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Sohail Dahdal, New Media Artist

Palo Dutch Concept Factory: Sohail Dahdal

Sohail Dahdal wants to draw more attention to the plight of the Palestinians, but doing so requires winning over some tough audiences. That’s where the Palo-Dutch Concept Factory comes in. The organization holds idea-generating workshops in Ramallah. During the three-day workshops, creative-thinking Palestinians get together with Dutch advertising and public-relations specialists, and the two groups work together to develop campaign ideas that highlight the situation of the Palestinians. One of these ideas, for example, is “Send a Friend.” Most Palestinian children can’t travel outside the occupied territories, so children in the Netherlands, using Web cameras, will act as tour guides, taking Palestinian children on tours in real time to see places such as the canals of Amsterdam. Eventually, the project will make people in other countries question why Palestinians can’t move freely. Through innovative ideas such as this one, Sohail, 37, hopes to use his skills as a New Media Artist to highlight the plight of the Palestinians. To learn more about Sohail and the Palo-Dutch Concept Factory, check out this week’s Nonprofit Spotlight.


The Palo-Dutch Concept Factory





Name, Title

Sohail Dahdal
New Media Artist




Taybeh, Palestine

Current residence

Sydney, Australia


UTS University
B.A. Communication

NSW University
Ms Sc, Computer

Work Experience

Lonely Planet
Digital Manager loneyplanet.tv

The Palo-Dutch Concept Factory

6moons Interactive
Company Owner
2000- 2006

Jack Morton worldwide
News Media Producer
1994 – 2000



About the non-profit

The Palo-Dutch Concept Factory has a clear core business: generating ideas, for campaigning in the broadest sense. These ideas are born in Ramallah, Palestine. Their fathers and mothers are Palestinians, coaching (and also being coached by) their Dutch counterparts, experienced advertising and PR people.

One of these ideas is “Send A Friend.” It was tested in Nablous on April 4 and 5, 2007. Closed-in school kids in Palestine will be “shown around in Holland” by Dutch school kids, a first connection (with real time audio and video, through the internet) which will be an unforgettable experience for both sides. Software was co-developed in Ramallah and Amsterdam. The next workshop will be in Ramallah, May 4,5,and 6, 2007. You can subscribe from the first of January on, for the next workshop. Participants will be selected. If you score above average in this test: CREAX Creativity Self-Assessment , that is a good indication you might fit in.

How we work: The atmosphere in our workshop is informal, we work for three intensive days in relatively small groups. From the 2006 workshop three campaigning-ideas were finally presented to Dutch NGO’s for initial funding. Successfully. What can you add to these ideas? How can these projects be run from Palestine? And by whom? Please come along, also to test your own ideas, and pick up new ones. Also see the reviews of the workshop, by our participants.

What are your day-to-day responsibilities?

I first came across PDCF in one of their creative workshops, out of that we decided to work together to create a project that helps connecting Palestinian children with their dutch counter parts. My idea was to create an augmented reality game.

Details about the game:
As we know, most Palestinian youth cannot (or can hardly) travel in their own shattered country. Let alone travel abroad. But in the near future, Palestinian youth will be able to ‘visit’ the world. They will be shown around by their counterparts around the globe.

Thanks to modern technology, a youth, equipped with a camera and GPS system, are going to show Palestinian children all the interesting places and towns – in real time, through the internet.

A fantastic opportunity for Palestinian youth to see, through their own eyes and the eyes of their friends around the world, what the world out side the occupied territories looks like.

Main qualities of the plan:
The most important thing about the plan is: the approach is entirely positive! This is a key element, considering the fact that people in the West are not susceptible to negative messages anymore. What’s more, the idea implicitly touches upon the underlying drama – at a certain point these youth will ask themselves and their Palestinian friends why they are not able to leave their country, or to go about their own country freely. That’s when the message really comes across…

Another quality is the fact that the idea is workable, applicable and scalable. It could be applied on a very small scale first, involving a limited group of youngsters. This means a pilot project is highly feasible.

How it will work technically – some more details:
Of course we will need a website. On the outside also webcam-like camera’s are needed as well as GPS-devices and microphones/earphones.

As soon as a Palestinian youth logs onto the website, he or she will see a few dots on the map of world. This is where youth carrying a camera are located on that particular moment.

By clicking on one of the dots, a Palestinian youth – let’s say Khalid – will connect himself to the camera carried by – let’s say – Sophie. Thus Khalid will be able to watch live footage, filmed by Sophie.

During allocated time slots, Khalid can personally ask Sophie to show him the canals and canal houses in Amsterdam. But instead of sending Sophie somewhere, Khalid could also say yes to where-to-go suggestions from Sophie.

The website of course also enables every Palestinian youth to assign for a tour or a chat with one of the youths currently carrying a camera – somewhere around the world.

Most notable milestones

Last April we had a trial of the pilot. Unfortunately I was unable to attend, but from Australia I sat there watching the Palestinian kids communicating with their Dutch counter parts. It all worked, and now we are looking into getting funding to do the full project, all around Holland and perhaps all around the world.

What’s the niche?

I’m a new media artist, I want to apply new media to highlight the plight of a people, my people – the Palestinians.

I don’t see why we can’t create a positive experience and at the same time embed messages that will help highlight issues around the globe, and I hope make this world a better place.

What’s the biggest challenge?

Reaching PLUs (People Like Us). There is lots of PLUs… but to make them work as a unit.

What’s in store for the future?

Lots of work. lots of laughter… and lots of tears. In one word inspiration.

Best way to keep a competitive edge

Set high goals, work hard, and most important always be positive and flexable

Guiding principle in life

Make ritual of life not a habit

Yardstick of success

When you know that you can make a change that will be remembered long after we’re gone.

Goal yet to be achieved

Make the world a better place.

Best practical advice

Keep it simple. This applies to anything you do in life

Supportive words from a family member or friend on your venture

My little sister telling me that she looked up to me.


I am always looking for new mentors because there is so much to learn. Hm. I have to say my father because he always wanted us to look outside our daily life into a better future. He wanted to make the world a better place, and so do I.

What motivated you to get started?

My restless soul

Like best about what you do?

That it’s not about the $$.

Like least about what you do?

That it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

What have you learned from your involvement with PDCF?

That a small number of people can make a huge difference.

At age 10, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An astronaut.

What was your first job?

Software Engineer

Biggest pastime outside of work


Person most interested in meeting?

Fidel Castro, he is my hero.

Leader in business, art, advertising or non-profit most interested in meeting?

Richard Branson, because I like his style and I think he should do more non-profit related things.

Three interesting facts about yourself

  1. I’m a closet writer, have few stories not for publication.
  2. Born in Libya
  3. I have a 30-year plan, and plan change my career every five years.

Three characteristics that describe you

  1. Shy
  2. Smiley
  3. Social

Three greatest passions

  1. Travel
  2. Soccer
  3. Writing

Favorite books

The Profit
Essential Rumi
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Favorite causes

Save the environment
Educate Palestinian Children
Revive Street Art around the world

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Just that “True greatness is expressed through simplicity.”

Who would you like to be contacted by?

Al Gore.


Interview by Nadia Abou-Karr
Introduction by Preeti Aron
Edited by Valerie Enriquez

Article published on Sep 16th, 2007 | Comment | Trackback | Categories »

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