AMAL representatives returned from an international conference held this week in the city of Porto in Portugal. The subject of the conference was innovative methods in informal education. The conference was managed using the method of open space where participants raise relevant issues to themselves by holding discussions and workshops. There were people from different backgrounds, artists, educators and community activists. A major portion of the conference focused on how to integrate art education methods including collaboration between artists and educators.

Roi: “I realized that the international educational community can help AMAL to achive our aims.This is true especially in areas such as increasing the ability to influence and finding partners. I was very happy that there were practical suggestions in the discussion I facilitated on the subject of developing our culture through the educational process. “

Ghassan: “It was interesting and enriching to meet people who promote youth education and innovative variety of methods including a mixture of art and artists in the educational process. Caught my attention in particular the workshops of making puppets and using them in Puppet Theater, songs and music, improvisation and theater games, dance and movement. At a different level, befriending and contact with people from different countries and cultures within a common framework have been for me an important step toward integrating a pluralistic worldview and approach of cultural exchange.”

In addition the AMAL project itself was discussed and there were some practical ideas and ways of collaborative working. For example, we began to plan a training course for artists and educators to improve their collaboration and create tools for teaching of human rights and combating racism. These tools would be using dance and theatre games.

A second collaboration that was discussed was the interrelation of a few    Arabic teachers of AMAL in the Arts summer camp in Potsdam in Germany. This experience would expand their knowledge in the arts and would be an opportunity to share AMAL’s methods for teaching Arabic.