Mohammed Isleem was born in Shijaeya, a poor neighborhood in Gaza. As a teenager working at a gas station in (Ramla) Lod, on “the Israeli side,” he first directly encountered “the other.” Later he became a middle school math teacher, and then a trainer of Hebrew teachers in Gaza. Starting in the late 1990’s, he pursued graduate studies in technology education. After being awarded a Master’s from Montclair State University and a Ph.D. from Ohio State University, in 2003, he became an assistant professor in the department of Technology Education in the College of Education at Al Aqsa University, Gaza Strip, Palestine. He has published on the implementation of technology education in Palestine, with a focus on the role of the teacher.
Throughout this time, Mohammed continued as an active member of his community, as a leader, and as an active peace builder between communities–in Gaza, with Palestinians from the West Bank and Jerusalem, with Israelis, and beyond. In 1995, he founded the Cultural Revival Society in Shijaeya; from 1998 until 2008, he was the Deputy Director. In 2014, in the aftermath of the devastation of his neighborhood from Israeli bombing, he established the Shijaeya Community Project, which works with children, youth, educators, and parents in the community, and is going strong.
In the 1990s, Mohammed became involved with Seeds of Peace as a volunteer and as a “Seed Parent.” From 2006 until 2018, he was the Director of Seeds of Peace Programs in Gaza; for much of this time, he was also the Deputy Director of Educator Programs. From 2018 to 2019, he worked as an advisor for Seeds of Peace Palestinian programs.
“There were turning points in my life that made me the man I am today,” says Mohammed. “I am proud to help the young generation to open their minds, to see the world, to have hope for the future. When I reflect on my life, I believe I see what kind of education the people of Palestine need.” He loves taking photographs and looking for “finds” in thrift stores.
You can reach out to Mohammad at