May 2007

Al-Awda to Convene in Garden Grove, May 25-27

The Fifth International Al-Awda Convention, “Uniting for the Return,” will take place in Garden Grove, California, on May 25-27, 2007. This convention, the annual international gathering of Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, will bring together Palestinian activists and their supporters from across North America and internationally, to build Al-Awda’s organizing work and to strategize about building and supporting the right to return movement. The convention, originally slated to take place at the University of California at Riverside, was forced off-campus by Zionist attacks on the conference and University administration pressure on the student host group, Students for Justice in Palestine, including demands for tens of thousands of dollars in “security fees,” demanding Zionists be allowed to not only attend the conference, but videotape and record, and other tactics designed to prevent the conference from happening altogether.

The new venue for the convention, the Embassy Suites Hotel - Anaheim South, 11767 Harbor Boulevard, Garden Grove, CA, will host a series of workshops and lectures from Friday through Sunday, as well as a major cultural event on Saturday, May 26. In addition, throughout the Convention, film showings will take place, featuring recent films focusing on the Palestinian cause. Speakers at the convention include Dr. Naseer Aruri, professor emeritus at the University of Massachussetts and author of numerous books and papers, and Dr. Jamal Zahalka, who will discuss the case of Azmi Bishara. Workshops at the convention include Refugee Support, Institutional Organizing for the Return, Boycott and Divestment for the Return, as well as workshops focusing on media work, student organizing, and writing for the return.

Friday evening’s opening program will feature survivors of the Nakba, sharing their stories with convention attendees. The convention, which will mark the 59th anniversary of Al-Nakba, will be opened with these stories of survival, resilience and steadfastness in the face of the Zionist assault, and continue for 2 days of organizing and activism for the right to return to Palestine and for the liberation of Palestine. The Saturday evening cultural event, expected to attract many from the surrounding Arab and Palestinian community, will feature keynote addresses from Aruri and Zahalka, as well as music, dinner and much more.

This is Al-Awda’s Fifth Convention; previous conventions took place in Toronto, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Much more information about the convention, including detailed schedule, program, and speaker information, is available at, along with hotel and airline information, and details about registration for the convention.

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