The flagship program of the SFP is its Change Agentscourses. Built for a variety of professional fields, these multi-part courses aim to give participants tools with which to change the socio-political reality. The Human Rights Lawyers Change Agents course concluded after 11 meetings featuring binational and uni-national dialogue, lectures on theory and practice, and two study tours, leaving the six Palestinian and nine Jewish participants with a renewed sense of purpose and practical tools to create change.
The SFP also plans to expand the availability of its University courses, building on 30 years of success at Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Ben Gurion Universities, and Rupin College. The SFP has well-developed courses that examine the Jewish/ Israeli -Arab/ Palestinian conflict through the lenses of behavioral science, psychology, nursing, architecture, political science, and more. The SFP’s model recognizes that working towards peace requires the expertise and will of dedicated people across professions.
The Binational Educators’ Forum at the School for Peace took a hard look at the separate Jewish and Arab educational systems in Israel and investigated how this split system has contributed to the current conflict in the mixed cities, to prejudices and preconceived notions about the opposite group. This vital event included the Primary School teachers alongside educators from across the country and was an outgrowth of both the HOTAM teacher training and the Mixed Cities course offered by the SFP. This is precisely the kind of active change-making through collaborative work that the SFP wants to further encourage by strengthening alumni networks.
Rebuilding the physical facilities of the SFP continues, and the completion of the new buildings will do more than just provide ample space for the encounter programs and training for which the SFP is world-renowned. The new facilities will also create a physical center for the established and growing alumni networks which allow graduates of the SFP to put what they’ve learned into practice in their local communities and cities. The SFP recently put out a call for alumni grant proposals to improve Jewish-Arab relations and will mentor and support selected projects. Your support allows the SFP to continue to offer expanded training, build alumni networks, and make a concrete change that improves lives far beyond the Village’s borders.
For the first time, the School for Peace ran a change agents program for performing artists. We see the performing arts as an avenue to reach out to a larger diverse population through political theater and cinema. The graduates of the program organized an arts festival with video art, theater, and plastic arts, in the unrecognized village of Al-Araqib, which was attended by hundreds of participants.
As a result of the SFP program for leaders in mixed cities, with our support a group of Jewish and Palestinian educators have come together to begin developing a Bi-National Educators Forum. The forum has begun identifying specific issues in the Jewish and Arab educational system and how this has led to increased conflict between the two groups. The forum will create a platform for sharing bi-national issues of teachers, researchers, and teaching staff from a variety of backgrounds and professions. The goal is to begin developing content that will contribute to educator's ability to help their students understand the other. https://sfpeace.org/al-araqib/
Even through the closures necessitated by the pandemic and the loss of the SFP’s main gathering space, the work of pursuing peace and justice has not slowed, not by a long shot. Ongoing meetings of the Change Agents for Theater and Cinema course, Environmental Justice Course, Change Agents Training Course for Lawyers, and Arab-Jewish Forum for Planners have all taken place in the last six months, among many others. These ongoing programs train and encourage a variety of professionals to create the sort of cross-cultural collaborations which will build sustainable peace.
This work is further sustained by the naming of Dr. Roi Silberberg as the director of the School for Peace in 2020. With his unique perspective as an alum of the program, his leadership is already helping to open new avenues of collaboration and education. Looking forward to the rest of 2021, with the support of the American Friends, the School for Peace will continue to host the Change Agents courses while also significantly expanding both Graduate programs across programs and collaborations with institutions in the village. The SFP has adjusted its curriculum for the new challenges of climate-change stressors, residual pandemic anxieties and further political polarization. It continues facilitator-training for groups in youth and cross-cultural encounters, provides courses at four universities, and remains at the forefront of this moment and movement toward peace, equity, and justice.
As you may already know, the School for Peace suffered an arson attack in September of 2020, largely destroying the SFP library and main classroom. That no one was hurt is our chief gratitude - but the outpouring of support from all over the world has also underlined the vital importance of our programming. The process of rebuilding has been taken as an opportunity to rebuild our facilities to further enhance programs with newly spacious, versatile facilities. Having already raised [amount], we have only to raise another [amount] to ensure completion of the project.
But even though a pandemic and the loss of our main gathering space, the work of pursuing peace and justice has not slowed, not by a long shot. Ongoing meetings of the Change Agents for Theater and Cinema course, Environmental Justice Course, Change Agents Training Course for Lawyers, and Arab-Jewish Forum for Planners have all taken place in the last six months. These ongoing programs train and encourage a variety of professionals to create the sort of cross-cultural collaborations which will build sustainable peace.
This work is further sustained by the naming of Dr. Roi Silberberg as the director of the School for Peace. With his unique perspective as an alum of the program, his leadership is already helping to open new avenues of collaboration and education. Looking forward to the rest of 2021, with the support of our friends, the School for Peace will continue to host the Change Agents courses while also significantly expanding both Graduate programs and collaborations with institutions in the village. While updating the School for Peace curriculum, we will also train facilitation groups for youth and adult cross-cultural encounters and offer courses at four Israel universities. In all these ways, we work to stay at the forefront of this moment and this movement.
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