Sarah Sachs (Palestine)

Sarah Sachs (Alternative Information Center - AIC): Sarah taught English in Argentina and Germany and worked for several years as a manager in the dot-com industry before pursuing her graduate studies. At the time of her fellowship, she was pursuing a Master’s degree in International Affairs with a concentration in economic, political and education development from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs.



Pre-departure

20 May

Eleven days and counting. Soon I will be navigating the winding streets of the Old City of Jerusalem, finding my way to the Damascus Gate. When I step through, my summer will begin.

Taxis and checkpoints. Clandestine fence crossings. City air, thick with a mingling of exhaust and sweet apple sheesha. Pots and pots of sugar with tea.

These are my expectations. After so many years of travel, I’ve learned to be ready for anything.

Last night, in a cafe in Washington DC, I found myself immersed in conversation with some Palestinian activists, well-versed on the work of the AIC. We discussed the usual suspects—-the Separation Wall, administrative detention, checkpoints, and the Right of Return. But, two hours after my first day of orientation with AP, I found myself re-directing the conversation to capacity-building, outreach, and the role of technology in the international arena.

Five years ago, I gave up my career in the tech industry to try to do something good in the world. I walked away from my desk job, never to return. It never dawned on me that I could use the same skills that I had acquired in the private sector to enable resource-strapped organizations in more troubled countries.

In less than two weeks, I arrive in the West Bank. My brain is already overflowing with ideas about how to assist the talented people at the AIC in using cyberspace to educate the public about the realities of living under occupation. As always, my expectations are simple. But, for once in the last 16 years of my interest in the Arab-Israeli conflict, the possibilities are endless.

Posted By Sarah Sachs (Palestine)

Posted May 20th, 2006

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