The reality of Palestine becomes a little closer at the University of Malaga thanks to the presence of four students who, until the month of July, carry out a study stay thanks to the Erasmus + k107 project directed by the professor of the Faculty of Education, Javier Barquin .
Faris Adel Yousef Namjeddin, Jiana Majed Isead, Nevin Mahdi Mohammad and Rand Abdalqader have changed their classrooms at Birzeit University and Al Quds Open University for those at UMA, where they will be able to live and train “in freedom”. This is how Faris expressed it before his new Malaga colleagues when he presented the reality that plagues Palestine at a conference. Under an Israeli occupation that has already lasted 70 years, Palestinian students have lived their particular odyssey to get to Malaga, losing a plane and finding it difficult to access their visas. “In order to process the visa, the four of them had to apply to Jerusalem, a city they cannot access”, explains Javier Barquín, also emphasizing the reality that Palestinian children and students face every day to go to classes:
“One of the students has to do 15 kilometers every day in which they stop her three times at different checkpoints, this means that for them making a 30-minute journey to Mijas without stopping and being checked is something inconceivable”
We spoke with Javier Barquín, a professor who has made it possible for four students from Palestine to stay at the UMA. Javier Barquín, professor at the UMA. As Javier Barquín points out, the fact that the University of Malaga enters into agreements with Palestinian universities is “an oxygen balloon for these institutions, which see how they are increasingly limited in access to teachers from other countries and are more cloistered”. The University of Birzeit for example is positioned among the top 10 in the QS World University Rankings 2018, something that however has not been enough to have a specific agreement beyond the reception of the four students and two professors, who will come during a week in the next few months.
“This project allows students to live in freedom for five months”, without the pressure of being limited by an apartheid regime, which limits every aspect of their lives, says Barquín. Along these lines, the UMA professor explains how with programs like this one, where Palestinian institutions are shaken hands, the UMA presents “humanitarian work”, in line with the social and cooperation function presented by the CRUE.
Meeting points to learn about the Palestinian reality during these five months, Palestinian students will combine their classes with lectures where they will present their experiences at the University of Malaga, in which they will be able to watch videos that reflect the reality of their day-to-day life in Palestine and learn first-hand what life is like there.
It is worth nothing how, according to Barquín, “training in Palestine is highly valued, as it is the only way to have a future in the country”, a fact that joins a greater female presence on campus. Even so, access to the faculties themselves is more complicated, being an anecdote such as “although from Birzeit University you can see the sea, Palestinian students cannot reach it, as their access is prohibited”, says Barquín.