Oleander Activities in the MENA Region
Dear UME Community,
I just returned from Morocco where I was truly inspired by the work of our Oleander Initiative alumni. Less than four months after they left Hiroshima, Brahim, Layla and Samia are already spreading the message of the Oleander Iniative far and wide in their schools and communities.
My first stop was in Marrakesh where Brahim organized a "Hiroshima Peace Day" for over 60 of his students. In Casablanca, Layla and Samia conducted a teacher training for 54 Moroccan teachers on how to implement Oleander inspired lesson plans in their classrooms.
"Hiroshima Peace Day" in Marrakesh
Brahim, a 2016 Oleander participant, gathered over 60 high school students for a "Hiroshima Peace Day"in Marrakesh, Morocco. This conference featured peace education activities and student directed drama plays around the theme of peace and nuclear weapons.
In an amazing constellation of cultural influences, these thoughtful and creative plays featured the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and also tackled contemporary issues of conflict and violence within the MENA region.
An old man tells his grandchildren about Hiroshima An "angel of peace" halts violence in the MENA region
To view scenes from these student directed dramas, as well as other Oleander based educational activities in Marrakesh, please click HERE
"Peace ELT Practices" Train the Trainer Workshop in Casablanca
Layla from Tunisa and Samia from Morocco had great success in implementing their Oleander lesson plans within their classrooms this fall. In December, Layla and Samia shared their unique lesson plans with 54 Moroccan teachers during a day long teacher training workshop in Casablanca.
Samia presenting her educational activity based on the story of Sadako and the 1,000 paper cranes
This full day workshop provided 54 English teachers with practical, readily implementable lesson plans utilizing the bombing of Hiroshima as a teaching platform for peace education and conflict resolution. With an average of over 250 students per teacher, Layla and Samia's teacher training has the potential to impact over 13,500 students.
To view the full training sesssion, complete with Hiroshima-based lesson plans click HERE
Many thanks to Brahim, Samia and Layla for their fantastic work!
A Summer to Remember in Hiroshima!
After a year of preparation and hard work, the University of the Middle East Project is proud to announce the successful implementation of the Oleander Initiative in Hiroshima, Japan.
Oleander Participants and UME Staff at Hiroshima Peace Park after August 6th Memorial Ceremony
13 educators from 11 countries in the MENA region, the US and Japan spent a week together in Hiroshima with the mission to design educational projects that raise awareness of the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons. The Oleander Initiaive was implemented during August 2-9th, coinciding with the 71st anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
After a night in Tokyo and an Opening Dinner hosted by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, the Oleander Initiative officially began with an orientation session at the Hiroshima offices of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).
Oleander participants met with the head of the UNITAR Hiroshima office, Mihoko Kumamoto and her staff who welcomed them to Hiroshima and gave a presentation entitled the "Rebuilding of Hiroshima."
The main objective of the Oleander Initiative is to promote awareness of the humanitarian consequences of nuclear war to young people in the MENA region.
During the week long Oleander Initiative, participants continually modified and refined Hiroshima themed educational projects for the students in their home communities.
The working space at the Oleander Initiative was donated by the City of Hiroshima and located within the Hiroshima Peace Museum. The "power of place" of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum that powerfully displayed the tragic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, gave the participants additional impetus for their important work.
Letter of Congratulations from Sen. Ed Markey
USA Today Publishes UME Director's Op-Ed
It is a great pleasure to announce that my Op-Ed, "Hiroshima Taught Me to Look to the Future" was published in USA Today.
Mayor of Hiroshima Endorses Oleander Initiative
Oleander Initative Update
Mayors for Peace
(Executive Office) 1-5, Nakashima-Cho, Chuou-Ku, Hiroshima 730-0811
(Foundation) Division of International Peace Promotion, Hiroshima Peace and Cultural Center
Tel: 082-242-7821 Fax: 082-242-7452 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org_hiroshima.jp
To Whom it May Concern: February 2, 2016
Mr. Ray Matsumiya, Executive Director of the University of the Middle East Project is planning to hold the “Middle East Oleander Initiative” in Hiroshima. In order to support this project, I would like to convey the following message.
On August 6th, 1945, a single atomic bomb turned Hiroshima into a ruined city. Tens of thousands of people were burned by the flame, and a total of 140,000 people died before the end of the year. Some escaped immediate death from the bomb but nevertheless died within a few months from their wounds. The lives of numerous other people who narrowly escaped with their lives were also severely affected. In the aftermath of the bombing, these victims suffered physical and psychological damage from the bomb’s radiation, as well as faced discrimination from other people. Nuclear weapons are inhumane and their use should be recognized as an absolute evil.
