Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North America

May 3-5, 2013
Buchanan A Building, University of British Columbia
Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Territories, Canada

LIBERATION and RETURN: The Conference of Palestinian Shatat in North America
May 3-5, 2013
Buchanan A Building
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Territories, Canada

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As we approach our 65th year of exile from our homeland, the need for Palestinians in the shatat (diaspora) to reinvigorate, develop and carry out an effective strategy for our national movement for liberation and return is as urgent as ever. For too long our voices have been excluded and the majority of us have been unrepresented in the decision-making and direction of our movement.

We call on all Palestinian activists, organizers and community members in the shatat to join us in this historical gathering to re-examine our history and build together towards a free future for our people and land by putting an end to Zionist colonization and normalization everywhere throughout the Palestinian and Arab homeland.

Join us to plan, discuss and learn from each other about our homeland and how we can become active participants in reviving our movement. The conference will include facilitated workshops, plenary discussions, conversations, and presentations – it welcomes your participation, your voice, and your active involvement in reclaiming the voice of the shatat.

At a time when Zionist colonization continues its incessant destruction and exploitation of Palestine and our people, our body-politic remains fragmented, with empty, unrepresentative and often corrupt national institutions and leadership, and a clouded vision of how to move forward towards our national aspirations for return and liberation.

This conference aims to work towards: restoring our people’s morale and commitment to our national struggle for return and liberation, reviving our transnational unity and building our national liberation movement despite our geographical dispersion, and overcoming the current impasse of national fragmentation (socio-economic, political, geographic and ideological).

Participation is a right, but also a duty. Conference participants will not only gain knowledge, but are expected to invest time, energy and willingness to collectively and democratically work with fellow Palestinians to re-build and revive our national liberation movement.

Learn more about the conference
Register online for the conference

Conference Program
The Program will include Kevin Neish’s photography of Gaza, Palestine.

Seven keynote panelists for Return and Liberation: Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North America have been announced by the organizers.

Guidelines for Participation:

Read and support Conference Principles of Unity
Understanding of conference objectives
Commitment to developing and implementing a long-term strategy of our role as Palestinians/Arab in North America for return and liberation
Accountability, transparency and respect for the democratic decision-making process
Actively participate during conference and follow-up
Give direction, purpose, and relevance to our national movement
This conference prioritizes Palestinian and Arab participation

We look forward to seeing you at the conference and working together! Contact the organizing committee at

Statement on The Palestinian Conference

Statement on Syria

No to US-led intervention in Syria
April 21, 2013 – Canada Palestine Association-Vancouver is alarmed by the escalating violence in Syria

No to US-led intervention in Syria
April 21, 2013 – Canada Palestine Association-Vancouver is alarmed by the escalating violence in Syria and the huge toll on the Syrian civilian population and we feel compelled to speak out. The increasing threat of foreign military intervention will only exacerbate this suffering and could well begin a wider war. We believe that the Syrian people are the only party to decide who should lead them, and outside intervention should be condemned.
The objective of Western governments has always been to control Arab natural resources, especially the oil, and to impose Arab dictatorships that serve their interests. The West has never cared for the well being or dignity of the Arab people; we need only to look at their history for the past sixty-five years, including their role in the dismemberment of Palestine and its people. Recently, there are clear signs that the US government and its allies, including Canada and various Arab puppet regimes, are increasing their intervention in Syria – from the rapprochement between Turkey and Israel under the auspices of US president Obama, the sharp increase of military aid from Arab governments and Turkey (with the help of the C.I.A.) to the Syrian opposition (including more than 160 military cargo flights by Jordanian, Saudi and Qatari military-style cargo planes, as reported by the NY Times Mar.25/13), to the unwarranted Arab League recognition of the Syrian opposition and the statement by Adm. James Stavridis, NATO’s top military commander, “We are looking at a wide range of operations and we are prepared if called upon to be engaged as we were in Libya.”
We call for a peaceful solution through dialogue and negotiations and the implementation of long-overdue reforms in Syria. There are many sincere elements that care about the future of Syria and are pushing for urgently-needed change, but any alliance with Israeli and U.S. hegemonic designs is and will be disastrous for the Syrian and Arab peoples. The UNITY of Syria is at stake, the future of the region is at stake. History will judge all those who collaborated with Israel and the U.S. empire (and this includes the Palestinian Authority).
Accordingly, Canada Palestine Association-Vancouver strongly denounces any Western and US-led intervention in Syria, and we call on our supporters to oppose any such intervention, especially from the Canadian Government. We will not allow John Baird and Stephen Harper to practice their hypocritical policies – supporting Israeli annexation over all of Jerusalem while pretending to care about the suffering of any of the Arab peoples.

