Tony Blair Faith Foundation and Palestinian Ministry of Education Announce MOU
21 Jun 2011
Founder of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair met this morning with Her Excellency Lamis al-Alami, Minister of Education for the Palestinian Authority, to celebrate the signing of a two-year MOU to train more than 200 teachers distributed in 100 schools, as part of "Face to Faith" the Foundation's global schools programme. The agreement aims to uphold the teachers' communications skills, problem solving and critical thinking through a practical use of technology to adapt the program within the general philosophy of the Palestinian national curricula.
Deputy Minister Dr Mohamed Abu Zied, Chief Executive of the TBFF Ruth Turner and Dr Ghassan Abdullah, Face to Faith's local coordinator, also attended the meeting.
During the meeting, Her Excellency Alami said: "The TBFF is a window of opportunity for Palestinian children under siege to open up to the world and tell their story in their own words."
She also added, "Palestinian children will have a special opportunity through technology, to learn more about other cultures and accept and respect other views leading to dialogue and negotiation. It is a new experience for Palestinian children to be affiliated globally, but not overlooking their national aspirations."
In the course of the meeting, her Excellency told Mr. Blair about: "the various challenges obstructing the educational system in Area C, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, particularly, the endless constraints about students-teachers movement and School construction."
The MOU between the Ministry and the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, signed by Deputy Minister Dr Mohamed Abu Zied and TBFF's Chief Executive Ruth Turner, and endorsed by Minister al-Alami and Tony Blair, brings the Foundation's " Face to Faith " programme to over 100 Palestinian schools.
Speaking from the Ministry of Education's offices in Ramallah, Tony Blair said: "I warmly welcome this agreement, and thank the Minister and Deputy Minister for their commitment to it.
"Education is the key to fostering a tolerant and peaceful world. Face to Faith equips young people with conflict resolution skills and encourages students to become genuine global citizens, open minded, outward looking, respectful of other's rights; and most importantly enriched with mutual understanding."
Face to Faith is the Foundation's global schools programme, bringing 12 to 17 year olds together using digital technology so they can learn about each other, and about the different attitudes of different religions global issues such as the environment, health, art, poverty and wealth. The programme provides a secure website which adheres to child-protection guidelines, video-conferencing, teacher training, bespoke classroom materials and expert facilitation.
The MOU will help Palestinian students and Palestinian teachers to develop their skills and capacities, to communicate professionally, and to develop their critical and creative thinking abilities through applying educational techniques and technology.
Through the involvement of students and teachers in the program, young Palestinians can now connect with young people in other countries, including India, Pakistan, Italy, Australia, the UAE and the Philippines. This communication with other international students allows the Palestinians to know about their culture, and to introduce the Palestinian culture. The MOU will encourage a practical educational approach in communication and conflict resolution in a way that is complementary to the applied Palestinian education system which seeks to promote critical and analytical thinking.
Dr Ghassan Abdullah, Face to Faith's local co-coordinator, attended the meeting to discuss the development of the programme. He said: "This agreement helps us to reach even more young Palestinians at a crucial time. It is important that they are able to tell their stories to the world, to articulate their views on global issues, and to hear directly about the experience and opinions of others."
The Foundation's Chief Executive Ruth Turner said: "This agreement is an important milestone for the programme. I am delighted that we will work closely with the Ministry on this important initiative. We want to help to promote communication skills, conflict resolution through applying education technology, and critical and analytical thinking. We welcome the seriousness, openness and readiness of the Palestinian Ministry and Palestinian schools to participate in this international programme."