2007-2009 Alumni

The 2007-2009 ICAN International MSW Fellowship cohort included ten Palestinian, Israeli and Jordanian Fellows. After gaining a broad range of experience in Montreal, they completed the second year of the MSW back in their home communities in the Middle East. Some continue on as staff at ICAN Rights Based Community Practice Centres, while others are now working in other social justice organizations and in government bodies, teaching social work in universities, and completing PhD programs. We congratulate them on joining the ranks of the ICAN Fellowship Alumni, now numbering more than 50 individuals leading the drive for social change in the region. They graduated from McGill in November 2009.

Haya Al-Hadid
Haya Al-Hadid, a graduate of Petra University with a BA in translation, spent two years working at the Jordan Red Crescent delivering lectures to students and volunteers on international humanitarian law and the Red Cross-Red Crescent movement. At McGill, Haya explored issues related to child abuse and did her field placement in Montreal at Tyndale St George. She coordinated work with children and youth at the ICAN centre in Ashrafiyah - Amman and then took on the same role at our newest Amman centre, Al Waqa: for community development. She recently gave birth to her second child and is no longer working with the centre.
Ariana Dokerker
Ariana Dokerker completed her BSW at Ben Gurion University of the Negev in 2005. While still a student, she launched "Ran's Place", an activity and consultation organization for youth in Arad, which she led until coming to McGill. In Montreal she focused on tolerance, equality, social justice, and human rights, also while leading the effort to establish Fellow-to-Fellow networking activities back in the region. Ariana undertook fieldwork in Montreal at the NDG Community Council. Ariana then worked at the RBCP centre in Beer Sheva and on the groundwork and outreach to set up a new centre in Sderot, in Southern Israel. Today she advises students with disabilities at ICAN partner Sapir College in Sderot.
Livnat Assulin
Before coming to McGill, Livnat Assulin held a BA in International Relations from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and worked at ICAN partner Shatil and at Community Advocacy in Jerusalem, identifying and documenting social rights denied by the Welfare to Work (Wisconsin) Plan in Israel. While in Montreal, Livnat explored models of cooperation between conflict-ridden and weak populations in their common struggle for social rights. She undertook her Montreal fieldwork, together with Samah, at Project Genesis in Cote-des-Neiges. Livnat joined Community Advocacy in Jerusalem upon her return from Montreal, first working on a new storefront in one of the Jerusalem food co-ops, and later as Community Advocacy Jerusalem's storefront coordinator. She recently became a mother.

Rachel Biton
Holding a BSW from Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Rachel Biton came to Montreal from Community Advocacy in Beer Sheva. There, Rachel provided leadership in the food co-op, and with a group of local residents known as the ‘Fair Society'. She also initiated rights advocacy groups with youth. In Montreal, Rachel explored issues that divide Israel's population, while learning the human rights advocacy model and its applicability in the Middle East context. She did her fieldwork under the supervision of Jim Olwell at the CSSS Cavendish in NDG. On her return to the region, she began work at Community Advocacy Lod, where she worked as a Community Organizer. Today, she leads volunteer and resource development projects in Jaffa with the Tel Aviv Municipality.

Arda Dergarabedian
Following years of experience in social policy, Arda Dergarabedian received an MA in Sociology from the University of Jordan in 2003, completing a thesis on "The Identity and Assimilation of Armenians in Jordan". Her education is strongly linked to her work with the Jordan Center for Social Research, where she conducted several poignant studies on minority and women's issues, social development, and social policy. At McGill she explored, among other things, microcredit as a means of addressing poverty in Jordan. Arda had the opportunity to gain valuable experience through her field placement at Women Aware during year one of the fellowship. Back in Jordan, Arda began work at the Ashrafiyah Centre and has developed intercultural programming and a highly dedicated women's group to empower women to achieve economic independence. Today she is teaching social entrepreneurship at the German University in Amman, and until recently was working at Al-Waqa: for training and community development, leading women’s programming.
Nuha Dweikat-Shaer