Music of Resistance: Palestinian Singer Reem Kelani

Reem Kelani in Vancouver
Friday, April 19, 7:00pm, Rhizome Cafe, 317 East Broadway

Reem Kelani in Vancouver
Friday, April 19, 7:00pm, Rhizome Cafe, 317 East Broadway

Marking Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, commemorate Palestinian cultural resistance with art and music, featuring the songs of Palestinian singer and musician Reem Kelani.

Presented by the Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign, organizing in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for liberation and self-determination, and to support the Palestinian call for international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) of Israel. Endorsed by the Canada Palestine Association, Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North America, Independent Jewish Voices – Vancouver

$10 suggested donation, but no one turned away for lack of funds

New Play “Facts” and Panel Discussion

7PM April 27, 2013
at PL Progress Lab (1422 William Street, Vancouver)

(Check for detailed events in Vancouver for Arthur Milner)
Co‐produced by Horseshoes & Hand Grenades Theatre and Neworld Theatre
7PM April 27, 2013 at PL Progress Lab (1422 William Street, Vancouver)
TICKETS: $10 (Note: Advanced Sales Only)
IN BRIEF: A public engagement event involving artistic and political discussions on the ongoing issues and questions pertaining to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The central focus of this event will be a reading of Facts, a new political drama by Montreal Jewish playwright Arthur Milner. The play will be read by Marcus Youssef, Sean Devine and Parick Sabongui, directed by Marisa Smith. The event will also feature a performance from musician Geoff Berner and panelists from Seriously Free Speech, Independent Jewish Voices, the Canada Palestine Association, and the playwright Arthur Milner.

Performance by Musician/Activist, Geoff Berner –
Clips local and international award‐winning documentary films, Info Booths hosted by Seriously Free Speech Vancouver, Independent Jewish Voices and Canada Palestine Association | Cash bar & catering by Tamam Fine Palestinian Cuisine

Sheila Delany from Seriously Free Speech,
Rabbi David Mivasair from Independent Jewish Voices,
Hanna Kawas from Canada Palestine Association, and playwright
Arthur Milner.
PTC presents a Playwrights Guild Reading from Arthur Milner, April 28, also at PL 1422.
For info on this event contact Heidi Taylor at

Simon Shaheen in “The Call: Songs of Liberation”

Sat., April 27, 2013 at 8:00 pm
Chan Shun Concert Hall, Chan Centre for the Preforming Arts

Sat., April 27, 2013 at 8:00 pm
Chan Shun Concert Hall, Chan Centre for the Preforming Arts

Palestinian composer and musician Simon Shaheen has done more for bringing Arab music to the West than anyone else in recent memory. Known for his melodic ingenuity and his dazzling technique on both the violin and the oud, the central instrument in Arab music, Shaheen’s style is based in traditional Arabic sounds and includes elements of jazz, world and classical.

The Call: Songs of Liberation, features a new composition by Shaheen as well as ‘50s and ‘60s anthems by some of the most popular composers of the Arab world. These songs have found new resonance in the recent freedom movements in the Middle East and North Africa. Featuring singers, Naji Youssef and Mayssa Karaa, and guest dancer Cassandra Shore.

This concert is presented in partnership with the Museum of Anthropology’s Safar/Voyage: Contemporary Works by Arab, Iranian, and Turkish Artists, guest curated by Fereshteh Daftari. Safar/Voyage is Canada’s first major group exhibition of artists from the Middle Eastern region. It will run from April 20 to September 15, 2013.


3:00 p.m. Saturday, April 13, 2013.
TRINITY UNITED CHURCH,2211 Prairie Ave. (at Shaughnessy) Port Coquitlam, BC


Among the films to be shown at the Festival is:
“ROADMAP TO APARTHEID” – A comparison is made between Apartheid South Africa and the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. It is a
dire picture of the present, but offers hope in the peace that South Africa eventually found.
Speaker: Hanna Kawas, a Palestinian Christian.
When: 3:00 p.m. Saturday, April 13, 2013.
2211 Prairie Ave. (at Shaughnessy)
Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada


Other films and schedule:
“The Voices of Transition” — food, chemicals Fri., Apr. 12, 7:15 p.m.
“Bully” — action plan for teachers, parents and community Sat., Apr. 13, 10:00 a.m.
“Consciousness” — the future for Riverview Sat., Apr. 13, 11:30 a.m.
LUNCH — $6.00 Sat., Apr. 13, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.
“Haiti — Where did the Money Go?” Sat., Apr. 13, 1:30 p.m.

More Info: Lavina Shaw: