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[OPIRG-EVENTS] CEPAL Summer Program Launch: 9 May in Ottawa

     Note that the deadline to register is this Sunday May 5

    "Still at the Heart of the Matter: Palestinian Refugees"

The launch of CEPAL's Summer 2002 Overseas Program, featuring keynote 
speaker Professor Elia Zureik

Thursday, May 9th, 2002
7:00 pm
Room 269, West Block, Parliament Hill
Admission is free

*Professor Elia Zuriek* will open the evening with his keynote address 
entitled "Palestinian Refugees and the Middle East Conflict." Professor 
Zuriek will talk about leading crisis issues with a focus on the refugee 
dimension of the conflict.

*Photo Exhibit* of works by Palestinian children presented by Shannon Dow. 
“From the Eyes of A Child: Human Rights for the Children of Bourj 
El-Barajneh” is a photo project initiated by Dow with her students in Bourj 
el-Barajneh, one of the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon where she 
volunteered with CEPAL in the summer of 2001. This display presents the 
photographs and letters of her students and gives voice to their view of the 

CEPAL Summer 2001 participant Jordan Topp will summarize volunteer 
accomplishments in the refugee camps last summer.

Launch of Summer 2002 Program by Giulia El Dardiry. El Dardiry coordinated 
last year's overseas summer program and will introduce the goals set out for 
this upcoming summer's challenge.

An *auction and raffle* will take place so that others can participate to 
help make CEPAL's Summer 2002 Overseas Program a reality.

RSVP by Sunday, 5 May, 5:00 pm to (613) 236-7825 or events@cepal.ca

To book interviews or for other enquiries, please contact: Madalena Santos 
at tel: (613) 236.7825 or via e-mail: madalenasantos@hotmail.com

This event is presented by CEPAL – the Canadian-Palestinian Educational 
Exchange and co-sponsored by Libby Davies, MP Vancouver East

What is CEPAL?
CEPAL - the Canadian-Palestinian Educational Exchange - is a not-for-profit 
organization founded in 1996 by young Canadians who share a deep commitment 
to the respect of human dignity and human rights of all people.  CEPAL’s 
objective is to assist the Palestinian refugees in the pursuit of their 
basic human rights by increasing their access to education and by raising 
public awareness in Canada about their struggle. In Canada, CEPAL works in 
cooperation with a wide range of organizations, and is supported by 
community organizations and individuals who donate their time and money.

Why Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon?
The situation that confronts Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon is worsening 
daily. As much of the world focuses on the difficulties facing Palestinians 
in the West Bank and Gaza, the dire situation of the Palestinian Diaspora in 
Lebanon is largely forgotten. Poverty, health crises and illiteracy are all 
on the rise among Palestinians in Lebanon. Over 60 percent of Palestinian 
families in Lebanon are living below the UN-established poverty-line, and 
they form a greater percentage of UN-defined “hardship cases” than any other 
Palestinian community (including Gaza).  A recent survey of war-widows in 
the Bourj el-Barajneh camp, which contains a very high number of 
female-headed households, revealed that nearly 80 percent of women are 
illiterate. Nearly every school is operating on double shifts, and 40 
percent of the Palestinian refugee population in Lebanon is now considered 
illiterate. In spite of this reality, most donor agencies believe that the 
Palestinian issue in Lebanon is being “solved” and have been channeling 
their assistance to the West Bank and Gaza. As the Palestinian population in 
Lebanon sinks further into political oblivion, they are leaderless and 
voiceless, stranded in refugee camps that have only sporadic running water 
or electricity.

Why Language Training?
CEPAL’s language programs will not solve the precarious predicament of 
Palestinians in Lebanon.  However, English and French language skills can 
open up options in a largely optionless future. Noted author and 
anthropologist Rosemary Sayigh suggests ‘sending volunteers to work with 
Palestinian NGOs in Lebanon e.g. in children’s summer camps or teaching 
English’ is a key role North American NGOs should be playing.  In addition 
to language training, CEPAL has incorporated computer training into its 

Brief Biographies

Professor Elia Zuriek

Elia Zuriek currently teaches at Queen's University in Kingston. His work 
covers several areas of research, including race and ethnic relations, 
political socialization, and the role of information and communication 
technology in contemporary society. His published work deals with Canada, 
Britain, and the Middle East, in particular the Palestinian-Israeli 
conflict. His most recent work addresses the issue of Palestinian refugees 
in the context of the on-going negotiations in the Middle East peace

Giulia El Dardiry, Shannon Dow, and Jordan Topp worked with CEPAL in the 
summer of 2001. They lived and worked with Palestinian refugees in Bourj 
el-Barajneh, Shatila and Wavell camps in Lebanon. El-Dardiry coordinated the 
Summer 2001 Program which enabled volunteers to provide English and French 
language instruction, as well as basic computer skills to children and 

Giulia El Dardiry recently completed her studies in Anthropology at the 
University of McGill and will continue her studies in Journalism this summer 
at Concordia University.

Shannon Dow recently completed her studies in International Development and 
Anthropology with a concentration in Medical Anthropology at the University 
of McGill.  She is looking forward to the challenge of being one of this 
year's Summer 2002 Overseas Program Coordinators.

Jordan Topp recently completed her studies in Social Work at McGill 
University. Jordan will share the challenge as one of the Overseas 
Coordinators in Lebanon for the Summer 2002 Program.

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