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Middle East Leadership Jam 2018

10th Middle East Leadership Jam!

November 2-9, 2018

Wadi Rum, Jordan

Greetings friend!

It is our honor to invite you to a unique gathering: the 10th Middle East Leadership Jam! This Jam will connect approximately 30 diverse, engaged and committed leaders from around our region, for a week of deep listening and sharing, self-discovery, systemic inquiry, and community building.

The Jam will take place from November 2-9, 2018, in the spectacular Wadi Rum desert in Jordan.

Download and complete the 2018 Middle East Jam Application (a word .doc file) and send it in by email to themejam@gmail.com

**FINAL APPLICATION DEADLINE: OCTOBER 9. Please make sure to apply as soon as possible if you are interested in joining us!**


What is the intention of the Jam?

The Jam is not a conference, seminar, or a typical meeting.

The Jam works on three levels of change:

On the internal level, it is a place to share and reflect on our life journeys and our work in the world. It is a time to replenish, recharge and renew, and to gain specific and practical tools for self-care and personal sustainability. It is also an opportunity to grow in self-knowledge, to ask meaningful questions, to unlearn our fears and blocks, and to co-create new possibilities together.

On the interpersonal level, we come together to deepen our understanding of each other and of ourselves. to share our stories and our struggles with each other. The Jam values diversity and seeks to bring together as diverse a group of people as possible. The intention is to build trust and relationships in meaningful, non-superficial ways. This means challenging stereotypes, being present with each other, speaking truth, working through tough places and being open to giving and receiving support. We feel that the more authentic our relationships are, the stronger the foundations we will have for developing new collaborations and synergies within our region.

On the systemic level, through the Jam, we become clearer about our vision and work in the world. We face the violence, exploitation, division, and uncertainty in the region together — and discover new ways to meet and transform them. We get a chance to link issues that aren’t commonly linked, to notice crucial intersection points, and get a clearer picture of the whole. We come together to learn from each other: about what is working, about what mistakes we have made, about where we need help. We have a chance to share tools and ideas to support one another. In turn, we hope this helps us to generate a body of collective wisdom for activism in the region. We also hope it will enable each participant to feel deepened in their capacity to vision and create meaningful positive change and carry their dreams forward. In a moment that may feel particularly difficult for many of us in this region, creating a space to explore systemic issues – and our relationships to them – feels especially important.

The Jam is a place to practice living the world we want to see.


I shared, learned and cared for a family that I only knew for a week but felt as if I had known for years. I have opened my eyes again through this desert Jam and I’m able to listen more to others, to feel the breeze, to taste life and listen to my inner self and body. Technology has drifted us away from reality and this Jam has given reality back to me and helped me face my fears. This Jam has helped me taste humanity again and taught me the value of sharing through all of your senses and from the bottom of your heart.”
Wojoud, 26, Yemen Youth Council, Yemen
What do we mean by ‘Middle East’?

Middle East, Arab world, North Africa, South West Asia, Mediterranean, Gulf, Levant. So many terms to refer to the geographic and national identities for the countries that make up this Jam. All terms are imperfect and, just as our founders back in 2008 wrestled with, we today continue to acknowledge the complexity of even putting a title onto this region. We understand the term Middle East comes out of a colonial mindset — one we certainly do not reinforce at the Jam.

As a team, we feel that part of the intention of this gathering is to increase our understanding of the region as a whole: its uniqueness, its diversity, its cultures and traditions, its struggles and pains, and what it offers the world today.

Therefore, we decided it was best to leave it to you to define what the ‘Middle East’ is to you. We have considered its geographic breadth, from Morocco all the way to Pakistan, and we feel it includes a diversity of issues, cultures, and languages. Many people feel connected to it for various reasons, and all of these reasons have a place at the Jam. In the application, we ask you to describe how and why you feel linked to the region, and why it feels relevant and meaningful for you to be part of this Jam.

Why the Middle East Leadership Jam?

We Jam because we are pained by the amount of conflict, injustice, and violence that exists in our region, from intra-religious violence to occupation, from civil war to political and social oppression of all types. We come together to face our wounds and to heal them in community. To grapple with our differences and discover our commonalities. To dream up and to work towards a different reality. To move beyond simplistic narrative of ‘us’ vs. ‘them’. We come together to learn, unlearn, listen, and be heard. We come together to be reinspired, reenergized. In the midst of this difficult political and social climate that divides us along every possible line, to come together in this way is a radical act.

Through our work and lives we are committed to making our region one that more closely resembles what we know is possible and what generations before us have fought for and continue to fight for: a thriving and diverse community united by values of equality, peace, and sustainability. At the Jam, we build and practice this community.

The learnings and connections from the Jam sustain us outside of it long after it has ended, as we integrate transformative tools and practices into our work, communities, and personal lives.


Who comes to the Middle East Leadership Jam?

Every Jam is an open space for the questions, needs, and gifts of the people that show up to emerge. Because we seek to bring together as diverse a group of people as possible, we are looking for a range in:

    • Leadership and years of experience;
    • Methods and venues of social engagement (e.g. entrepreneurs, NGOs, communities, government, etc.);
    • Issue- or work-focus (e.g. indigenous issues, human rights, education, food security, cultural exchange, health and well-being, spiritual healing and recovering from trauma, arts, environmental sustainability, political participation, etc.);
    • Identity (i.e. nationality, ethnicity, religion, gender and sexuality, age, etc.).
“The Middle East Jam was an extremely important stepping stone in my journey of self-discovery. Not only did I find common ground with people who most of my life have been the ‘other’, but I also received support and was touched to the core by people I now call friends. I have formed relationships that seemed logically impossible but are now deeper than any logic. I think that the Middle East is not as complex as I used to think, if people really decide to invest in relationships and community building, as we did this week.”
– Mai, 29, Cairo Refugee Film Festival, Egypt
Language of the Jam

Given the diversity of the region, the Jam will be predominately in English. It is possible for a person who speaks predominantly Arabic to participate fully, since we expect that there will be a large contingent of people who speak both Arabic and English and who can support them. If you are a speaker of any of the other regional languages, we ask that you ought to be comfortable in English, although acquiring translation services is a possibility in special circumstances.

