Interview with a former ISS student

Rafe Jabari was invited as a special guest, representing alumni students, for the opening of the 70th session of the ISS. He was an ISS student in 1998, and came as member of a group called Shalom-Salam, a confidence building project for Palestinian and Israeli students. At the opening ceremony he was interviewed by me.

Photo: Sissel Drevsjø

Where do you come from and where did you study when you came to the ISS in 1998?

First of all, thank you for this invitation and I am honoured to be here with you this evening. I come from Palestine, and I studied Business administration at Hebron University, in Hebron.

What made you apply for the ISS?

I found out about the ISS and the Shalom-Salam programme by an announcement in my University. I was very excited to take part in!

Tell us about the Shalom Salam project?

The Shalom Salam project was aiming to give the chance for Israeli and Palestinian students to exchange. It was the first time for me to meet with Israelis citizens and discuss the Israeli Palestinian conflict and the Oslo Peace process.  

How was your time at the ISS?

One of the most wonderful experience, it changed me!

Did you keep in touch with any of your Shalom Salam friends after the ISS?

I have kept in touch with most of them.  I have followed what they are doing in life and shared what I am doing.

What did you do later?

I went back to Hebron and finished my BA in Business Administration and I was very active in community work. After I finished my BA. I decided to study French language to study Political Science in Paris. In the same time, I worked as a cultural and educational activities coordinator in Hebron.

I arrived in France in 2003; I have worked for different associations to enhance cooperation between French Cities and Palestinian cities. Later on, I joined Sciences Po Paris where I did two master degrees: one in Political Science and one in International relations.  After that, I founded an association to promote peace and academic exchanges between Sciences Po and the Palestinian universities but also debates with my Israeli colleagues at Sciences Po.

How have your experiences and impulses from the ISS contributed to shaping your career, academically and in other respects?

Before coming to the ISS, I studied Business administration that would lead me normally to become a local or national businessman! After that, I decided to take responsibility by trying to participate at my level in supporting Oslo Peace Process through organizing cultural and academic activities for the Palestinians, Israeli and international Students in Palestine and in France where I live now.

Currently, I am teaching Middle East Studies and finishing a PhD degree in Political Science at Sciences Po Paris!

What is your advice to the class of 2016?

Oslo University and its team provide a great opportunity to study and meet colleagues from all around the world! A great place to think and participate in constructing better and peaceful world. It’s the best place to build a network and enhancing their knowledge the world. Thinking and your life project. To conclude, as a citizen of Palestine, I regret that the progress that we made in Oslo agreement hasn’t been putting into practice by a peace treaty between Israeli and Palestinian.  But, I do believe that Peace will prevail in the coming years.


By Einar Vannebo
Published July 12, 2016 10:31 PM - Last modified Nov. 1, 2016 7:35 PM