Events


This Friday I will be speaking at Nasawiya for a couple of hours on some of the best practices of public speaking. Something I really enjoy. The idea of this session is not to transform listeners into the world’s best speakers – thats not possible in two hours. But rather to provide some practical advice about content structure, delivery  as well as how to deal with nervousness. Hopefully afterward we’ll do a full fledged public speaking workshop. If you’d like to come here are more details: The 10 Commandments of Public Speaking.

 

I’ll be publishing the gist of the 10 commandments here on my blog after the session.  Hope to see you there if you can make it.

So after the lull of work in Ramadan and the Eid holiday, October has come and with a vengeance. There is so much going on that I am afraid to loose track! Here are some of the things happening in October and I will try to be on top of things and write more often about these happenings and more.

October is…

• All month long: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

• Oct 2: Hamzet Wasel kite making activity and the Walk for Right to Play

• Oct 9: Municipality of Amman’s Centennial Parade

• Oct 8-21: Follow the Women bike ride for peace

• Oct 15: Blog Action Day 2009: Climate Change

• Oct 17: The Amman International Marathon

• Oct 24: 350.org Action day (Hamzet Wasel will be conducting an action too)

I am sure I’ve missed many important things in October so feel free to add to the list.

So as a skeptic of Twitter and its crazy chatter I was surprised at myself for wanting to go, and thankful to Ali for taking me along, to the Amman Twestival. The Twestival that took place last night was not what I would call a festival but more of a seminar with four panelists and a lively audience discussion. As a blogger it was very interesting to hear the about the potential of Twitter as a leveraging tool and a means of outreach.

The discussion though focused on the corporate and the entrepreneurs was if not useful was definitely fascinating to follow with ideas, and responses from corporate, venture capitalists, start ups, and various web initiatives. The leveraging of social media and its use in what is being called social marketing and customer service was one of two topics that dominated the discussion. The other being digital content and how content is the driving force behind followers.

Present in the audience were bloggers and Tweeps (People who use twitter apparently are called tweeps- I am now a tweep). Being at the Twestival I felt something was missing, and that was the Tweep from the panel. But then I quickly realized that a Tweep didn’t need to be there on the panel they were in the room constantly twittering and in doing so they were contributing to the live digital discussion going on in parallel the to the one on the ground. At one point you could hear the people talk and the laptop keyboards and mobile phone keypads clicking away at the same time, and to keep up you had to keep an ear on the conversation and an eye on the main screen projecting the tweets. It seemed to me as if everyone was gossiping, talking, contributing, making fun and having fun at the same time.

The Twestival was a learning experience for sure, and the fact that Aman Fund (www.alamanfund.jo) benefited from it made me a happy camper thanks to Aramex’s gracious donation. The networking opportunity that took place afterwards over atayef and coffee was just as valuable if not more – taking the conversation to the next level and making personal, generating even more ideas and finally motivating me to go twitter. Now to get the hang of the tweets.

A Jordanian journalist, feminist and human rights activist is now published. Rana Husseini’s new book Murder in the Name of Honour was launched in the UK May 28,  will be launched in Amman June 2 and will be launched in the US June 26.

You can attend the launch in Amman at Readers in Cosmo 7pm – 9pm and get signed copies.

Below is more about the book and the woman behind it as published in a press release from her publishers One World.

THE TRUE STORY OF ONE WOMAN’S HEROIC FIGHT AGAINST AN UNBELIEVABLE CRIME

RANA HUSSEINI

A leading investigative journalist offers the first definitive exposé of honour killings.

Rana Husseini’s hard hitting and controversial examination of honour crimes is a fearless, groundbreaking account of a topic that can no longer be ignored.  Claiming the lives of 5,000 women every year, and common in many traditional societies around the world, as well as in migrant communities in Europe and the USA, these so-called “Honour Killings” involve a “punishment” – often death or disfigurement – carried out by a relative to restore the family’s honour.

Breaking through the conspiracy of silence surrounding this crime, the book includes the personal stories behind many high profile cases that have recently hit the news, as well as many other, as yet unheard stories. Rana also describes her battle to change outdated laws and expose those countries that still, even today, legally allow killers who claim to have struck in the name of honor to walk free. No other writer has taken such an unflinching look at one of the most brutal practices that still exists in the modern world.

Journalist, feminist, and human rights defender, Jordanian RANA HUSSEINI is one of the world’s most influential investigative journalists, whose reporting has put violence against women on the public agenda around the world. The recipient of numerous awards for bravery in journalism, she is a regular speaker at major international events and has been interviewed by almost every major international broadcaster, from CNN to the BBC

Kite Flying at Jabal Al Qalaa (Citadel)

Kite Flying at Jabal Al Qalaa (Citadel)

A couple of weekends ago I was lucky enough to be part of the start of a new initiative. The aim of the initiative is to bring the diverse people of the city together and find fun and meaningful ways to connect and learn from each other outside of the traditional. What that translated to was that a group of friends and myself headed to the citadel to learn how to make and fly kites.

