1997-1998

The objective of the first cohort of four ICAN Fellows was threefold. First, advanced training regarding social work education in Quebec was geared toward the two Jordanian Fellows, with the goal of aiding them in establishing the first graduate program in social work in the region. Second, advanced training and studies in community organization—as developed in Quebec—was targeted towards the two Israeli Fellows. Lastly, this Fellowship provided ICAN with its first opportunity to test the idea of joining Jordanians and Israelis in the same program as a vehicle to advance solidarity and peace. In Jordan, the graduate program in social work was in fact put in place, and the Jordanian Fellows have continued its development. The Israeli Fellows helped win a major public housing victory, and also developed successful empowerment programs and organizations for Bedouin women. Where are they now?

Amal El-Sana, the first Bedouin woman permitted by her tribe to study abroad unescorted, took the model of rights based practice and applied it specifically to Bedouin women in the Negev. She designed unique approaches to outreach—including mounting the services of Community Advocacy on the back of a truck and conducting outreach to unrecognized villages. In the process, she assisted women to get elected to tribal councils, secured water rights for villages, and developed economic cooperatives for women. Amal is one of the key shapers of public opinion regarding the status of the Arab minority and the status of women in Israel. In 2010, she was chosen by The Marker (Israeli business publication) as 1 of the 101 most influential people in Israel; and was one of the women leaders recognized in 2005 by the World Association for Small and Medium Enterprises for her contributions to economic empowerment programs for Bedouin Arab women. She has also been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. She is the founding director of AJEEC - Arab Jewish Center for Equality, Empowerment and Cooperation and co-director of NISPED - Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Development. Amal is currently pursuing her PhD back at McGill while serving as cocoordinator of the 2014-2016 Fellowship.
Following the completion of the ICAN Fellowship, Hammoud Olimat became the founding director of the University of Jordan graduate social work program, and also helped coordinate the ground work for the eventual ICAN center in Sweileh, Jordan. Mr. Olimat was then seconded by the Ministry of Social Affairs, where has served as director general for many years.
After the MSW fellowship program, Mohammad Mani returned to the region to work on the University of Jordan Social Work program. He has advanced services for the elderly, served on the Jordanian national commission on aging, and continues to teach Social Work at the University of Jordan.
Noga Porat returned to work at Community Advocacy on housing issues. She brought back the experience of CMHC in Montreal, which led to successful advocacy to bring improvements in public housing for thousands of tenants.
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