Ultimate Peace (UP) is a ground-breaking program, annually uniting 600 Arab, Jewish and Palestinian teens in Israel and the West Bank. The character-building sport of Ultimate Frisbee is our tool. With no referees, teens learn dispute resolution, building deep friendships and trust. The 3-year "Leader in Training" Project prepares select teens for bold action. Today, Jewish graduates combat racism in the Israeli army; Muslim graduates enter medical school as peace activists. The future? Bright!
There is increasing stratification, tension and mistrust between and among Israeli Jews, Palestinians, and Arab Israelis. Youth from these cultural groups rarely have the chance to interact in a meaningful or positive way. This perpetuates an unhealthy cycle of social isolation, in which prejudice, fear, and division are prevalent. Given the vast cultural/religious/social differences, sustainable peace is dependent on investing heavily in the leadership and unity of the next generation.
The continuity of the 3-year social, educational, athletic program enables deep friendships to form and thrive. LITs socialize outside of UP activities. They visit one other's homes and communities. They coach together. They are best friends and trust each other. They have learned the critical skills of conflict resolution through Ultimate. The sport has no referees, so players must learn to listen, empathize, and solve disputes. This builds capacity for taking on real change as young adults.
Graduates of the LIT program are currently showing us how long-term project impact will manifest. Many of the 40 graduates are already assuming leadership roles as students in universities, officers in the military, and managers in the workforce. Some have become staff leaders in Ultimate Peace. Current LIT's are starting UP programs in their own communities. This leadership program is designed to catalyze a multiplier effect that will reach many thousands of adults and youth in the region.