Barnabe Network: creating links between schools in France and the Holy Land
HOLY LAND – Barnabe Network (“le Réseau Barnabé” in French) is creating links between schools in France and the Holy Land. It will be 10 years old in 2017. The network organize every year summer camps in Christian schools of the Holy Land, to enable students to practice French. Interview with Alice de Rambuteau, from the Barnabe Network.
Barnabe Network was founded at the end of year2006, following an appeal by the French Consulate General in Jerusalem, in order to promote exchanges between schools in the Holy Land and France. Since its creation, Barnabe Network organized several exchanges and school trips, enabling many French institutions to discover the Holy Land and its day to day life.
What does Barnabe Network’s mission consist of?
Barnabe Network is a platform bringing together establishments of the Catholic Education in France and Christian schools in the Holy Land, and makes them interact around the French language, its teaching and its achievements… Within this network, each one is free to take initiatives and to carry out projects. With sharing information, a follow up is secured and experience grows wider. The goal is to make people discover the life of Christian schools in the Holy Land and to encourage new involvements for teaching of the French language. We work in collaboration with the Cultural Section of the French Consulate General in Jerusalem.
How is this mission materialized?
This mission passes through three stages:
Education – through daily practice of French language during summer camps, during games, sports, theater, etc. It is an opportunity for each to discover a new culture, without being assigned to academic apprenticeship.
Cooperation between teachers, during school exchanges, sometimes with trips. Each partnership had a common thread such as photo tests, conversations on Skype, a common study of texts, the creation of a Franco-Palestinian kitchen guidebook for instance; all that helps overall communication.
Training of teachers, through meetings and exchanges of teaching practice between teachers, educators and heads of French & Palestinian establishments, in France and in the Holy Land.
Do you see any results behind this cooperation between different schools ? are these exchanges lasting ?
Requests for summer camps, partnerships, formations are growing; these are probably the more visible results ! We receive regularly encouraging testimonies, such as the one of Mariana who said recently that without the encouragement of
French people in her school, she would never have reached such an outstanding level in French. There is also Naela’s testimony, Director of a Greek Catholic school in Ramallah, who notes the updating of teaching practices when tutors observe how to go along with their students.
We have also noted that the trustworthy presence of actors of Barnabe Network during the year strengthens relationship. It is a fact that the behavior of professors from the Holy Land, full of kindness and encouragement towards their students, impress on their French colleagues when they visit: human relations, respect of student as absolute, the difficult atmosphere in which they practice their job, their attention to use accurate and balanced terms when talking about the conflict – all that recurs in the positive comments made by professors about their colleagues. This has got a real effect on the development of their teaching methods once they get back to France.
You organize a summer camp every year. What is the objective? What do you need to organize this camp?
Summer camps we organize in Beit Jala, Ramallah, Nablus or elsewhere enable students to discover that the use of French language goes beyond the list of vocabulary and rules of conjugation. Students spend some ten days in playing, singing, gymnastics, and theater performance, all in French. It gives birth to new relationships and it creates opportunities to exchange in our respective languages, as communication grows stronger. On the other hand, it is a unique opportunity for meeting and discovering each other. Their team hopes to grow bigger!
Do you have any plans for celebrating the ten years of Barnabe Network next year?
We are thinking about a study trip for French actors of Barnabe Network to meet their colleagues in the Holy land. It will be in harmony with our wish to imagine new techniques while keeping the links close, and to be creative while being able to adapt.
We keep up our desire to help the young French people who come to the Holy Land to discover the complexity and diversity of the country, and to meet peacemakers, regardless where they come from.