22 December 2011, Jerusalem - Hundreds of UNRWA students gathered last week at a school in Nablus to participate in a closing celebration of “EU-UNRWA Days”, a programme that exposed Palestine refugee students to European culture and history.
Through singing, dancing, and other performances, the students demonstrated what they had learned through the programme – a series of one-day extracurricular activities held at UNRWA schools throughout the West Bank, provided thanks to the generous support of the European Union.
A celebration of education
“After 62 years, today is not a day to celebrate UNRWA,” said the Agency’s David Hutton, “but rather the continuing strength and resilience of Palestine refugees, and their desire to prepare their children for the future through education.”
Hutton was joined at the celebration by over 200 friends and families of the students, along with guests from the EU and the French Cultural Centre. Classes of girls and boys danced, sang, rapped, used handmade puppets, and even quizzed the audience on European history in both English and Arabic.
Students demonstrate their knowledge through art
After the performance, the audience was invited into an exhibition space displaying art projects created by the students during EU-UNRWA Days. The success of the programme was exemplified through the art, including a model of the Eiffel Tower and an illustrated report on jazz in the Czech Republic.
Following statements from EU and UNRWA officials, a student representative summed up the general sentiment in a speech to the audience.
“These days have raised our awareness and understanding of European culture,” she said. “We’ve enjoyed every single minute we spent in the summer camp. It was the first summer camp of its kind that we’ve ever had, and we’re hoping it won’t be the last.”
The EU and UNRWA
The EU's principal objective in delivering support to Palestine refugees is to contribute to the just resolution of the refugee issue as part of a comprehensive settlement of final status issues. In doing so, the EU ensures that the essential humanitarian and development needs of the Palestine refugees are met. It delivers most of such assistance through its partnership with UNRWA.
The EU has been UNRWA’s largest donor since 1971. The bulk of EU financial support is devoted to UNRWA’s core funding enabling it to provide essential education, health, and social relief services to Palestine refugees.
To find out more about the EU’s assistance to the Palestinians, visit the Europa website.