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Dundee–Nablus

Twinning Association

رابطة توأمة نابلس دندي

DNTA - Convener's Report 2014

Presented at the DNTA AGM on 9th June 2014

This year has been one of change and enthusiasm. We started our new year without many of our long-serving committee members and office holders to whom we are very grateful for handing over an active and successful organisation. I am pleased to report that the new committee, with new office holders, has also been full of enthusiasm and good ideas.

Assessing the state of the Association led us to review our communication with members and to create an Action Plan to guide us over the year. A survey of members showed that most were very pleased with the newsletter and our events; they gave us several helpful suggestions for action and activities. Florence has been updating our membership records.

The film "Nablus - our Twin City" has been a focus of the past year and has been very well received. We launched the school's edition at Craigie High School on 24th Sept with the help of the Lord Provost which was reported in the Courier and the Evening Telegraph.

The premiere of the full version on 19th Nov played to a packed house at the Hannah Maclure Centre. Copies have been distributed widely to libraries and local organisations. All versions of the film are available online from our website and a promotional leaflet encourages people to watch them.

We are offering to show the film to local groups and organisations along with a short presentation about the work of the Association and life in Nablus. Please contact secretary@dundee-nablus.org.uk if you know of a group that would like to host it.

DNTA exists to support the formal twinning between Dundee City and Nablus Municipality. We have worked with other Twinning Associations to improve co-operation between ourselves and with the Lord Provost. We want Councillors to be involved in the twinning so we are seeking to meet with them. The SNP administration group kindly let us address them; we explained how Dundee should be proud of its twinning with Nablus and that it is of benefit both for Dundee and the people of Dundee.

Every year the Lord Provost invites a group from Nablus to attend the Dundee Youth Festival. Last year the Nablus delegation did not get their visas in time so we were all very disappointed but we are looking forward to the planned arrival of seven delegates this year.

We are committed to engaging with the people of Dundee to explain about Nablus and the twinning. Our film is an excellent means of achieving this but is just part of the process. Nick Marra has been showing the film and giving a short talk to pupils in several Dundee schools.

More formally, we are working on facilitating a twinning relationship between two schools in Dundee and two in Nablus whereby each can learn about the lives of the others. Friendship and understanding are key to our purposes and this is an excellent way to proceed.

Two new projects are well developed. Introducing Palestinian embroidery to people in Dundee will start with needlework skills for those who need them but include design, history and development of Palestinian costumes and art. This will happen in November this year. A festival of Palestinian literature in English entitled "Olive trees in Dundee: a celebration of Palestinian writing" will be held next year. Three of six events are already planned and details will be released soon.

Nick and Mike went on a privately funded expedition to Dunkirk where many European municipalities with links to Palestine demonstrated substantial commitment to collaboration and development. The Mayor of Nablus, Ghassan Shaka'a, was there and we presented him with a copy of our film on DVD. He gave us a copy of the book "Nablus - City of Civilisations".

Life in Nablus has changed little over the last year and we maintain contact with our many friends there including those in the Nablus-Dundee Twinning Association.

I have avoided naming specific committee members because all have contributed over the past year and I am grateful to them all for their efforts and support.

Last year we lost Tom McLaughlin, our longest serving committee member, and this year we lost Alec Macleish. He was a strong supporter of DNTA and particularly enjoyed welcoming our visitors from Nablus. His experiences of Palestine date from his service in the police during the British mandate period. Many people do not realise just how significant a role was played by Britain in the destiny of all the people of that region but Alec was able to explain from personal experience. We will miss him both as a source of knowledge and as a wonderful man.

Mike Whitehead
June 2014

DNTA Committee 2013-14


Pat Boyd (Stood down early on)
Linda Cockram
Ruth Forbes Vice-Convener
Florence Germain Membership secretary
Jo Helfer (Stood down during the year)
Christine Issa Minute secretary
Mohamed Issa Vice-Convener
Nick Marra Schools liaison and press officer
Kathleen Mochan Treasurer
Ernie Ross
Alister Rutherford Secretary & newsletter editor
Vanessa Stark
Mike Whitehead Convener & web editor

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Speakers

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Friendship and Understanding

We promote friendship and understanding between the people of Nablus and the people of Dundee.

Young people from Dundee and Nablus
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FONSA

Friends of Nablus and Surrounding Areas

A Scottish charity which supports Palestinians in and around Nablus.

FONSA