Arriving in the morning and seeing all the old friends arrive with their kids, walking over and meeting the other kids in the neighborhood youth center built up the anticipation to what was to become an explosion of colors, string, wood, and a lot of smiles.

I never expected kite making to be such an intricate science, and the way these kids made them made seem so easy, but kite making is exact, delicate and time consuming. What amazed me is the kids didn’t once use a ruler or measuring tool, they instead measured with the string they were using against the sticks. They used staples to put things together if they couldn’t tie them securely. And then when they were done with the body of the kite with string they made a tail. I learned that without a tail a kite won’t fly.

The kids were so giving and so full of information. Some were amazing teacher others were fantastic kite makers. But whatever role the children took on they gave willingly and freely. My friends and their kids all had a great time watching and learning, but what really made the difference to me was the connections they made with the people from the neighborhood over a labor of love and joy.

When we went to fly the kites everyone’s face was turned upwards watching their kites fly. Collectively they took pride in their efforts but everyone was overjoyed that they flew – the winds were not favorable that day. But despite the poor wind the kites fly high like the aspirations of everyone on that hill. I remember two women coming up to me and what they said “This is better than playstation” to her I say YES AKEED. The other woman said “my daughter has nevr been so happy”. Thank you to everyone for making it a great day.

But here is where I want to do a plug in about the neighborhood and the hill where we played. This is a small flat area, free of artifacts and ruins, it is not the best but it is the only place the kids of the neighborhood can play. Currently it is used a parking lot for the citadel and for RVs. If you want to help make the space free for all to play in and maybe even made into a community park then please contact Raghda Butros (raghda@gmail.com) an Urban Activist.

We each can make a difference go visit the space, understand the dynamics of the location, meet the people, and contact Raghda. Our children need to be outdoors need to play, need to grow. They have a right to all of that, help preserve those precious spaces today.

Flying kites is a thing I have never really done. I don’t know how to fly a kite let alone make one. This weekend I have the opportunity to do both in a community event in Jabal Al Qala’a made possible by Adraaj Amman. So if you want participate in kite making and flying free up your Friday morning. Places are limited so do confirm your attendance.

 

Date: April 10, 2009

Day: Friday

Time:10:30 am 

Location:  Jabal Al Qala’a

Meeting point: Citadel Entrance

Cost: JD 5- 10 (you will participate in buying materials for both yourself and for a child from the Local Jabal Al Qala’a Community.

 

Contact info: Raghda Butros raghda@gmail.com 079-6637377

Confirm by: Thursday 3 pm

Note: Children welcome

 

See you all there and get read to see your creations, and those of the kids’, soar in a beautiful spring sky.

 

OK for those of you that read my post about my birthday celebrations and want to partake I have an update. There is a lot of coordination and collaboration involved in making these things happen so I would like to thank everyone who expressed interest in joining me and more importantly those of you helping me make my thirty second birthday a celebration of us rather than me. And so here are the various events and ideas that all or any of you can help in and by doing so give me a fantastically rewarding birthday:

 

  1. Jabal Al Qalga Kite making and flying with the kids of the neighborhood with Hamzet Wasel Initiative
  2. Renovating and fixing of Women’s Center in Gaza Camp in Jerash with V-team Initiative
  3. Undecided event with Zikra Initiative
  4. Buy a tree and plant it in Palestine with APN – Arab Group for the Protection of Nature (http://www.apnature.org)
  5. Give me your old clothes, recyclable paper, tins and plastic and I will send them to a community center or the recycling center
  6. And finally for those that just want to hang out a walk in Jabal Amman and a walk in Jabal Al Weibeh (two of my favorite places in the city) the weekend following my birthday

 

 

I will post more info these initiatives and events and include dates, times, places and costs this coming week. And for those of you on Facebook I will create events for them. All are welcome even if I don’t know you and you want to do these things Ahlan Wa Sahlan.

I will soon be 32 and I have been asked what I want for my birthday whether it be for celebrations or for gifts. These questions got me thinking about past birthdays and gifts and what they’ve meant to me. I’ve done the crazy parties with the cakes and sparklers and massive amounts of booze, the traveling for my birthday and the quiet dinners. But this year I want something different, and I know exactly what I want.

