This summer, the School for Peace has embarked on a new program to engage high school teachers who for years have been escorting students to NSWAS for youth encounters, without the opportunity to participate in the dialogue themselves. The new program, "Two Peoples Read from Right to Left," gives teachers the tools to expose their students to the life of the "other" and to develop tolerence, acceptance and respect for the culture of other culture. The program uses the SFP’s 2012 anthology, Two Peoples Write from Right to Left, which was developed over nearly twenty years of encounter workshops hosted by the School for Peace, and includes carefully-selected poems and stories in Hebrew and Arabic, which epitomize the separate realities of the two peoples.
Teachers will participate in two three-day bicultural workshops. The first meeting will take the form of an encounter workshop, enabling each participant to explore the Arab Jewish conflict through the personal experiences of the participants in the group, and to examine the asymmetric power relations between Jews and Arabs, issues of racism, inferiority and superiority and more. The second three-day workshop will be devoted to literature, with teachers will modeling the teaching of stories and poems from the other nationality to the group. Participants from the other group will observe and then have an opportunity to give feedback and discuss the work further.
This new program aims to take the work of the Youth Encounters back into high school classrooms, influencing the teachers' daily work at school and the perceptions they pass on to their students. The participants will gain the skills and confidence to teach the literature of the "other" in their curricula, and make this a more integral part of their lessons. And next year, these teachers will also be able to escort their students to the youth encounter workshops in Neve Shalom/Wahat-al-Salam in a more meaningful way, giving them the support they need to keep working towards peace and understanding beyond their encounters.
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