and a member of the Knesset sub-committee for the Advancement of Women in Work and the Economy. She was a member of the board of directors of the New Israel Fund in the 80's and a member of the steering committee of Shatil in the 90's. Increasingly disturbed by the widening gap in the treatment of Israel's Jewish and Palestinian Arab citizens, Vivian focused her work on building a flourishing shared Arab Jewish society, based on equality and inclusion. She is a founding member of Shutafut-Sharakah, a forum of civil society organizations committed to the advancement of democratic values and the promotion of an equal and shared society for all Israeli citizens, Jews and Arab-Palestinians alike. She is a member of the board of B'tzelem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, and sits on the Public Advisory Committee of Midot, which evaluates non-profit organizations in Israel. Vivian is a member of Kibbutz Beeri and a founding member of the kibbutz' philanthropic fund which supports grass-roots and social change projects in the Negev. She was awarded the 2011 Goldberg IIE Prize for Peace in the Middle East together with Amal Elsana Alh'jooj. In September 2011, the prestigious Ha'aretz daily newspaper chose Vivian as one of the year's 10 most influential Anglo immigrants in Israel. She resides in the kibbutz with her husband, Lewis Zeigen, and their two sons, Chen and Yonatan.