Hope is a Woman’s Name
Amal Elsana Alh’jooj
Chair: Bidisha Mamata
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An indigenous Bedouin in a Jewish state and a fifth daughter in a patriarchal society, Amal Elsana Alh’jooj was a shepherd at the age of five. Always driven to pursue justice and equality, from her early teens she ran literary classes for women, marking the beginning of a lifelong career promoting policy change for Israel’s Bedouin. Today Amal is instrumental in shaping public opinion on Israel’s marginalised minorities. Hope is a Woman’s Name tells her journey navigating interweaving systems of power and oppression while embracing every thread of her identity: Bedouin, Arab, woman, feminist, Palestinian and Israeli. In conversation with broadcaster, journalist and film-maker Bidisha.
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From an early age Amal had to fight for a good education. She proceeded to get a BA in social work from Ben Gurion University in Israel and a PhD in social work and community organizing from McGill University.
Amal became an activist very young and went on to found several NGOs, including the Arab-Jewish Centre for Equality, Economic Empowerment and Cooperation. She is the recipient of many international prizes, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize (2006), included in Genius 100 Visionaries of the Future (2017), and awarded the New Israel Fund’s Human Rights Award (2013).Image cr. Patricia Z. Smith Bidisha Mamata
The Jewish Chronicle
Bidisha is a broadcaster, journalist and film-maker. Her latest publication is The Future of Serious Art (Nov 2020) and her latest film series, Aurora, launched in 2020 and is ongoing. Bidisha specialises in international human rights, social justice and the arts and offers political analysis and cultural diplomacy tying these interests together. She writes for the main UK broadsheets and presents and commentates heavily for BBC TV and radio, ITN, CNN, ViacomCBS and Sky News. Her fifth book, Asylum and Exile: Hidden Voices of London (2015), is based on her outreach work in UK prisons, refugee charities and detention centres. Her first short film, An Impossible Poison, received its London premier in March 2018. It has been highly acclaimed and selected for numerous international film festivals. She is currently presenting the Hello Happiness audio series for Wellcome Collection, all about mental and physical health. Image cr Suki Dhanda
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