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Karimeh Abboud Award

During Dar al Kalima University College of Arts and Culture’s 16th Annual International Conference, Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb awarded the 2018 Karimeh Abbud Photography Award. Dar al Kalima launched this annual award in 2016, recognizing the importance of Karimeh Abbud’s photographic legacy and of supporting future generations of Palestinian photographers in Palestine and in the Diaspora. The award restores a forgotten past of female Palestinian photographers in the early 20th century and brings that legacy into present and future Palestinian generations.

This year’s contest drew in a large number of entries on the theme “Jerusalem through a Palestinian Lens.” As a part of the selection process, a jury of prominent Palestinian artists and creators narrowed the selection pool down to ten finalists, most from the greater Bethlehem and Jerusalem areas. The finalists’ artwork was showcased both at the Palestine: Unlimited events hosted throughout the United States and at the Dar al Kalima University College of Arts and Culture’s gallery. The artists presented their artwork at the gallery to the panel of judges, who decided upon the winners.


The First Prize in the 2018 Karimeh Abboud Photography contest was awarded to Alexandra Sophia Handal, born to a Bethlehemite family in the global Palestinian diaspora. The winning installment, “No Parking Without Permission, Jerusalem,” was created during a number of walks through the neighborhoods of what has been known as West Jerusalem since 1948, an area from which Palestinian families were forced to evacuate. Handal sought to explore the alleys and streets that were a part of the stories of her childhood but no longer are accessible to the people that lived there. The photos are taken through a number of barriers – fences, gates, and bushes, to represent both the distance and the closeness of the Palestinian people to these areas.


The second-place prize was awarded to Alaa Atoun, a Palestinian artist based in Jerusalem. Atoun, a graduate of the Dar al Kalima university College of Arts and Culture, uses video and photography to convey his ideas about identity, memory, and land. His series “Jerusalem and I” focuses on the artist’s relationship with Jerusalem and the numerous documents and declarations that have been issued over the past decades about the city. The photos explore the weight of these documents and the Israeli system which labels his identity as “undefined.”


Awad Hamad, a student of the cinema program at Dar al Kalima University College of Arts and Culture and the third-place winner of the Karimeh Abboud Photography Award, has worked for many years with photography and cinematography to express his relationship with Jerusalem as a native of Bethlehem. His prizewinning installment, “Jerusalem: Close, Yet Far,” reflects his grief and separation from Jerusalem, a city he has never visited despite being raised only miles from its walls. These photos show Jerusalem in the only ways he has experienced it – from a distance, and through the checkpoint walls.


Raja Barbarawi, the third-place winner of the Karimeh Abboud Photography Award, was born in Jerusalem and holds a Bachelor’s in Visual Art and a Diploma in Art Education from Dar al Kalima University College of Arts and Culture. Her installment “Land is Life and Identity” depicts a Palestinian farmer and his son tending their land in the face of Israeli confiscation and Judaization.


Each of these photography installments, and those of the other finalists, represents the meaning of Jerusalem to the millions of Palestinians living in the West Bank, Gaza, and the Diaspora. The photos demonstrate manifold and complex emotions surrounding the holy city, from grief to resilience, and from confinement to separation.



From the Little Town of Bethlehem to you, wishes for a Merry Christmas and a New Year full of hope and happiness! The president, staff, students, and volunteers of Dar al Kalima University College of Arts and Culture send their holiday greetings and blessings.


The Dar al Kalima University College of Arts and Culture seeks during the Christmas season and in all months of the year to build hope, encourage creativity, and support freedom of expression by educating and training the next generation of Palestinian leaders and artists. Please, accept this gift from our artists for each month of the New Year!

Christmas Message

 - calendar that we did (Tamara or Ingrid)

- something creative?

- from the Little Town of Bethlehem, President / Staff / Students / Volunteers wish you a merry Christmas and (something related to the calendar, that each month will be filled with …. )

Include info in the mission “Accept from our artists a gift for each month of the new year”

  • Can we embed the video in an email? Through Mail Chimp


Tori scheduled for the 24th a Christmas Message from Mitri