In late January, the AFL-CIO Solidarity Center brought a delegation of women union educators from Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, and Yemen to Washington, DC and then to Highlander. The women came to the United States to share their experience and expertise in union education and organizing, and to learn more to help build the voice of workers in the Middle East.

Labor educators from the Middle East with Highlander staff

 As a report on the Solidarity Center’s website notes, this was the first delegation of Arab trade unionists to visit Highlander. While they were here,

 they exchanged ideas and strategies with youth and cultural activists . . . , as well as longtime grassroots organizers who work collectively through popular education to nurture and strengthen the skills of the marginalized and oppressed and to advocate for and deliver social and economic justice in one of the poorest regions of the United States.  

 Following the group’s visit, Lisa McGowan of the Solidarity Center relayed a story about two of the participants from Morocco who facilitated a gender workshop with workers there soon after they returned home. Many of the workers are non-literate, so the facilitators decided to get rid of their flip chart and sit in a circle, Highlander-style. They recorded the meeting in pictures and reported that the whole group had a wonderful educational experience. 

 All of us at Highlander were inspired by the labor educators’ amazing energy, courage, and dedication. We were enriched by their stories and their songs, and by the great meal they cooked for us. We also were delighted to have our first Arabic-English-French multilingual space!

 For more on the labor educators’ visit to the United States, click here. Watch for more information Highlander Reports, which will include a song and a recipe from the group.