This year what I want involves none of the above in any way, shape or form. This year I do not want any parties in bars or restaurants or cafes. I do not want any celebrations with cake, or alcohol or food. I do not want all that money spent for such a selfish and self centered purpose. My birthday! There have been many and who knows there may be many more too. But I do not want to be the excuse for a night of drunken revelry, I do not want massive amounts of food consumed at some lavish dinner in an expensive restaurant, I do not want anyone to go out of their way for me to celebrate in frivolity a day that comes a long often enough and there is really nothing special about it except that I popped out from between my mother’s legs like thousands if not millions of others on that day.

I do not want any gifts either not matter how big or small, grand or symbolic for I have enough stuff in my life and I am trying to get rid of a lot of it! There is nothing I really need at this moment in time and the things I want I can do without. So thank you but no thank you.

When I made these declarations to my friends their faces were so puzzled, confused and some were upset and said that was unacceptable! And so I told them that what would make me happy instead was for them to do something selfless, something that gives back to the community, something outside themselves and me.

One of my favorite quotes is “Be the change you want to see in the world” by Ghandi and this year this is what I want for my birthday. And so to celebrate I want organize an event that gives back to the community in some way or form. That recognizes the pleasure in working together to make a difference. If there is any money to be spent then it would be on the event and it should go towards your local community. And if you insist on giving me a gift then make a donation in my name to an organization that makes a difference to people’s lives like a cancer foundation, orphanages, NGOs that work on community development, and if you don’t want to give cash then clean out your closet and give the things you don’t want to people who can use them like the Gaza aid souk or the King Hussein center for the mentally disabled, or Ruwwad in Jabal Al Natheef, if you want to do this and don’t know how give me a call and I can help you or just drop things off with me and I can take care of it. Spend a day volunteering. If even that is too much trouble then just do something nice for a stranger in the street, it can be that simple.

If you still insist on giving me something personal then give me a good memory. Walk with me in the streets or Jabal Amman, come over and watch a movie, let’s have a good conversation, send me a letter or an email or help me paint a new bookcase I’m getting, take a picture and send it to me. I will also personally be arranging an outdoor activity that will focus on giving something back to the world we live in. Let me know if you want to be part of that activity, it will make me really happy to spend time with my friends doing something along those lines and I will post it here once the details are sorted out.

Help me be the change I want to see in this world we live in and embody some of the ideals and beliefs that I have. Yes I am an idealist and to some I may be foolish, but I think we can make a difference one small step at a time. Will you walk with me?

The idea has caught on and The Palestinian Cultural Center (PCC), a centre that works to raise funds and send to Palestine, is having a souq. The souq is similar in style to the AID Gaza Souq that ran a couple of weekends ago (or was it last weekend?). The will be selling various items from food to table cloths, runners, cushions, ornaments, accessories… etc. They will also sell items donated by you the public in a garage sale.

 

So if you have anything around the house you don’t need, don’t want, or can spare and it is in good condition then donate to them. All donations and proceeds will go to Aiding Gaza in its huge reconstruction efforts.

 

When: February 3rd but please send your donations before then.

Time: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Where: The PCC in Rabieh

Contact info: 06 551 47 51

 

The struggle is not over and emergency relief is only part of the battle. Help Gaza today donate your items and go shop at the souq. Make a difference in someone else’s life!

On Saturday January 17 2009 a community got together and donated time, effort and goods to Gaza. When I arrived I expected to see a few stalls and a few people instead I saw every possible space at the YWCA filled with stalls goods and people.

 

Young and old had volunteered to do various roles from setting up the shoe throwing game, to selling raffle tickets, young musicians had volunteered their voices for a concert and the stalls were filled with various wares from used books to handmade jewelry and such. Stall proceeds were pledged to the cause and they ranged from 100% to 10% of profits and proceeds going to Gaza. The goal was to raise JD 1000 to use for medical supplies and goods.

 

After seven hours of giving and taking, after a lot of running around, people started to tidy up and put away their wares. Happily tired volunteers were packing what little was left of the donations that came through for sale. And as the money was being counted we quickly realized we had exceeded our expectations of JD 1000. Slowly we counted 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, and 5555 Jordanian Dinars (USD7845) in sales, proceeds, and donations ALL GOING TO GAZA.

 

Well done, one and all! Well done to every one that pitched in, to everyone that brought or made something to sell and to everyone that brought their wallets and emptied them out.  I would also like to thank the women behind this event (this event was initiated and run and 90% manned by women from the community).

 

In my opinion, what we saw that day was amazing and worth much more in human spirit and generosity. The community came together and it didn’t matter where they were from, what religion they were, what color or creed, what nationality. That day we were all humans out to help other humans in need. Thank you for reaffirming to me that humanity still exists in this ever growing and alienating city.

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