Recently, there have been two youth encounter workshops. In addition, we conducted a uninational workshop for Jewish students. The School for Peace is gradually shifting its activities from the classic youth encounter model to longer and more serious activities. This is only partly due to a lack of available funding for this kind of activity: another factor is that in the current political atmosphere, in which young people express widespread pessimism, rightward swing, growing racism and lack of interest in the other side, it becomes harder to conduct a substantive short-term encounter according the classic format. The following two projects are examples of longer-term youth activities that we are now attempting to develop.
A Youth Environmental Leadership Project, funded by the United Nations Development Program, is continuing, with the most recent workshop taking place in May. The project engages six schools in Israel and the Palestinian authority.
A Human Rights Project for Youth, supported by a 15,000 Euro grant from the Dutch Friends of NSWAS to conduct a youth leadership project in human rights, will hopefully take place at the beginning of the 2012 – 2013 school year (we are currently making contact with schools). The plan is to work with a group of about 20 Jewish and Arab students who will lead the project in 2 – 4 high schools.
At the end of February and in early March, thanks to support from donors like you, the School for Peace will organize two new youth encounters for students from Nazareth and Givat Brener, and from Tel Aviv and Afola.
Each high school will send 30 participants, accompanied by two teachers (a man and a woman), so there will be 60 participants for each workshop. In preparation for the encounter, a senior facilitator from the School for Peace will meet students and their teachers at the school and introduce them to the workshop.
The youth encounter workshops are life-changing experiences for the young Jews and Palestinians who participate and they very often provide the youth with their first opportunity to meet the "other side."
We are so grateful for the help you provided to make these workshops happen and we'll make sure to keep you updated in the coming months!
Because of financial difficulties, the School for Peace reduced the number of its youth encounters to 3 or 4 over the school year. But it is currently conducting a program in Human Rights for Israeli and Palestinian youth, in partnership with the organization Care in Ramallah, West Bank.
This dialogue program includes human rights aspects and youth is trained to observe everyday situations from a human rights angle. Groups wrote reports and brought them to the relevant authorities. The idea was to train them to think critically about human rights and to take action.
There are two parallel groups, one in Israel and one in the West Bank. The two groups will soon meet and share their experiences.
Thank you for your support: it make the School for Peace's programs for youth possible!
Thank you! Thanks to you and other generous donors like you, the School for Peace has been able to organize five youth encounters this year. That means about 300 young Jews and Palestinians from all over Israel have been able to meet the "other" for the first time and to have meaningful dialogue. All have left with a changed vision of relations between Palestinians and Jews, many will continue to interact in the coming years. They are all building the foundations for a peaceful future between the two communities.
The School for Peace is now preparing for next school year, and with your support, is hoping to set up even more encounters starting this fall.
The School for Peace recently organized one youth encounter for 60 Palestinian and Jewish students from the Reali and Acre's Terra Sancta schools. As usual, the youth, meeting the "other side" often for the first time, met in Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam where they stayed for 4 days.
During that time they discussed issues that relate to the conflict in uni-national and binational settings, in small and larger groups. They also participated in informal activities together during which they could strengthen their relationships.
The School for Peace will now start preparing for next school year's encounters with various high schools in Israel, based on how much funding will be available. We are very grateful for the support you provide to the Youth Encounters: you help create a peaceful future for the Jewish and Palestinian youth!
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