The second day of the Arab Center's Fifth Annual Historical Studies Conference, Seventy Years since the Palestinian Nakba: Memory and History closed in Doha today, 13 May 2018. The day's events included two panels and two workshops devoted to Palestine in Arab school curricula.
The first session focused on a critique of Israeli approaches to the Nakba, moderated by Nadim Rouhana. Yasser D. Djazaerly presented the first paper of the day: "The Historiography of the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine," followed by Mahmoud Muhareb with his paper, "The Role of the Israeli Communist Party in the Nakba." Adel Manaa finished off the panel with his paper titled "A Revision of the Historical Literature on the Nakba: a Look into Historic Palestine."
Session two looked at the intellectual and literary representation of the Nakba, under the moderation of Saqr Abu Fakhr. Ihab Shalbak gave his presentation, "On the Meaning of the Nakba: Between Disaster and Salvation," followed by Fakhri Saleh who discussed "The Nakba, the Novel, and the Crystallization of a Palestinian National Identity." Rami Abu Shihab presented his paper titled "The Functions and Manifestations of Collective Solidarity: a Reading of Ibrahim Nasrallah's 'Age of the White Horses,'" while Mohannad Mubaideen rounded off the presentations with a discussion of "The Nakba in Contemporary Arab Historical Discourse."
The rest of the day was reserved for two special workshops analyzing the coverage of Palestine and the Palestinian cause in official Arab school curricula at each learning stage. Academics and education professionals from various Arab countries provided the results of their research, within the framework of a research project designed by the ACRPS. The project is based on content analysis of official school curricula and the major changes that have taken place concerning the study and topic of Palestine. This includes changes in concepts and information, as well as the reduction or even omission of the Palestinian question in Arab schools altogether. The project is part of the Center's vision of Arab democratic citizenship, in which education and an Arab renaissance is central. The research is set to be published in a separate book.
The workshop addressed questions about the project to the speakers. When did the topic of the "Palestinian Cause" become restricted, omitted, or expanded in the curricula? When did the content and terminology, or the concepts and information change? What were the historical political conditions that motivated these changes? What reflections do they have about the "new" content, especially in social sciences? The first workshop was moderated by Shafiq Al-Ghabra and included discussion from Abdel Fattah Madi of Egypt; Ahmad Moufleh of Lebanon; Ammar al-Samar of Syria; Mohammed Munther Salah and Naeem Abu Hommous of Palestine; Nahar Nouri of Iraq; and Thouqan Obeidat of Jordan. The second workshop was moderated by Abdel Fattah Madi and included discussion from Hamaoullah ould Salem of Mauritania; Mohammed Al-Misfer of Qatar; Nasser Al Sadi of Oman; Nasser Saidouni of Algeria; Yousef Al-Mahmeed of Kuwait; and Saif al- Maskari on the UAE.