Background of the Abraham Center in Gaza...
On 1991 Samira presented her project proposal to Mr. Bjarne Schirmer from Norway. Mr. Schirmer appreciated the idea and the work, and he promised to help.
On 1994 with the help of Cheif rabbai, Norway Michael Melchior, two members of the Norwegian parliament, prominent leaders of the Folk High School Movement, and others, NOSAG, the Norwegian Support Committee for the Abraham Center in Gaza Strip, was founded with Mr. Schirmer as chairman.
When the Oslo accords were signed on 1994, a political commitment to Israeli-Palestinian peace was made.
When the Abraham Center opened on 1994, it became part of people's commitment to dialogue and opportunity-building.
8 years after that on 2003 Samira founded a new center and called it THE NEW ABRAHAM CENTER FOR LANGUAGES working with the same mission and the same goals
The founding director of the Center, Mrs. Samira Srur Fadel, spent 20 years teaching Arabic and Hebrew languages in Gaza and Israel before she founded the Abraham Center. The concept derived from her experiences as a language teacher and was inspired by the Folk High School movement in Norway and Ulpan Akiva in Israel where she was a student and then she became one of Arabic teacher at the Ulpan.
A very good relation of trust was build with the director, Miss Shulamith Kaznelson the founder of the Ulpan, it's teachers, students, friends, the staff, the workers, and every one that build a family relation, it was a home spite of all the differences.
On 1992 Samira was invited by Mr.William Harrop
The American Ambassador to participat in the: International Visitor Program of the United States Information Agency
Equal Opportunity and legal Protection for Women
Before the uprising (The first Intifada), Gaza had problems with overpopulation and poverty. The original population of the area had tripled with the influx of refugees on 1948, and the Strip on 1995 contained a little under 1 million people, about 70% of them refugees, restricted to an area of 360kmē.
During the Intifada and subsequent years, access to education was restricted (universities and other educational institutions were closed down during the Intifada) and communication and movement between the Gaza Strip and outside were virtually impossible.
On 1994 the political peace agreement had provided an opening which needed a strong education effort of grassroots awareness- and skill-building to enable the people of Gaza to take advantage of new opportunities.
The Center was founded to provide language teaching that would open doors - cultural, commercial, academic, political and personal - to the outside world.
It was envisioned as a place for celebrating and sharing the Palestinian civilization and heritage, at the same time giving Gazans the opportunity to learn about other cultures and histories - particularly those of their neighbor, Israel.
Every visit ended with appreciating to the Norwegian friends in NOSAG who helped the Abraham Center and still trying to do their best to help The New Abraham Center.
In addition to language teaching, the Center has worked with various partner organizations on People to People projects.
These include exchange programs with Norway which have involved 60 Gazan and 21 Norwegian participants, and an ongoing series of intensive programs with groups from Tel Aviv, Ben Gurion and Beer Sheva Universities in Israel. In addition, the Center regularly sends
participants to joint Palestinian-Israeli dialogues on various topics and organises cultural events to celebrate Palestinian traditions and feasts and those of other cultures.