British-Arab Exchanges (BAX) has continued its programme of videoconference dialogue between students in London and Gaza. Two conferences have taken place in April and May 2017, hosted by the British Council.
For three years these videocons have brought students together, across the blockade that prevents most Gazan students from travelling abroad. Prior to this, BAX ran other discussions and workshops – originally planned after successive groups of Gazans were refused visas to travel to Europe in person for BAX programmes.
The videocons provide a rare opportunity to form friendships and find out about each other’s lives and concerns. They have also enabled the students to work together on social media projects to help break down negative stereotypes of their societies. This year’s students are resuming a blog started last year, to which we will soon be able to provide a link. They particularly want to transform the image most outsiders have of life in Gaza.
“It’s very exciting to bring these students together in the same room like this, when the option would be no contact at all,“ says one of the BAX moderators. “It creates quite a new understanding of each other, and they are eager to keep the conversation going.”