In 1998, Mrs. Nuha Dweikat-Shaer obtained her BS in Architecture at An Najah National University. She gained significant experience in public projects, social housing, and building renovation before coming to Montreal. At McGill, she learned to combine her architectural experience with a rights-based approach, examining the efficiency of low-cost housing systems and a participatory model of home building that could address social inequalities in Palestinian communities. Nuha gained experience regarding social housing programs in Quebec through her internship with ROMEL. Back in Nablus, Nuha worked in the An Najah Centre's housing revitalization program, which has renovated hundreds of homes while also teaching in the School of Social Work at An Najah. In the Fall of 2012, Nuha returned to Montreal to pursue her PhD at McGill, continuing to fuse her architecture and social work backgrounds as she researches housing policies and programs in regions of conflict. She is also co-coordinating the 2014-2016 ICAN Fellowship.

Michal Gomel
Michal Gomel Blank sees social justice as the path to stability and lasting peace. She has focused on empowerment and social policies that support equal participation of minority groups in a multiethnic state. Michal's field tutorial with the University of the Streets Cafe, of the Institute in Management and Community Development at Concordia University, gave her great organizing experience and the ability to engage in conversations about a wide range of issues affecting Montrealers. Back in Israel, she ran the Katamon Food Cooperative and the Kiryat Menahem Storefront through Community Advocacy for three years. Michal is now back in Montreal with her partner Rony who is studying for his PhD in Sociology at McGill. Here, Michal is involved once again with ICAN in Montreal. She is also working in Montreal-based non-profits, especially around youth engagement.
Tareq Hardan
Tareq Hardan holds a BA in Information Systems Management from the Arab American University in Jenin. To hone his community development skills, Tareq participated in training courses with many NGOs in the West Bank. Through his social work training, Tareq explored issues of gender and disability sensitivity within the school system, as well as the education of women and youth around their rights and entitlements. Tareq did his field work at Tyndale St George in Montreal, while also volunteering with a wide range of Montreal-based organizations. Back in the region, Tareq has lived in Bethlehem and Ramallah, and works in Abu Dis building volunteer networks of Al Quds University students and community members. He is also a lecturer in Social Work at Al Quds University. He recently completed a summer fellowship in Japan, comparing volunteer programs there with his own. He learned a great deal from the voluntary spirit that emerged following the tsunami and nuclear crisis that befell Japan. 
Samah Saleh
Samah Saleh holds a BA in Psychology from An-Najah National University and an MA in Gender and Development from Birzeit. She volunteered at the Nablus Centre for 5 years before participating in ICAN's 6-month Community Practice Fellowship in 2006. Before coming to Montreal, Samah worked in a psychosocial support program through UNRWA. At McGill, she explored strategies to improve the overall social support system in Nablus. Samah did her field work at Project Genesis, together with Livnat, participating in their storefront center and in door-knocking campaigns. Back in Nablus, Samah has reengaged in the psychosocial support program at the centre, and has been a driving force in volunteer development. After graduating, she also taught in the School of Social Work at An Najah. Today, she is in England completing a PhD.
Rawan Zaitoun
Rawan Zaitoun is from East Jerusalem and has a B.Ed. from David Yallin College. There, Rawan explored the school curriculum taught to Palestinian children and the ways Israel's educational policies affect the learning environment. As the Middle East coordinator for Seeking Common Ground (a Colorado-based non-profit), Rawan gained valuable experience with programs that promote tolerance and understanding among youth. Rawan was honoured by the organization in 2009. Rawan did her field work with the Young Parents Program at Head and Hands in NDG, which provided her with an interesting program for adaptation to the Palestinian context. Back in Jerusalem, Rawan works at the Al Quds Centre, focusing on women's empowerment groups, including single mothers, and on leadership development of young girls. She is currently pursuing a PhD at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
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