Common Ground is delighted to introduce our keynote speaker, Professor Karma Nabulsi.
Professor Nabulsi is Fellow in Politics at St Edmund Hall, and the current Director of Undergraduate Studies at the Department of Politics and International Relations (DPIR). She is a Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) Equalities Officer, a member of the University’s BME Staff Network, and Chair of Trustees and co-founder of the HOPING Foundation, which raises awareness for Palestinian refugees. In 2016 she received OUSU’s Special Recognition Award, and recently received the 2017 Guardian’s Higher Education Network’s ‘Inspiring Leader Award’. She writes on 18th and 19th century political thought, the politics of Palestine, and Palestinian refugees.
Professor Nabulsi’s work for the Palestinian cause is passionate and sustained. Since 2002 she has coordinated a collective mobilisation of Palestinian refugees and exiles in over 24 counties, advancing their civic, social, and political rights, and editing: Palestinians Register: Laying Foundations and Setting Directions. Between 2011-2014, she developed a civic voter registration drive for Palestinian refugees around the world, so they could reclaim the Palestine National Council (PNC), the parliament-in-exile of the Palestinian people. ‘The Palestinian Revolution’, a bilingual Arabic-English digital teaching resource exploring Palestinian revolutionary thought and practice in the 1950s-70s, which she directed and co-curated and united scholars, universities, institutes, and museums in the global South specialising in revolutionary history of the anti-colonial era, has just been completed.
Professor Nabulsi’s keynote address, ‘A Real Education: Learning from Anti-Colonial Struggles,’ was delivered at 5pm Saturday 10th June, in the Danson Room at Trinity College.
“How would campaigners, both students and faculty, agree on what decolonisation actually means, or achieve unity in their aims and strategies, while protecting precious differences? How do universities engage with change, and campaigners safeguard against a process that asserts or adopts more comfortable imperial pasts, while others remain concealed? Which principles apply to the selection of subjects and fields, or events, or geographic locations to be addressed, that would avoid competing among sufferings, an emphasis only on colonial practices and recounting imperial evils, or producing ceaseless “stories” from the South that are deracinated from their temporal and spatial histories of struggle, and their collective nature?
The answers to these questions are to be found in the global South’s vast repository of anti-colonial struggles: in the words, and especially the practices, of those who directly fought for liberation and equality, and against imperialism and colonialism. They did this by relying on common principles, building a true solidarity with all those facing this common predicament, and had a language and a form of struggle that was remarkably creative in dealing with Empire. In other words, in order to move forward, we simply need to open the road behind us.”