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Reclaiming learning as a biological ability

Munir Fasheh talks about his long experience in emancipating learning from being subordinate to formal education and academia. As a subject of the overlayered settler-colonial eras, he has had an important role in empowering solidarity with pedagogical strategies in Palestine from the 1970’s and onwards.

Stating that healing from the disease of colonization starts with reclaiming learning as a biological ability, which he consider to be the most distinctive characteristic of humans, Munir talks about his journey in pedagogy from the 1970’s to today. With early influences of Khaili al-Sakkakini’s methodologies and through the seventies he was teaching mathematics at Birzeit University and working with schools in the West Bank region, introducing new curricula. During the first Palestinian intifada [1] when Israel closed all schools, universities, and other institutions for 4 years, he founded Tamer Institute for Community Education, which stressed learning environments where people learned without being taught.

He started using the concept of mujaawarahs [2] in the early seventies. These later formed the backbone of the first intifada where young people on their own formed hundreds of neighbourhood committees in the West Bank and Gaza Strip regions.  In 1997 he became a visiting scholar to Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies and established the Arab Education Forum, which he then directed for ten years. During these years he travelled to many countries from India to the Middle East to Latin America and encountered important organisation and individuals like C.K Ranju, Gustavo Esteva and Ivan Illich, with whom he shared ideas on decolonial methodologies.

In 2007, he went back to Palestine and worked mainly in refugee camps rather than in universities building on his pedagogical vision, which rests on the three pillars of mujaawarah, wellness, and nurturing soils.

This presentation by Munir Fasheh was done in conversation with Magnus Ericson and Pelin Tan uniquely for Urgent Pedagogies



The Palestinian uprising 1987 – 1991


Literally meaning ‘neighbouring’, a form of organisation without hierarchy, a medium of learning

Munir Faseh

is a learning theorists and practitioner based in al-Fuheis, Jordan. He has a long-lasting pedagogical experience on the concept of learning as integral to education, both formal and informal. He studied and taught mathematics for many years; got his doctorate from Harvard in education and worked in Birzeit University. During the first Palestinian intifada in late 1980s, he left academia and established Tamer Institute for Community Education, which revolved around protecting and providing “learning environments”, building on what is beautiful, inspiring, healthy, and abundant in people, communities, and cultures, and making sense of one’s experience. In 1997, he established the Arab Education Forum within Harvard University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies. He is the founder of Mujaawarah, a self-organised care initiative focusing on symbiosism with the earth through collective learning. In 2018 he moved to Jordan and have been working with JOHUD’s 52 centers in Jordan. He has a PhD in Education from Harvard University in 1988, MS in Mathematics education from Florida State University in 1966, and a BS in Mathematics from the AUB in 1962. Munir Faseh has published many books and articles in Arabic and English, several of them in the Harvard Educational Review, and participated in numerous conferences as a keynote speaker and/or lecturer.



Tamer Institute for Community Education

Magnus Ericson

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