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Nureddin writes from Ramallah:
Hope you are all doing well. I would very much like to share our week of success with all of you. Following my New York marathon journey with all its amazements and excitements, I came back home to win two national prizes: the ‘Palestine Prize of education’ and the ‘Prize of Elham Palestine‘, which I received today in an official ceremony in Ram Allah attended by prime Minister Salam Fayyad , Minister of Education, Marwan Awartani and many other personalities and sponsoring organisations. More happily, a group of our visually handicapped athletes won the national championship across Palestine in ‘goal-ball‘, and honored the cub. I hope our consecutive successes will inspire more Arab innovators, and become a good example of change and social philanthropy.
The International Friendship Run that covers 4 kilometers between the United Nations and the finish line of the marathon is a joyful event happening the day before marathon day. Nureddin participated with some kids from the United Nations International School, and met some colorful characters along the way.
Nureddin visited the Harriet and Robert Heilbrunn Guild School at the Jewish Guild for the Blind and was impressed with their technologies, especially the “cues” and concrete objects that are used in daily activities and programs. The school also utilizes devices that enable communication between deaf and visually impaired people. Stuart Filan, an orientation and mobility instructor at the Guild School, led a tour of the facilities. Nureddin met faculty and students, and observed several classroom sessions.
At the Achilles International Chapter meeting, Nureddin met and exchanged experiences with Achilles organizations from South Africa, New Zealand, Russia, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Poland, Spain and other countries. His plan is to create the first Palestinian chapter of Achilles.
Dick Traum, founder of Achilles (pictured with Nureddin below), outlined objectives for the international activities of Achilles in the coming year. He also shared information about the marathon on Sunday and details on the weather. “It will be very cold – he noted – but the Russians will be fine”. The starting point of the marathon on the Verrazano bridge tends to be 10 degrees chillier than the surrounding areas.
At the Achilles dinner following the meeting, Nureddin met David and Julie, who along with Mike and Ferne will be his guides on marathon day. He is pictured below with David, Julia and Miss New York, who will be handing out medals at the finish.
As Julia noted, Nur is “run” spelled backwards, which makes “run Nur run” a good rallying cry.
Nureddin will be traveling to New York City in November to raise awareness of his initiatives and connect with organizations active in the fields of education and assistive technologies for visually impaired children.
While in New York, Nureddin will be participating in the 2010 ING New York City Marathon! He will be running with the Achilles International, a group supporting athletes with disabilities. Nureddin is currently forming the Palestine chapter of Achilles.