Gaza Students Photographic Exhibition Launched

 On Thursday November 12, 1998, the Gaza Students Campaign (under the auspices of the Human Rights Action Project of Birzeit University) opened a photo exhibition entitled "The Right to Education: Young People under Occupation." The event was held at the gallery and cafe "Al-Matal" in Lower Ramallah and was on display through to Sunday 15 November 1998.

The Gaza Students Campaign works to raise awareness and address the difficulties that Gazan students endure whilst seeking higher education in the West Bank. As part of the 1998 Gaza Students Campaign, a photo competition was launched which invited professional Palestinian photojournalists to portray images from the everyday lives of young people under occupation and their struggle for a basic human right: the right to education. The photographers were thus invited to take part in a competition that would result in an exhibition to tour European and North American universities as part of the campaign.

Nine photojournalists have contributed to the exhibition which has been generously sponsored by the UNDP, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The photographers include: Khalid Zighari (first prize photograph), Adel Hana (second prize photograph), Nayef Hashlamon (third prize photograph), Rula Halwani, Yasser Darwish, Ahmed Jadallah, Awad Awad, Muna Al-Qawasmi and Mahfouz Abu Turk.

The selection of the best photographs followed the criteria of finding a photograph that came closest to: depicting an image of young Palestinians confronting or living with occupation, being powerful, emotional and thought provoking, and taking into consideration the techniques of photography, colour, quality and proportion, the campaign message itself and the target audience. The selection committee included: Professor Samar Shunnar from Al-Najah University, Nablus, Mr. Christian Henderson, Gaza Student Campaign co-ordinator, and a student from Gaza.

On the 19th of November the exhibit will be launched in Oslo, Norway, in conjunction with the International Day of Action for the Gaza Students Campaign. All over the world the day will be marked with a number of activities. According to Laila Bokhari, the Photographic Project Co-ordinator, "The aim of the photo project is to offer to the outside world the powerful images of Palestine, images which deal with the reality of young people under occupation through a competition focused on encouraging Palestinian photojournalists to continue to portray Palestine in their own eyes, and for the audience to see the importantance of this resource. It is hoped that this will help raise more awareness of the issue and the constant problems young Palestinians have faced and still face under occupation as portrayed by the eyes of Palestinians."