Mayors for Peace consists of mayors from over 6,900 cities in 161 countries. They share the same motivation of making sure the suffering of the atomic bomb victims never occurs again. These mayors call for the total abolishment of nuclear arsenals and the absolute evil that they represent, as well as the creation of an eternally peaceful world through cooperative activities. Therefore, I, as the president of this movement, pay my deepest respect to Mr. Ray Matsumiya, his associates, and their project that will invite high school teachers from the Middle East to Hiroshima, in order to help them intimately understand the threat of the nuclear weapons. I think that this project is of utmost importance because it can spread awareness throughout the world, and provide momentum for the abolishment of nuclear weapons. I fully support the Oleander Initiative.
It was said that it may take 75 years before any vegetation could grow out of the burnt soil of Hiroshima. However, shortly after the bombing, oleander flowers blossomed and greatly encouraged the surviving citizens of Hiroshima. The “Oleander Initiative” bears the name of this flower.
I sincerely wish that this project will be fruitful. I hope that this project blossoms and the participants bring back what they learned in Hiroshima to their homelands. By spreading what they learned to the young people who will decide the future course of their countries, I believe that we can take steps towards the realization of a more peaceful world without the threat of nuclear weapons.
The goals of this project are exactly the same as the desires of the citizens of Hiroshima. I hope that this idea will be cultivated, take root and blossom throughout the world.
President, Mayors for Peace
Mayor, Hiroshima City
NEW UME program! - The Oleander Initiative
UME is proud to annouce the launch of the Oleander Initiative, a series of programs and workshops designed to promote nuclear non-proliferation in the Middle East and North Africa region. This initiative is made possible by the Bernard and Sandra Otterman Foundation, a private foundation that supports global educational initiatives to foster sustainable peace, justice and coexistance. UME is tremendously excited to be working on the implemention of the first pilot program - a seven day workshop for TEI alumni in Hiroshima, Japan in August, 2016.
A brief description of the Oleander Initiative can be found below. A Japanese translation follows the English description.
Please contact Ray Matsumiya, UME Executive Director at RayMat@ume.org for more information regarding this initiative.
Oleander Initiative Description
Months after the atomic bomb was dropped over Hiroshima, Japan, a small patch of red oleander flowers bloomed out of the irradiated rubble. Since then, red oleander has symbolized both the dangers of nuclear war and the hope of a more peaceful future. In a similar spirit, the Middle East Oleander Initiative will share the lessons of Hiroshima with educators from the Middle East to foster a deeper understanding of the threat that nuclear weapons pose to humanity. In turn, the Oleander Initiative participants will bring these lessons home to their students across the Middle East to foster a greater awareness of the humanitarian consequences of nuclear war.
Program Description: From August 2 - 9, 2016, up to twenty high school teachers from the Middle East will gather in Hiroshima to learn first-hand from atomic bomb survivors about the horrors of nuclear war and from global experts about the basic issues of nuclear weapons - how they work and how to reduce the probability that they will ever be used again. The 2016 program will leverage "the power of place" of the city of Hiroshima - the first city to be devastated by a nuclear weapon - to generate awareness and inspire personal calls to action. In turn, teachers attending the seven day workshop will design educational activities specifically suited to their local contexts to raise consciousness about the perils of nuclear war. The 2016 pilot program in Hiroshima is the first of a series of educational programs, workshops and student activities designed to educate a broad foundation of future decision makers across the Middle East region.
- Academic instruction for curriculum enhancements, classroom lesson plans and after school activities from top UME faculty from schools such as Harvard, MIT, Tufts and Boston College.
- Presentations from local NGOs in Hiroshima involved in nuclear non-proliferation activities.
- Testimonials from hibakusha atomic bomb survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki
- August 6thatomic bombing memorial activities
- Site visits to the Genbaku Dome, Hiroshima Peace Museum and other atomic bomb sites of memory
- Educational collaborations with teachers and students from Hiroshima
- Ongoing evaluation and in-country follow on activities after the conclusion of the works
Participants: The Oleander Initiative will include up to 20 highly vetted secondary school teachers from throughout the Middle East. All teachers are fluent in English and have attended UME's flagship program in Boston sponsored by the US State Department-- an initiative with an acceptance rate of less than 5%.
