First thing's first, set up a facebook page, then set up a website. But wait, I'm already running this thing for a while... right. So let's start.
My name is Iftah Burman, יפתח בורמן, and I'm a Middle East expert. I started out 14 years ago as an Israeli educator, for all things Israel. I slowly drifted towards Jewish education, and for the last 5 years or so I've been working mainly with Middle Eastern topics, guiding, lecturing and enerally educating about the geopolitics of the region I live in.
Working with Jewish educational tours in Israel, I found that people visiting here sometimes have a lack of understanding to what is the true history of the different conflicts that mark the Middle East in general, and Israel in particular. It seemed a lot of misconceptions, media fed mostly, were causing a misunderstanding of what each side has done and said in the past, and what weight the different elements have. As a result, any people found their initial viewpoint to be misperceived, after learning more about the subject from me. Over time, I found that one of the leading questions at the end of one of my lectures or presentations was "why wasn't I aware of this information?"
In 2011, I took it upon myself to supply a remedy for this problem. After all, Middle Eastern topics are on the evening news almost every night, all over the world. The word "conflict" seems at times to be a part of the name of this region. It has always been my conviction that through knowledge people can advance themselves and others, and solutions can be promoted to long standing issues. That's why I founded "MELA" - the Middle East Learning Academy, האקדמיה ללימוד המזרח התיכון. I wanted to supply a channel through which people can be educated about the history of the Middle Eastern items on their 6 o'clock news, a way for people to get a wide knowledge base about these current topics, and to be able to form their opinions about those while understanding all the different narratives. I wanted to create a nonpartisan, educational, innovative hub for Middle Eastern current affairs.
Several years ago I started out with giving lectures about the Israeli - Palestinian conflict, and guiding active learning sessions to different groups of different ages and different backgrounds. Over time, after much experimentation I formalized a multimedia pretension session that utilized video clips, pictures, maps and illustrations, and is followed by a Q&A session. The presentation was a great success. The audience was responsive and engaged, and afterwards people came up to me to say they now had a much better understanding and to ask how to get more information. The general feedback was showing that the participants received a firm understanding of the narratives of both sides, and were motivated to continue learning about this matter on their own. I felt that this was the first step in the right direction. Now I had to build the necessary infrastructure to enable people to reach out to me, and for me to be able to supply them with more information.
And that brought me here. In 2012 I went online, first with a twitter account, @ipalmah, that reports on important Middle Eastern matters on a more "real-time" base. Then, through my facebook page, www.facebook.com/melaseminars, and now through this website my aim is to reach out to people motivated to expand their knowledge base in Middle Eastern affairs. Also, I wish to provide the people who participated in one of my tours, lectures or seminars, a way to stay in touch, to get more resources on their subjects of interest, to read things I wrote about different Middle Eastern topics, and also to be able to ask me questions about those. And finally, to provide a platform where interested parties can view my work and evaluate its worth and potential for their own members.
For more information, please contact me through the social links, or through the following form.