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University of Bradford students forge links with Gaza
Bradford students hope to develop scholarships for fellow students from Gaza after a delegation – the country’s first from a student union – visited the troubled area to develop links between universities.
Abdul Basit Ali delivers a workshop in social media at the Islamic University of Gaza
Students at the University of Bradford visited universities in Gaza as part of a project to run workshops, help share best practice and forge links with other institutions.
Usman Ahmed, 21, of Lidget Green , said universities were forced to close their doors as their entire student populations wished to attend the workshops led by the Bradford students.
Mr Ahmed, who is about to enter the third year of a combined studies degree at Bradford, came up with the idea for the trip alongside fellow student Ruckaiya Karim, as part of the United 4Palestine group.
Mr Ahmed said “I found it quite inspirational that despite the occupation, despite the lack of resources – some of the equipment they were using was quite old and had been donated by countries quite a while back, almost 20 years ago – the students academically were really motivated.”
Mr Ahmed said he and other Bradford students led a number of workshops – some of which were attended by up to 400 people – showing Gaza students a more interactive way of learning than the traditional lecture.
Twelve students, three members of staff at the University of Bradford Student’s Union and one former teacher took part in the trip.
The delegation was organised, in part, by Khaled al-Mudallal, who was trapped in Gaza in 2007 while he was still a University of Bradford student.
MPs from all parties united in the fight to see Mr al-Mudallal and he was allowed to rejoin his course after his release in December of that year.
Mr Ahmed said: “We are working on setting up an organisation called Pal Foundation because since we came back we realised this was something we wanted to continue in our university as well as other universities in the UK. We wanted to concentrate on education because what we got back from the students was they were really pleased with the workshops because what they were used to was people coming and seeing the situation, but not working with students to help develop their skills.”
Student engagement manager Michael Allhouse, who helped organise the trip, said the hope was to develop scholarships for Gaza students in the future, as well as develop better workshops for future delegations, the first of which is already being planned for next year.
He said: “We are already starting to think about these things and put together our workshop plan for the next time in 2013.”