Rangineh Azimzadeh

Rangineh Azimzadeh (Democracy Workers Rights Center - DWRC): Rangineh graduated cum laude from Portland State University with an undergraduate degree in Communications Studies. She then went abroad to Nicosia, Cyprus where she studied International Mediation and Conflict Resolution. Rangineh also lived and studied abroad in Iran and Italy, and served as a fellow for the Institute for International Public Policy from 2003-2007. She undertook intensive Arab language training at Middlebury College before entering the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS) as a graduate student. While at MIIS Rangineh participated in a 3-week intensive winter practicum in Cambodia on peace building in a post-conflict society. After her fellowship, Rangineh wrote: “The field experience helped to recommit me to working in the region and on this conflict specifically. It increased my global awareness immensely and provided a critical opportunity for introspection.”

Welcome to Palestine

22 Jun

Welcome to Palestine where there are no addresses, car horns are used like they are going out of style and people talk about politics as often as Americans talk about sports. In my short time here I have already come across a plethora of new experiences. Within one week I have seen the birth place and burial site of Jesus Christ and touched the rock where the prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven; I have witnessed countless acts of kindness by local Palestinians doing their best to help me, a foreigner in their city, find my way; and last but certainly not least, I have eaten some of the most amazing food that has thus far graced by pallet. It was only a week ago that I arrived in the city of Ram Allah a bit culture shocked and without luggage, but fortunate for me I was received by last year’s DWRC fellow, Willow, who has been gracious enough to take me under her wing and show me the ropes in this vibrant little city that will be home for the next two months.

The first thing I learned upon touching down here is how much I actually don’t know. The complexity of the conflict and subsequently everything that appears to be inextricably linked to it is beyond any thing I could have imagined. I am constantly surrounded by experts in history and I feel like a grade school student again trying to cram a huge amount of information into my head before the big exam, except that in this case, the exam is everyday life. My goal in coming here this summer was to listen more and have less opinion – a goal that after only a week has already proven to be significantly challenging, especially when political debates quickly can and do manifest out of discussions as seemingly simple as recycling.

There is no question in my mind that the coming weeks will be filled with sobering as well as inspiring experiences. And as I sit and watch the sun set over this humble city while listening to the call for prayer echo over the hilltops, I can hear the faint voices of all the incredible Palestinians I have already met whispering yet again….welcome to Palestine.

City of Ramallah

City of Ramallah

Posted By Rangineh Azimzadeh

Posted Jun 22nd, 2009


  • Marsh

    June 23, 2009


    What kind of apartment do you have? Are you sharing space with someone? Is he/she a local or like you a foreigner?

    The picture looks deceptively ‘normal’: any growing city where space is at a premium and buildings crop-up all over. What do most of the locals do for a living there? Everything I know about Ramallah is from the news, most of it related to Yassir Arafat and later the fighting between the Fatah movement and Hamas. Is there heavy security there (Israeli or otherwise)?

    Hope you have time for some fun along with all the work you have to do while you are there!

    • Rangineh Azimzadeh

      June 26, 2009


      After a long search, I was able to find a lovely two bedroom apartment, which I share with an Italian woman who has been here for about a six months.

      The picture does look a bit deceptively normal, but to be quite honest with you, the vibe in Ramallah is significantly different then what you find in some of the surrounding areas, such as in Ni’lin or Hebron (look for a post on my recent trips there soon!). In terms of security, typically there is really only Palestinian police monitoring streets and keeping an eye on life here and then there is of course always the checkpoints, but that is another story. Ramallah is quite the bustling city and those that are able to find jobs are involved in a wide range of work. There is also a significant NGO presence, a statistic from a good friend identified close to 1 NGO for every 200 Palestinians here. I am learning more and more everyday so please feel free to continue asking questions and I will do my best to answer them!

  • Marina

    June 24, 2009


    I had the same feeling when I arrived in Lebanon, like how am I ever going to learn all of this complex history and be able to keep up? But that’s the great part about being there, you’ll absorb so much before you know it. Looking forward to reading your posts this summer!

    • Rangineh Azimzadeh

      June 26, 2009


      Thank you! It’s always nice to hear from an empathetic ear 🙂

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