The Foundation has therefore chosen to focus on two principal areas, culture and education. Hence, it established the Qattan Centre for Educational Research and Development in order to actively participate in raising the standards of education and teaching in Palestine. The Centre works directly with schoolteachers to develop their skills and to create better learning conditions for pupils of all ages.
Another project, the Qattan Centre for the Child in Gaza City, boasts over 110,000 volumes and a variety of other library and information services. Established to compensate for the lack of incentives and opportunities open to children at school and elsewhere, it aims to nurture their curiosity, expand their knowledge and facilitate their access to outside cultures. It also works to help children become active and effective social beings within the context of an increasingly globalised world.
In 1999, the Foundation launched in 1999 the Culture and Arts Programme to provide support for talented people in a number of fields of creative endeavour, particularly to the young. The Programme offers incentives to artists and creators to develop their skills and explore new horizons. It also aims to promote Palestinian and Arab culture internationally and to open avenues into the region for international culture and know-how. Two recent developments embody the spirit of this work: a funding programme in the performing arts, co-financed with the Ford Foundation; and a Gaza Music Education Project, launched in collaboration with the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society in May 2008 in spite of the unprecedented hardships faced by the Gaza Strip as a result of its siege by the Israeli Army.
In recognition of the growing vitality, artistic contribution and economic needs of Palestinian film and television production, the Foundation also launched the Palestinian Audio-visual Project in June 2004 which includes a national training programme, DVD publishing and distribution grants and an extensive School Film Education Programme which has created forty-six ciné-clubs in Palestine’s schools. Phase 2 of this pioneering project is currently under study.
A new exhibition space in Central London is currently under refurbishment and will open in September 2008, incorporating the Foundation’s UK offices. Another, much larger building in Ramallah is in the design phase and will open in 2011.
The Al-Qattan family underwrites the Foundation’s administrative expenses and programme and project costs in order to ensure its independence and the highest level of service.