The International Academy of Art Palestine honoured the A. M. Qattan Foundation (AMQF) in recognition of its pivotal role in supporting academic efforts in the fields of art and culture. The honouring ceremony was organised in the context of celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Academy establishment.
The First Ramallah Group also honoured Ziad Khalaf, AMQF Director General, for his life-long career in development and community activity. The event was organised during the opening ceremony of the Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival on Thursday evening, 20 April 2017.
In 1981, Khalaf graduated from the University of Alabama, USA. with an MA in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science. He worked as a project engineer and consultant in the USA and Palestine. He was also a lecturer at the Faculty of Engineering at the Birzeit University. Khalaf continued his education in the Netherlands and obtained a Diploma in Development Management. Then, Khalaf has pursued a career of more than 22 years in various areas of development.
For four years, Khalaf was Director of the Human Development Programme at the Welfare Association. In 1998, Khalaf led the inauguration of the AMQF branch in Palestine. Later, Khalaf managed the establishment and launch of the Child Centre - Gaza, which now serves around 45,000 children a year. In 2008, Khalaf established the Gaza Music School, which was handed over to the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music in 2012. In addition, Khalaf played a key role in many other campaigns and projects.
Khaled Ilayyan, Director of the Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival, said that Khalaf was honoured for his role and contribution to the cultural scene over extended years: “Ziad and the AMQF were among the major supporters of culture in Palestine and paid particular attention to the youth. We highly appreciate their effort to support and consolidate activities of cultural institutions.”
Khalaf dedicated the award to his family, Abdel Mohsin Qattan, Qattan’s late wife Layla Miqdadi Qattan, and his 100 colleagues at the AMQF. In his address at the honouring ceremony, Khalaf remarked: “Some of you may know that I was an active member at the First Ramallah Group when I was a child. My participation in international voluntary work camps, which the First Ramallah Group organised in early 1970s, might be the most important experience of my life. It contributed to shaping my character, taught me discipline and invoked in me the value of group work and volunteering.
Launched last Thursday, the 12th edition of the Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival will run until 30 April 2017. The festival brings together 21 bands from Palestine, Morocco, Iran, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, Britain, Greece and Estonia. Performances are held in Ramallah, Jerusalem, Jericho, Haifa and Golan Heights.