Arab-American country and pop singer-songwriter Kareem Salama performed at the opening ceremony of the new AMIDEAST center in Hebron, adding to the festive atmosphere. Dozens of students attended the ceremony and the performance and remained afterwards for a discussion with Mr. Salama regarding his life in the United States as an Arab and a Muslim.
The Hebron office will expand AMIDEAST’s capability to meet growing demand for its training and educational services in the West Bank. The new facility brings the number of AMIDEAST offices in Palestine to five: East Jerusalem, El-Bireh/Ramallah, Gaza City, Nablus, and now Hebron. AMIDEAST first began working in Palestine in 1957, with a single office in Jerusalem.
“AMIDEAST is proud and pleased to be able to expand to Hebron in order to benefit the people of the West Bank’s largest and most populous city,” said AMIDEAST Country Director Steven Keller during the formal opening ceremony on May 23. “We’ve wanted to bring our services to Hebron for years, and finally that dream has become a reality.”
Among many other activities, the new training facility will benefit primary school English teachers from the Hebron area selected to participate in a GE Foundation-funded program designed to upgrade and enhance English language proficiency. With classroom space for English language and professional skills training, the facility will be available for the general public as well as classes sponsored by private companies and institutions like UNRWA, which is tapping AMIDEAST’s expertise to provide English language training to UNRWA staff in the Hebron area. Local students participating in the English Access Microscholarship Program, a U.S. Department of State-funded initiative for bright, economically disadvantaged high school students, will also use the facilities. AMIDEAST currently works with nearly 2,000 youth in the West Bank and Gaza through the popular English Access Microscholarship Program.