After finishing my master’s degree in Physical Geography and Geoinformatics I was leaving Slovakia aiming to be active in implementing my academic knowledge and to learn more about problems with water management, pollution and treatment in the Middle East.
I began working with FoEME in October 2012, jumping on “the running train“of the Protecting Ground Water Project (PGW). This project has a trans-border character. The project team consists of communities in Israel, Palestine, Jordan and the Spanish province Malaga and aims to enhance promotion of sustainable groundwater resources solutions in the Mediterranean basin. Municipalities work together to advance their skills in alleviating pollution of the most valuable natural source in the Middle East – water.
Malek Abulfailat, the Palestinian Project Coordinator, introduced me to various background issues related to the project. My first step was to assist with the preparations of the Study Tour in cooperation with project partners from Spain.
During my time in FoEME I was witness of efforts to save amazing heritage in the Palestinian village of Battir based on unique common history and picturesque landscapes of its terrace fields proposed to be included UNESCO’s World Heritage List. I enjoyed hospitality of people in the Jordan valley at the Auja Ecocenter while supporting eco-tourism activities. I helped organize GIS Day 2012, a global event where Palestine took part for the first time ever. Community workers had the opportunity to join this global movement and learn more about possibilities of GIS (Geographical Information Systems) application within the project but also in everyday life.
What has this internship brought me? Interning with FoEME offers you a great opportunity to be directly involved in many events and activities, to learn about environmental issues, struggles and possible conflict resolutions, not the least to discover the traditions and cultures in the region. To work with FoEME was an inspiring professional and cultural experience where I made great friendships. Also I understood that eco-peace and environmental achievement can be reached only in open dialogue without any prejudices between peoples and borders on the map or in the mind. These are values for the sustainable water future in this region. Thanks to all!
This blog was contributed by FoEME intern Marek Krajčuška, who worked with FoEME on the Protecting Ground Water Project in the Bethlehem office.