Who is putting on the 2018 Middle East Leadership Jam?

Alia is from Morocco, lives in New York City, and is constantly moving through different spaces looking to learn and unlearn, to grow, to contribute, and to love in community. She has a master’s degree in international relations but has learned everything she knows outside the classroom. Alia works as an independent facilitator and trainer focused on holistic social change. She loves co-creating experiences that support individuals and groups to learn and to stretch outside of their comfort zones. Alia can otherwise be found dancing, playing with someone else’s baby, or pondering the universe. She has a lot of thoughts and feelings, and since 2010 her favorite time of the year has been her yearly pilgrimage to Wadi Rum, which allows her to process them in excellent company.


Hanzade is a Turkey based humanitarian worker and a community facilitator. Following her international relations and political economy studies at the university, she professionally got engaged in social change, working several years at a grant making foundation, developing programs geared towards vulnerable groups. She loves to invent and play around new concepts and content to build the capacity of organizations she works with. With the growing refugee crisis in the region, she shifted her focus to humanitarian work. Since than she has been working with national and international humanitarian NGOs, trying to come up with best practices for refugee protection. Currently, she runs the programs for International Medical Corps (IMC) in Turkey. She has been to the Anatolia and World Jam in 2011 and since then the Jam became a major part of her life. After facilitating the Anatolia Jams for several years, she joined the Middle East Jam team in 2015. Her journey is all about finding her passions and getting to know herself better through the right mirrors in life. She recently moved to the capital city, Ankara and tries to fit in to this new city after Istanbul.

Hussien is a full-time professional human since 1993. He was born in Libya, grew up in Palestine and is currently living in Jordan. He is a humanitarian worker, a media and communication specialist as well as a visual artist. The combination of his personal and professional experiences has guided him to be part of several non-profit institutions and initiatives for the last eight years, focusing on conflicts and refugee crisis in the Middle East. He is now the communication advisor for War Child in Jordan, an international organization working with and for children in war-affected regions. Hussien seeks for opportunities where he can through his expertise contribute, add value and bring a change to the lives of humans within their communities.

Liel was born in Israel to a Libyan father. He has wondered about his identity and its position in the region all his life. Since his participation in the ME Jam of 2011, he has been dedicated to change the human dynamics in this region. Through working in group facilitation, community organizing, mobilization and social entrepreneurship across the region, Liel aims to contribute to a future where people are more empowered, have self agency and are free from every system of oppression. Liel holds a MA degree in International Development and a B.A in ME studies, both acquired in Jerusalem.


Noureddine is a community organizer and social worker from Casablanca, Morocco. He is mostly active in the fields of education, community development, human rights, public diplomacy, peace-building and socio-economic integration of at risk youth and women from disadvantaged neighborhoods in Casablanca. Nour is the former president of a youth-led NGO called Neighborhoods Association Idmaj, and the deputy director of Sidi Moumen Cultural Center, an after school educational institution that serves hundreds of kids and women on a daily basis. Nour also served on the National Administrative Council of Amnesty International Morocco, and has worked with a number of other non-profits in Morocco and abroad including Seeds of Peace and CorpsAfrica. He has been jamming and facilitating Jams for the past 6 years, both in the Middle East Jam and the Morocco Jam.

Rawan is a singer/songwriter, facilitator, whirler, photographer, sound healer and catalyst of community. She fuses sound and movement in safe spaces to create journeys of supported self-healing. She participated in the ME Jam in 2014, which was a profound experience, and when she was invited to join the team the following year she was thrilled. She is proud to be co-facilitating the JAM for the third time in the year of 2018. She brings to the jam the willingness to actively listen with compassion, her voice and songs, her childlike playfulness, her collected knowledge and tools, the pursuit of her own healing, unconditional love and the openness to grow through learning from the collective wisdom present. She is working on her patience and deepening her connection with herself as she continues to evolve, cleansing and clearing inward to then project outward the way in which she wants to manifest her being in this world. Rawan is actively a member of many communities such as Jamily, Rainbow Family, Open Mind Festival Family, Manna Gathering Family, ISTA, Tumata Sufi Community, DIP-TEP tribe, and more! She is a constant quest to network all these paradigm shifting collectives to one another by travelling physically and virtually, connecting the global tribe.


How much does the Middle East Leadership Jam cost?

While the actual expenses of the Jam (lodging, board, transportation within Jordan, and program expenses) reach over $1000 USD per participant, we ask that you contribute a minimum of $450 as participation fees. We receive a large number of applications every year, and we give some preference to those who are able to motivate themselves and their communities to raise funds to support their participation in the Jam. However, a limited number of partial scholarships and work trades are possible. Our hope is that money will not be a barrier to anyone’s participation, so please be in touch!

You are invited!

Our team would like to welcome you to apply for the Jam. Please download the 2018 Middle East Jam Application (a word .doc file) and email it to themejam@gmail.com when you are complete. The earlier you apply, the better.

**FINAL APPLICATION DEADLINE: OCTOBER 9. Please make sure to apply as soon as possible if you are interested in joining us!**

Please share this invitation with other leaders you know in the region! And do not hesitate to email us should you have any questions or concerns.

We can’t wait to JAM with you!

With love,

Alia, Hanzade, Hussien, Liel, Nour, and Rawan

The 2018 Middle East Leadership Jam Organizing Team