The Norwegian Project
The Norwegian project was initiated in 2009 by Prof. Erni Gustafson of Lillehammer University College (LUC), Norway. It is a cross cultural experience that aims at building bridges of mutual understanding through mobility in education and through creating unconventional methods of teaching and learning. Prof. Gustafson ventured sending students to have their practical outstay in Palestine. The project is the result of the collaborative efforts of professors, students, advisers, and social workers on both sides. While it aims at offering students from LUC practical training in Palestinian refugee camps and other social and child care institutions, it offers Palestinian children the chance to have learning experiences through the training activities that the Norwegian students initiate. The project brings the two cultures (the Norwegian culture represented by LUC students and different strata of the Palestinian society) into a close contact through which an exchange of ideas, cultural values, and educational and social experiences take place. This contact helps in offering students educational opportunities that make them, in addition to being qualified in their field of study, better in understanding the Arabic and Islamic culture and in getting a perspective outside the home based one. The project is unique in its proposals, results and prospects and it calls for other programs in different parts of the world to follow suit by creating mobility in education and by the sharing of knowledge and educational experiences.
Yaffa Cultural Center provides the project with all possible facilities such as accommodation and space and helps in organizing activities that help LUC students and children from refugee camps in Nablus to interact. This interaction brings outstanding results for research and for debate. LUC students also have weekly meetings moderated by a Palestinian supervisor who helps in initiating research questions and in the formative and summative assessment of the performance of students and the project as a whole. A case study is undertaken in every weekly meeting and is given full consideration by all involved parties. The project is funded by LUC.
The project aims at creating unconventional educational and training opportunities, based on mobility and sharing for students so that they become citizens of the world.
The project was launched in 2010 with the ambition of disseminating the experience among larger number of participants. We so far have succeeded in setting in motion a level of cooperation that satisfies participants on both sides and our ambition does not lie there; we are hopeful to create more opportunities for cooperation.
The project has the following objectives:
1. To offer students of LUC a unique training opportunities in social work and child care
2. To create cultural and educational links between the Norwegian(European) culture and the Palestinian (Arab Islamic) culture.
3. To reinforce the concepts of justice, tolerance and human rights
4. To harness information technology in serving cross cultural educational possibilities.
5. To create learning opportunities that prepares students to be citizens of the world
6. To make students on both sides acquainted with cultural differences and to accept and appreciate them
7. To alleviate stress of refugee children by offering them opportunities for learning and engaging them in different activities.