"My Neighbourhood" Panel Discussion
March 1, 2013
Belfer Center Programs or Projects: Middle East Initiative
The Middle East Initiative presented a screening of Just Vision's documentary short, "My Neighbourhood" on February 20, 2013. Co-sponsored by the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, the screening was followed by a panel discussion about the film, which follows the story of Mohammed Al Kurd, a Palestinian teenager growing up in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in the heart of East Jerusalem. The panelists included Julia Bacha, Co-Director and Producer of My Neighbourhood, Daniel Seidemann of Terrestrial Jerusalem and Thomas Abowd, Lecturer in Cultural Anthropology at Tufts University. Robert H. Mnookin, Samuel Williston Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, Chair of the Steering Committee of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, and the Director of the Harvard Negotiation Research Project, moderated the panel.
Listen to the audio recording here:
About the Film:
Mohammed Al Kurd is a Palestinian teenager growing up in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in the heart of East Jerusalem. When Mohammed turns 11, his family is forced to give up part of their home to Israeli settlers, who are leading a campaign of court-sanctioned evictions to guarantee Jewish control of the area. Shortly after the evictions start, Mohammed’s family and other residents begin peacefully protesting against the displacement. In a surprising turn, they are quickly joined by scores of Israeli supporters who are horrified to see what is being done in their name.
My Neighborhood follows Mohammed’s story as he comes of age in the midst of unrelenting tension and remarkable cooperation in his backyard. Highlighting Mohammed’s own reactions to the highly volatile situation, reflections from family members and other evicted residents, accounts of Israeli protesters and interviews with Israeli settlers, My Neighborhood chronicles the resolve of a neighborhood and the support it receives from the most unexpected of places.
My Neighbourhood premiered in April 2012 at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York and has been met with support and recognition at venues including the Paley Center for Media, the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, the Al Jazeera International Documentary Festival and the European Parliament.
About the Speakers:
Julia Bacha, Creative Director at Just Vision and the Co-Director/Producer of the film My Neighbourhood.
Julia is a media strategist and award-winning filmmaker whose work has been exhibited at Sundance, Tribeca, Berlin, Jerusalem, and Dubai International Film Festivals, and broadcast on the BBC, HBO, Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya television channels. Most recently she directed and produced Budrus (2009), which had a palpable impact on US and Arab media coverage of nonviolent resistance in the Middle East, and directed and produced My Neighbourhood (2012), which had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2012. She has been a guest on numerous television shows such as Charlie Rose, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchel Reports and Al Jazeera’s Frost over the World. For her influential work in shaping media in the US and beyond, Julia is the co-recipient of the 2009 King Hussein Leadership Prize, 2010 Search for Common Ground Award, 2011 Ridenhour Film Prize and the 2012 O Globo “Faz Diferença” Award. Julia is a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations and her TEDTalk “Pay Attention to Nonviolence” has been viewed by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.
Daniel Seidemann is the founder and director of Terrestrial Jerusalem (TJ), an Israeli non-governmental organization, launched in January 2010, that promotes an Israeli-Palestinian permanent status peace agreement by working to ensure that an agreement is possible on the issue of Jerusalem.
Daniel has been a practicing attorney in Jerusalem and a partner in a firm specializing in commercial law since 1987. Since 1991, he has also specialized in legal and public issues in East Jerusalem. In particular, he has worked on issues and cases related to government and municipal policies and practices, representing Israeli and Palestinian residents of Jerusalem before the statutory Planning Boards regarding development issues. Key cases have included the takeover of properties in Silwan, the legality of the Har Homa expropriation and town plan, the Ras el Amud town plan, the closing of Orient House, administrative demolition orders, denial of free education in East Jerusalem, etc. He has argued more than 20 Jerusalem-related cases before the Israeli Supreme Court.
Since 1994, Mr. Seidemann has participated in numerous Track II talks on Jerusalem between Israelis and Palestinians. In 2000-2001, he served in an informal advisory capacity to the final status negotiations, serving as a member of a committee of experts commissioned by Prime Minister Barak's office to generate sustainable arrangements geared to implement the emerging political understandings with the Palestinians.
Mr. Seidemann is frequently consulted by governmental bodies in Israel, Palestine and in the international community on matters pertaining to Israeli-Palestinian relations and developments in Jerusalem. He has been conducting ongoing discussions on Jerusalem issues within the Arab world and with Christian faith communities in North America and Europe. He has participated in numerous Jerusalem-related projects, colloquia and back channel work.
Tom Abowd is a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at Tufts University. He is an urban anthropologist and historian who received his Ph.D in Cultural Anthropology from Columbia University in 2003. His book on spatial politics in contemporary Jerusalem, Colonial Jerusalem: the Spatial Construction of Identity and Difference, was published in 2011 by Syracuse University. In 2006 he received a Post-Doctoral Research Award from the Palestine-American Research Center (PARC), to study housing politics in contemporary Jerusalem. From2008 to 2009 Dr. Abowd was the recipient of a Faculty Fellowship from the Humanities Center of Wayne State University, to continue research on housing politics and housing-rights activism in Jerusalem
For more information about this publication please contact the Middle East Initiative at (617) 495-5963.
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