Podcast for My Neighbourhood Panel Discussion
On February 20, 2013, The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and the Middle East Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School presented a screening of Just Vision’s documentary short “My Neighborhood,” directed by Julia Bacha and Rebekah Wingert-Jabi. The ensuing panel discussion featured Julia Bacha, who directed and produced the film, Daniel Seidemann, the founder/director of Territorial Jerusalem, and Thomas Abowd of Tufts University’s Anthropology department, and was moderated by Professor Robert H. Mnookin, who is chair of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.
About the Film:
Mohammed Al Kurd is a Palestinian teenager growing up in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in the heart of East Jerusalem. When Mohammed turns 11, his family is forced to give up part of their home to Israeli settlers, who are leading a campaign of court-sanctioned evictions to guarantee Jewish control of the area. Shortly after the evictions start, Mohammed’s family and other residents begin peacefully protesting against the displacement. In a surprising turn, they are quickly joined by scores of Israeli supporters who are horrified to see what is being done in their name.
My Neighborhood follows Mohammed’s story as he comes of age in the midst of unrelenting tension and remarkable cooperation in his backyard. Highlighting Mohammed’s own reactions to the highly volatile situation, reflections from family members and other evicted residents, accounts of Israeli protesters and interviews with Israeli settlers, My Neighborhood chronicles the resolve of a neighborhood and the support it receives from the most unexpected of places.
My Neighbourhood premiered in April 2012 at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York and has been met with support and recognition at venues including the Paley Center for Media, the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, the Al Jazeera International Documentary Festival and the European Parliament. View the film trailer here.
About the Panel:
Julia Bacha is a media strategist and award-winning filmmaker whose work has been exhibited at Sundance, Tribeca, Berlin, Jerusalem, and Dubai International Film Festivals, and broadcast on the BBC, HBO, Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya television channels. Most recently she directed and produced Budrus (2009), which had a palpable impact on US and Arab media coverage of nonviolent resistance in the Middle East, and directed and produced My Neighbourhood (2012), which had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2012. She has been a guest on numerous television shows such as Charlie Rose, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchel Reports and Al Jazeera’s Frost over the World. For her influential work in shaping media in the US and beyond, Julia is the co-recipient of the 2009 King Hussein Leadership Prize, 2010 Search for Common Ground Award, 2011 Ridenhour Film Prize and the 2012 O Globo “Faz Diferença” Award. Julia is a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations and her TEDTalk “Pay Attention to Nonviolence” has been viewed by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.
Daniel Seidemann is the founder and director of Terrestrial Jerusalem (TJ), an Israeli non-governmental organization, launched in January 2010, that promotes an Israeli-Palestinian permanent status peace agreement by working to ensure that an agreement is possible on the issue of Jerusalem.
Daniel has been a practicing attorney in Jerusalem and a partner in a firm specializing in commercial law since 1987. Since 1991, he has also specialized in legal and public issues in East Jerusalem. In particular, he has worked on issues and cases related to government and municipal policies and practices, representing Israeli and Palestinian residents of Jerusalem before the statutory Planning Boards regarding development issues. Key cases have included the takeover of properties in Silwan, the legality of the Har Homa expropriation and town plan, the Ras el Amud town plan, the closing of Orient House, administrative demolition orders, denial of free education in East Jerusalem, etc. He has argued more than 20 Jerusalem-related cases before the Israeli Supreme Court.
Since 1994, Mr. Seidemann has participated in numerous Track II talks on Jerusalem between Israelis and Palestinians. In 2000-2001, he served in an informal advisory capacity to the final status negotiations, serving as a member of a committee of experts commissioned by Prime Minister Barak’s office to generate sustainable arrangements geared to implement the emerging political understandings with the Palestinians.
Mr. Seidemann is frequently consulted by governmental bodies in Israel, Palestine and in the international community on matters pertaining to Israeli-Palestinian relations and developments in Jerusalem. He has been conducting ongoing discussions on Jerusalem issues within the Arab world and with Christian faith communities in North America and Europe. He has participated in numerous Jerusalem-related projects, colloquia and back channel work.]
Thomas Abowd teaches in the Department Anthropology at Tufts University. He has been involved for two decades in scholarly, activist, and community-based projects related to Palestine, Israel, and the Middle East. He is also the author of the upcoming book, Colonial Jerusalem: The Spatial Construction of Identity and Difference in a Divided City. He is at work on a study of racial politics in Detroit that details Arab-American and Black class, racial, and gendered encounters. He has spoken widely on these subjects in both academic and community contexts. He is also the author of several articles on urban conflict in contemporary Jerusalem, including a piece that appeared in the Fall, 2007 issue of Anthropological Quarterly related to the gendered politics of residential space in contemporary Jerusalem.
Abowd’s first book examines urban politics, sacred space, and inter-communal encounters in contemporary Jerusalem among Israelis and Palestinians. His second book project, (for which he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in 2012), will detail housing policy, urban planning, and housing rights activism in contemporary Jerusalem. This research will explore emerging forms of anti-racist struggles and the prospects for meaningful coexistence between these two national communities.
His ethnographic and historical research has focused specifically on: 1) Urban social movements and spatial practices and cultural expression in Middle Eastern cities, particularly contemporary Jerusalem and Beirut, 2) The use of city space and myths in the making of social movements, national cultures and their rival Islamic identities in the Middle East, 3) Gender and Sexuality in the city, particularly masculinities and patriarchy/family, and 4) Popular culture in the Middle East, particularly visual culture and new media.
In 2007, Abowd was one of 6 professors chosen at Wayne State University to receive the “President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.” He is involved in various activist and community-based projects in the Boston area.
Robert H. Mnookin is the Samuel Williston Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, the Chair of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, and the Director of the Harvard Negotiation Research Project. A leading scholar in the field of conflict resolution, Professor Mnookin has applied his interdisciplinary approach to negotiation and conflict resolution to a remarkable range of problems; both public and private.
A renowned teacher and lecturer, Professor Mnookin has taught numerous workshops for corporations, governmental agencies and law firms throughout the world and trained many executives and professionals in negotiation and mediation skills. On behalf of the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva, he designed and has taught annual workshops for intellectual property professionals. Professor Mnookin has served as a consultant to governments, international agencies, major corporations and law firms. As a neutral arbitrator or mediator, he has resolved numerous complex commercial disputes.
Professor Mnookin has written or edited ten books and numerous scholarly articles. These include Beyond Winning: Negotiating to Create Value in Deals and Disputes; and Dividing the Child. In his most recent book, Bargaining with the Devil: When to Negotiate, When to Fight, he explores how to make decisions in the most challenging disputes.
About Just Vision:
Just Vision generates awareness and support for Palestinians and Israelis working to end the occupation and resolve the conflict non-violently. Just Vision’s films include the highly acclaimed documentary Budrus, and Encounter Point. Just Vision is comprised of a team of Palestinian, Israeli, North and South American human rights advocates, filmmakers, conflict resolution experts and journalists, and is based in Washington DC, New York City and East Jerusalem. For more information, visit www.justvision.org
About the Middle East Initiative:
The Middle East Initiative (MEI) was established to deepen and strengthen Harvard Kennedy School’s relationship with the governments and peoples of the Middle East. MEI has a series of programs designed for political, civil service and business leaders from the region with the aim of strengthening good governance and seeking solutions to public policy problems in the Middle East. MEI also actively engages in community outreach to create a space for dynamic interaction around issues relating to the Middle East.