Al-Quds Bard College community is glad to congratulate our excellent students, Shadin Nassar and Ramez Hayek, on receiving a microgrant on their student-led-initiative project "Written Voices." On February 5th, 2021, the Open Society University Network (OSUN) proudly announced the recipients of its 2020 round of microgrants for student-led initiatives in the areas of community engagement and human rights, and the arts. Twenty-two awardees received grants totaling more than $17,000 for a diverse set of initiatives launching this spring and summer in Palestine, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Belarus, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
For the first time, OSUN's new Center for Human Rights and the Arts at Bard College awarded eight grants of $1,000 each to students leading work, research, or engagement initiatives located at the intersection of human rights and the arts. Recipients include Shadin Nassar and Ramez Hayek for their proposal, Written Voices, a project that develops creative writing in Palestinian schools and institutions through workshops and classes.
The Written voices project comes as a community-response to the urgent need for creative writing in Palestinian schools. Shadin and Ramez notice that many promising student-writers are neglected and not given proper assistance to improve their skills, especially those who want to pursue art in their future careers. With the significant impact following the implementation of this project, more people will accept the idea of having creative writing implemented in schools and educational institutions as part of the Palestinian educational system, which is the ultimate goal that this initiative works to achieve.
A part of the project's objectives is to change misconceptions about creative writing: such initiatives include the publishing of a book on creative writing, conducting a writing contest in Palestine, and organizing the second annual Written Voices Summer Camp.