Palestinian Youth Movement accepting applications for scholarship
The Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM) is accepting applications for the Ghassan Kanafani Writing Scholarship.
The Ghassan Kanafani Writing scholarship is open to U.S. residents between the ages of 18 and 25 who have at least one parent from historic Palestine. According to Nadia Barhoum, an executive board member of PYM, the scholarship was established in order to address the lack of funding opportunities accessible to Palestinian-American youth.
According to the organization’s website, PYM “is a transnational, independent, grassroots movement of young Palestinians in Palestine and in exile worldwide as a result of the ongoing Zionist colonization and occupation of our homeland.”
“There aren’t really any scholarships available for Palestinian and Arab youth in the U.S., so we wanted to initiate a scholarship that targeted our youth because there’s a lot of opportunities that a lot of people don’t have access to because there’s a lack of funding and assistance for those kinds of opportunities,” Barhoum said.
The decision to create the scholarship was also motivated by PYM’s desire to “revive the legacy” of Palestinian writer Ghassan Kanafani, Barhoum explained. As a Palestinian living in exile, Kanafani’s writing focused heavily on the Palestinian experience. His writings included 18 books and hundreds of articles. In 1972, Kanafani was assassinated in Beirut.
“He’s one of the greatest writers from the Palestinian community, and from the Arab world, and his stories are very much relevant to our current positions; and I think it’s important for us to remember who those people are, who have struggled and died for our cause, and to honor them and then remember them, and try to do something to lift up their memory and know that we’re standing on other people’s shoulders; that we’re not the first ones and we have to respect that history and those people who have made that history for us,” Barhoum said.
To apply for the scholarship, applicants must complete an online submission form and submit an original writing piece. The piece can be a maximum of 3,000 words and can incorporate multimedia. Maisa Morrar, PYM general coordinator, explained that submission pieces should center on the theme of identity.
“What we’re hoping for is for Palestinian Americans to be able to express their identity, either as Palestinians living here from Palestine, or as Americans that grew up being Palestinian. So what we’re looking for is how their story and how their identity has impacted their life and who they are, and how that’s important to them,” Morrar said.
The top applicant will win $500 to use towards an educational pursuit. The second and third place winners will both receive $250. Morrar said that the scholarship funds can be used for anything that would further the winners’ education.
The top 20 writing pieces will also be included in PYM’s first anthology of Palestinian narratives. The anthology will be posted online and distributed internationally. Both Morrar and Barhoum said that they hope the anthology will help to amplify the voices of Palestinian youth in the diaspora.
“A lot of outsiders seem to write their narratives about Palestinians in the diaspora, and so we felt it was time for us to actually produce our own work so that, where it was coming from is work actually produced by Palestinians and not some other third party,” said Morrar.