Preserving Palestine: Cultural Heritage Under Settler Colonialism

Monday, November 20

9am San Francisco / 12pm NYC / 5pm London / 7pm Jerusalem / 8pm Nairobi


Twitter: @Librarians2Pal
Instagram: librarianswithpalestine

Organized and sponsored by: 

  • Librarians & Archivists with Palestine 
  • Middle East Librarians Association

Roundtable featuring expert librarians, archivists and scholars (bios below): 

  • Dr. Mezna Qato
  • Blair Kuntz
  • Dr. Rami Zurayk
  • Tam Rayan 

Moderated by:

  • Dr. Jamila J. Ghaddar
  • Raneem Hijazi

In support of our colleagues in Palestine, in support of the Palestinian people, and in support of justice for all people, Librarians & Archivists with Palestine (LAP) is honoured to present this roundtable featuring expert librarians, archivists and scholars, Dr. Mazna Qato, Dr. Rami Zurayk, Blair Kuntz and Tam Rayan to discuss the urgent need to Preserve Palestine. Sponsored by the Middle East Librarians Association, this educational event serves as a call to information professionals to take action to protect and safeguard Palestinian cultural heritage institutions and knowledge repositories, including libraries, archives and museums, in defence of Palestinian life, land and liberation. Speakers will provide examples and case studies illustrating the impact of a century of theft, plunder and destruction of Palestinian heritage, libraries and archives under British and Israeli settler colonialism, as well as the myriad Palestinian social and grassroots efforts to counter this epistemic violence and colonial erasure. 

Speaker bios:

Dr. Mezna Qato is Margaret Anstee Fellow at Newnham College, and Affiliated Lecturer in the Faculty of History at the University of Cambridge.  She is completing a book on the history of education for Palestinians. Her work revolves around three themes: social histories of Palestinian and Arab exile, the politics and practice of archives, and comparative settler colonialism. She co-convenes the Archives of the Disappeared Research Network. She is a founding committee member of the Librarians and Archivists with Palestine, a member of the board of the Qattan Foundation, Friends of Birzeit University, and MAKAN, and a contributing editor of the Jerusalem Quarterly. Her most recent artwork, a scorebook on life in exile, was recently in exhibition at the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale.

Blair Kuntz has been the Near and Middle Eastern Studies Librarian at the University of Toronto Libraries since 2003. Since then, Blair has presented papers at a number of international conferences on four continents (including three times at the Virginia Woolf conference) and has had papers published in journals such as Progressive Librarian and the Journal of Radical Librarianship. In 2013, Blair was a delegate of the Libraries and Archivists With Palestine delegation and is now one of the groups’ social media coordinators. Blair is currently a conference committee member of the European Conference on e-Learning and the International Conference on Gender Research and is also the co-chair of the University of Toronto’s Indigenous Metadata Committee.

Dr. Rami Zurayk currently serves as Interim Director of the Palestine Land Studies Center (PLSC). He is Professor of the Department of Landscape Design and Ecosystem Management at the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences​. Dr. Zurayk’s research interests center on landscape and agrarian transformation, as well as on political ecology of the Arab world. He has published on food security in Gaza, on ‘Farming Palestine for Freedom” as well as extensively on issues pertaining to land use, food security and sovereignty, sustainable agriculture, and water and food systems during conflict. For two years, he was the lead researcher on a UN-HABITAT program on Land and Conflict in the Arab Region. He is a founding member of the Arab Food Sovereignty Network, which focuses on issues of food sovereignty in the Arab World, and is a contributor to Al Shabaka, the Palestine Policy Network. A long-term activist on Palestinian issues and former advisor of the AUB Palestinian Cultural Club, he has been serving as the co-chair of the PLSC Steering Committee and highly engaged in the center’s activities since its inception.​

Tam Rayan is pursuing their PhD in Information at the University of Michigan, specializing in Archives and Digital Curation, and is advised by Ricky Punzalan and Patricia Garcia. They received their MI in Information Studies (2020) and MA in Ethnomusicology (2016) from the University of Toronto. Their research is focused on how to build transformative archival representations of those in diaspora. Specifically, they are interested in how to better serve and represent the recordkeeping needs of ethnic groups impacted by forced migration, political conflict, and/or exile. Their work has been previously published in Across the Disciplines and they have a forthcoming publication in Archival Science. They are currently a core member of the ACA BIPOC Special Interest Section, a former steering committee member of the SAA Archivists and Archives of Color section, and a former ARL/SAA Mosaic Fellow.