NU-Q students produce six documentaries on Arab refugees

March 28, 2012 - 2:44:50 pm

DOHA: Students of Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) together with students of Northwestern's home campus in Evanston have produced a total of six short films documenting the lives of Palestinian, Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

The documentary series, "Shifting Diasporas in the Arab World", was earlier screened on February to "swarming" crowds of audience at the four-day "Talking Pictures Film Festival" in the US.

NU-Q dean and CEO, Everette E. Dennis, said: "Northwestern's combination of media education and practical field experience is at the heart of our efforts to prepare students for leadership in the rapidly-evolving digital, global media industry."

He added, "Our students in Qatar offer a unique local insight on the Arab World.  Projects like this allow them to share that perspective with their peers from the U.S. campus and, more importantly, with wider international audiences that may not otherwise have access to authentic voices from the region."

Leading the project from NU-Q, Assistant professor of journalism, Andrew Mills, said "The Refugee Lives initiative is a prime example of the thing I love best about our journalism program at Northwestern: that it's real," said Mills, adding, "There are no simulations here. Our students were real documentary filmmakers telling the real -and often heart-breaking -stories of refugees who had fled real wars. Our students then had the opportunity to produce and edit a documentary that was screened at a real film festival. Preparation for a career in journalism doesn't get much better than that."

In September 2011, students of both campuses were selected to take part in the project while on the Fall term they had to enroll to a preparatory program of courses on the history of refugee situations in the Arab world, refugee law, international reporting and documentary methods, taught in Doha by Assistant Professor of journalism, Janet Key.

In December, both groups traveled to Jordan on a 10-day trip to collect footage for their documentaries.

Three Journalism Junior students produced a documentary "Al Malaath Al Amn" ("Safe Haven") in the series.

The Documentary series project is a collaboration between the faculty and students of Medill School of Journalism at NU-Q and at NU's home campus in Evanston. (QNA)