Contact: For more information, please email UME Executive Director Ray Matsumiya at RayMat@ume.org
広島に原子爆弾が投下されてから数ヶ月後、被爆した廃墟の中から小さな赤い夾竹桃の群落が花をつけた。その時以来、赤色の夾竹桃は核戦争の危険性と同時に、平和な未来への希望の象徴となっている。それと同じ意味合いで「中近東夾竹桃計画（Middle East Oleander Initiative）」は、この広島の教訓を中近東の教育者と共有し、人類に対する核兵器の脅威に対するより深い理解を培う事を目的としている。その結果、夾竹桃計画への参加者はこれらの教訓を自国に持ち帰り、学生たちに核不拡散の理念を植え付けることになるであろう。
○UME (University of Middle East Project) に参加しているハーバード大学，マサチューセッツ工科大学、タフツ大学、ボストンカレッジ等の教授によるカリキュラム向上、教科内容及び課外活動のプラン作成に関する講義。
UME Executive Director presents UME at the Cyrus conference at Harvard University
UME Executive Director Ray Martsumiya presented at the Cyrus conference at Harvard University between April 24-26. He presented the "Making of a Social Entrepreneur" which told the story of how Samira, an UME alumna helped create the Somerville-Tiznit Sister cIty partnership. He explored how a combinatin of factors including Samira's exceptional qualties, UME's national and international networks and the support provided by UME's alumni association that enabled this initiative to impact thousands of people and resulted in Samira winning the prestigeousState Department Alumni of the Month Award.
UME successfully implement the Dalton Morocco Program with Envoys
UME is pleased to announce the successful implementation of the Dalton Morocco Program in partnership with Envoys , a Cambridge. MA and Bogota, Columbia based educational organization that specializes in educational exchanges for high school students to develop cultural competency and a global perspective.
The program ran between March 9 and March 19th and included 10 students and 2 teachers from the Dalton School in New York City. Students engaged in a variety of cross cultural activities with Moroccan students and civic organizations in to Rabat, Fes and Marrakesh. All activities were jointly implemented with the Association for Moroccan Alumni of UME (AMA).
UME's Sister Cities Connections Expand through the Monkeyhouse Performance Arts Group
I am pleased to announce the Somerville - Tiznit Sister Cities connection established by UME continues to expand through others. This time, it is led by Karen Krolack who attended both 2009 and 2011 delegations to Tiznit. Karen is the Artistic Director of Monkeyhouse a performance arts organization in Somerville. She has successfully organized a series of performances and workshops by Fluer d'Orange, a dance troupe from Morocco for the Somerville community A full description of the weeks events can be found below. Thank you for keeping this connection with Morocco strong and vibrant Karen!
INSIDE THE ORANGE WIGConnecting Communities to Choreography
Hind Benali of Fleur D'Orange
You've heard talk over the summer of our residency with Fleur d'Orange. Well, it is finally upon us! Hind, Soufiane, and company will be arriving in Boston in just a couple of weeks and we couldn't be more excited! Since there are SO many Fleur d'Orange Residency events we will be dedicating this newsletter (almost) entirely to all things Moroccan.Below is the basic rundown of events but you can get more information about any of them HERE!We can't wait to see you at a workshop, the artist reception and the performance!Best-- Nicole and All your friends at Monkeyhouse
by karen KrolakHave you ever started on a walk or a journey and been surprised by where you ended up?
Oddly enough, our Fleur D'Orange residency began with a series of walks. As you may remember, I ended my sabbatical in 2008 by attending the choreographers' workshop at Jacob's Pillow. I felt so emboldened by my experiences there and during my year off that I applied for a fellowship through the Somerville Arts Council. My proposal was to explore how walking through Somerville with various people and by myself might inspire new directions for my work. I was delighted and a tiny bit surprised that I was subsequently awarded a fellowship from the SAC in 2009.
At the time, Jason was working for Actors' Shakespeare Project in the Armory building. During Open Studios, we walked up to the Armory and Jason introduced me to the staff at the University of the Middle East who suggested that we apply to be part of a delegation to Tiznit, Morocco as part of a Sister Cities project. The idea of walking around Morocco with representatives from Somerville, including Mayor Joe, was a little intimidating but seemed to be a fabulous way to culminate my year of investigation. My parents and Jason encouraged my to push beyond my insecurities and fill out the application. Once again, I was startled to be accepted into the delegation. Then the concern was how I was going to find funding to cover the transportation costs of getting to Morocco (the rest of the trip was covered through funds from the State Department and the City of Tiznit). Before I could even begin the fundraising process, my parents called to offer to pay the entire amount. because they were so proud that I was extending my creative focus to a project focused on person to person diplomacy.
Keep Reading »
UME partners with Envoys and the AMA to implement cross cultural exchange programs
UME is pleased to announce a partnership with Envoys , a Cambridge. MA and Bogota, Columbia based educational organization that specializes in educational exchanges for high school students to develop cultural competancy and a global perspective.
UME and its alumni at the Association for Moroccan Alumni of UME (AMA) will be working with Envoys in the program design and implementation of two trips planned for March and June, 2014. UME is very excited about this partnership and hopes it is the first of many to come.