munir fasheh

TEDxRamallah Munir Fasheh منير فاشه Occupation of knowledge الاحتلال المعرفي

Uploaded on May 24, 2011

The worst conquest is that of knowledge. It led to conquering diversity and pluralism in living by a modern superstition: the belief in a single universal path for knowing, learning, and progressing. Transforming ahaali (no synonym in English; the closest is ‘people-in-community’) into citizens has been instrumental in the conquest and disastrous to human communities. Whereas the basic relationship in the case of citizens is to a state and institutions, it is in the case of ahaali to one another, to a place, culture, and collective memory. Knowledge, learning, and religion of ahaali have been gradually replaced by institutional ones. Examples from Palestine and what happened in Cairo…


Munir Fasheh was born in Jerusalem, Palestine in 1941; in 1948, he with his family were expelled from their home and moved to Ramallah. He studied and taught math for many years; got his doctorate from Harvard in education and worked in Birzeit University. During the first Palestinian intifada (late 1980s), he left academia and established Tamer Institute for Community Education, which revolved around protecting and providing “learning environments”, building on what is beautiful, inspiring, healthy, and abundant in people, communities, and cultures, and making sense of one’s experience. In 1997, he established the Arab Education Forum within Harvard University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies. Currently, one of the ideas he is working on is to establish a college “Home of Wisdom” in one or more Palestinian universities.

ولد منير فاشه في القدس عام 1941 وهُجّر منها مع عائلته عام 1948 وسكن وعمل في رام الله معظم حياته. درس ودرّس الرياضيات سنوات عديدة وحصل على الدكتوراه في التربية من جامعة هارفارد، وعمل في جامعة بيرزيت بفلسطين معظم حياته. ترك الأكاديميا خلال الانتفاضة الأولى وأنشأ “مؤسسة تامر” والتي تمحور عملها حول حماية وتوفير أجواء تعلمية، وتكوين معنى للخبرات الذاتية، والبناء على ما هو جميل ومتوفر وملهم ومعافى في الناس والمجتمع والحضارة. في العام 1997 أنشأ “الملتقى التربوي العربي” وفق نفس المبادئ في مركز دراسات الشرق الأوسط بجامعة هارفارد، وأداره مدة عشر سنوات (1997-2007) عاد بعدها إلى فلسطين حيث يعمل منذ ذلك الوقت. خلال عمله في هارفارد زار 29 دولة وعمل مع مجموعات متنوعة فيها تعمل وفق قناعات نابعة من الموقع والثقافة المحلية. إحدى الأفكار التي يعمل عليها الآن هي محاولة إنشاء كلية “بيت الحكمة” في جامعة فلسطينية أو أكثر.

[Talk translated to English by Sara Refai]
[Text Translated to Arabic by Zeina Tahan]

my mother knew math in ways i never would… in ways harvard would never accept

we ignore all the knowledge that springs from life

her knowledge is useful.. mine isn’t

answering questions no one is asking – oh my math

knowledge of ahaali (people in community) vs knowledge of institutions

we are disregarding knowledge of people in community

knowing one another comes through neighboring the other

replacing ahaali (people in community) with citizens – has been a disaster.

citizen’s relation is to state and institution – ahaali’s basic relations are to one another

to know each other and each other’s stories

ramallah has lost its ahaali – i believe – because of education

one superstition is that there’s this thing called progress – a single/universal path to progress

overcoming the occupation of knowledge

ahaali is the biggest wealth we have

let us get out of this bottle..

revolution – overthrowing govt.. t square – peopel of cairo were trying to move forward –  is a movement


from swaraj:



30  min – the thing that was so fascinating about her world – it was not fragmented

my life was torn apart – and that was termed – educated

36 min – how can you break knowledge.. so strictly.. and still call it knowledge of life..

the harmony in living and knowing of my mother’s world was totally absent in my world..

why would i stick to something that keeps fragmenting me – when i have something in my home – my mother – that has something – a universe – where everything fits together.. even though i called my education universal

40 min – today – we live total illusions.. almost every aspect is a deception – despite all the education we have

51 min – search vs research. we get lost in the money – and separated from life. talked about naming mit.. with adjectives.. to show prestige

56 min – the medium is the message.. ie: the most effective measure to spread secularism.. is the school.. so you are fighting secularism.. when it’s the thing you are perpetuating – school – that is causing it. amazing how we don’t see academia as the tool to spread secularism

1:01 – traveled 29 countries in 10 yrs.. 1997-2007 – place i see most hope – iran.. because of their love to poetry

1:09 – we can’t go on acting the way we are acting in academia – we have to reclaim it – practically..  ie: p 2 he’s going down to sit with the people he’s talking to


via Carol share dec 2015

Labeling a child as a “failure” is a criminal act against that child.