Jehad Halawani iEARN Palestine Alumna Testimonial

IEARN (International Education and Resources Network) has been a piece of my life since I started as a 10th grader in Palestine. Now and educator myself I still look back at the amazing benefits I have earned, just by being part of this great network.

Almost ten years now after being an active member, I think back and remember the first time I logged in to iEARN interactive forms. In 2004, many of my classmates had no computers at home never mention internet. We had the opportunity to use computers and surf the web at school. My English teacher (who is now Palestine’s country coordinator at iEARN) had a greater vision in her mind; she wanted us to connect with the world that we know little about.

Starting by just creating an iEARN account, we never knew the doors we are opening and the learning that lays ahead. We learned English, of course with lots of dictionaries in hand, spoke our minds up openly, and tried to understand others without judging, that was the hardest part. I liked every post I have read and every post I have written.

I remember the “Cloning: A two edge sward” project; it was the first one I took part of. I remember the “Recycling” project. The whole idea of re-using and re-creating was new to me. I remember projects about global warming and the first time I searched the Ozone.

Then in 2007, I had a great opportunity to travel to the 14th annual conference of iEARN. The experience was amazing, like any teenager at that age, I was mind blown by the amount off creativity and critical thinking out there in the world. I still remember some of the speakers and until this day have connections with people I met there.

I remember the interview that iEARN USA made with me. Sometimes I go to the YouTube channel of iEARN USA and watch it again just to remind myself of what I really wanted since I was 18. I remember the effort I put to express myself in English, and I am still proud of my eighteen self of making it clear that I want to be part of the global community. I have never wanted to be only Palestinian; I wanted to be a citizen of earth.

In the last 10 years after that interview. I finished my undergraduate degree, started a family, moved to the US and started a new job. When I arrived to the US, I never felt that I am in a country foreign to me; I have always been prepared to fit in where ever I go. I have seen all of these people and these cultures before. I have felt this feeling before, on that day when I logged in and got involved in a discussion at the iEARN interactive forums.

I am an educator now, and when I look at my high school physics class, I see young minds that think globally. They are diverse among themselves. They are learning through each other’s experience and culture. In addition, they know that they are part of Earth, just as I feel.

Applying for my master’s degree in secondary and bilingual science education, I still carry the iEARN experience in my heart. It was the first step for me to start my journey to become an international educator and connect the world through science, education and stories, and for that, I am always grateful. Thank you iEARN.

Jehad Halawani

Jerusalem/ Palestine - Virginia/USA

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