Welcome to the latest update report from Encompass. Firstly, thank you so much again for your support for our work.
The November 2012 Journey of Understanding was particularly challenging. At a time when tensions were running high in the Middle East, the programme managed to take the strain, because it places emphasis on people.
It absorbed the tensions emerging from violence between Gaza and Israel, through fostering the values of respect and acceptance. There was greater revelation and a freshly found global perspective on conflict, identity and community.
The group was made up of 25 young adults between the ages of 17 and 27, with nine coming from the UK and four each from Indonesia, Israel, Occupied Palestine and the USA.
Participants from the UK came from our burgeoning partnerships with a number of diverse community based organisations.
Our strong partnership with the Active Change Foundation, a joint Afro-Caribbean and Pakistani youth centre in Walthamstow brought two Muslim young women on to the programme. For both Naseema and Zahra the Journey of Understanding was the first time for them to join a residential programme outside their community.
The American group drew together four participants from our partner Syracuse University, the Indonesians were all students from a diverse range of ethnic backgrounds in Malang, the Palestinians from the West Bank town of Tulkarem and the Israeli's from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
The activities took place at our new venue, Plas Gwynant in Snowdonia National Park. The centre didn't disappoint with activities including gorge walking, abseiling, rock climbing, kayaking, exploring an old slate mine and climbing Mount Snowdon.
A team ethic was fostered across conflict, culture and religion. The atmosphere enabled the group to build mutual trust.
As the week went on discussions concerned identity, stereotyping and conflict, as well as confronting social and political issues.
"The Journey of Understanding made me question my entire thought process and how I've been making false assumptions my whole life." Aaron (USA)
"This programme developed my ability to be open-minded and accepting of other's points of view. I will take this learning and apply it in Encompass Indonesia's scheme of workshops in schools across the island of Malang." Ririn (Indonesia)
The final two days of the programme were spent training the participants in facilitation and allowing them to run workshop sessions of their own. Participants were taken through the key skills required to be an effective facilitator and the steps needed when planning discussion sessions.
On the return to London, 23 of the participants remained in the UK to take part in a series of Encompass events at community based organisations, as part of Youth Interfaith Week.
Combining the revelation of a freshly found global perspective on conflict, identity and community with newly developed skills in facilitation, the programme ended with 25 emerging community leaders saying an emotional goodbye to a very special family.
Thanks again for your support. Please look out for our next update!
The Encompass Team.
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