Consulate General of the United States of America
القنصلية الامريكية العامة- القدس
July 25, 2011
For Immediate Release
For the fifth consecutive year, with funding from the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem and in partnership with United Nations Relief & Works Agency (UNRWA), AMIDEAST has implemented “Camp Discovery” – a multi-faceted summer camp experience benefitting 630 Palestinian youth aged 8–14 from refugee camps and other marginalized communities in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The goal of Camp Discovery 2011 is to encourage participating youth to discover new knowledge, skills, and experiences that expand their world-view.
Students were nominated by UNRWA and selected by AMIDEAST based on academic performance. Those selected were enrolled in a thirteen-day program focusing on English language learning, artistic self-expression, and scientific discovery.
AMIDEAST Country Director Steven Keller illustrated the potential for new opportunities and positive change Camp Discovery provides to students who maximize the opportunity and continue the spirit of “discovery” and life-long learning after completing the camp: “Four years ago, during the very first Camp Discovery in Al-Amari Refugee Camp, I met a bright young girl with an enthusiasm for learning English and a genuine commitment to volunteering and community service. After Camp Discovery, she was totally hooked! She sought any opportunity she could find to improve her English, learn more about the American culture and the world in general, and volunteer her time to help others. This led her to her participation in other programs funded by the U.S. Consulate General and implemented by AMIDEAST. Today that young Camp Discovery graduate from Al-Amari is about to depart on a four-year, fully paid scholarship to a prestigious American college—an opportunity most refugee camp kids would never even dream to be a possibility in their future. This is why I tell the students on the last day of Camp Discovery every summer, ‘don’t let this be the end, but instead the beginning’ of a new world of opportunity.”
The U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem has funded this innovative summer camp program since its inception four years ago. Cultural Affairs Officer Cynthia Harvey adds, “This week, we've had the opportunity to visit the final exhibitions at each of the Camp Discovery sites in East Jerusalem, Ramallah, Hebron, Jenin, and Nablus. We have participated in this wonderful occasion for Camp Discovery teachers, volunteers, administrators, and members of the local community to gather in celebration of the students’ accomplishments. We are proud of our partnership with AMIDEAST and UNRWA, and especially proud of the hundreds of students we have met this week who demonstrated their newly improved English language skills through drama skits, songs, speeches, and presentations of their art projects and science experiments. We hope this is just the beginning of their journey of academic discovery and friendship with the American people.” This marks the first year that Camp Discovery was held in East Jerusalem, thanks to the support and assistance of Dar El-Tifil school and orphanage. Additionally, UNRWA’s support has also been essential to the success of Camp Discovery. UNRWA once again donated school facilities to host Camp Discovery in 2011, including free use of classrooms, computer and science labs, and athletic facilities, in addition to selecting the most high-achieving and at-risk students for enrollment in Camp Discovery.
The Camp Discovery final exhibition days are scheduled from July 14 through July 28, 2011.
For more information please contact the U.S. Consulate’s Press Office at 02-622-6908 or 02-622-6909 or Information Assistant Hassna Dajani at 054-678-8455. For more information on AMIDEAST programs, please contact Najeh Abu Shamsiyeh, 02-240-8023.