International Relations: Partnering with Students in Gaza
In the Fall of 2015, Professor Ron Smith came up with the idea of having his students partner with residents of the Gaza Strip in Palestine as part of his International Relations course, Middle East Conflict & Revolution. He was looking for a way for students to understand the political struggles and the people involved in a more direct way. He had students form groups and create short 5-9 minute documentaries discussing the themes of water, electricity, food, healthcare, and music. He wanted his students to engage with the content by comparing and contrasting these themes within their own environments (the Bucknell community) as well as the Gaza Strip. These students had the rare opportunity to not only study and learn about Gaza through the content of the course, but also to meet participants from Gaza who could explain these themes in more detail through Skype conversations. In 2016, students in Professor Smith’s course partnered with students in Gaza. In Fall 2017, they connected with refugees living in Deheisheh Camp, which is in Bethlehem, Palestine. The camp was set up to house Palestinians driven off their land by the state of Israel. The camp is organized and operated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Students in Prof. Smith’s class interviewed refugees on such topics as food, music, security, and transportation. By combining interviews with internet videos, recorded narration, and music, Bucknell students produced 5-7 minute long documentary shorts addressing the political struggles of the people living in Deheisheh Camp.