Ultimate Peace (UP) is a groundbreaking leadership development program, annually uniting 400 Arab and Jewish youth in the Middle East. Playing the self-officiated sport of Ultimate Frisbee, teens compete, learn to resolve differences, build trust, and become friends across cultural divides. While COVID-19 has curtailed in-person activities, Leader in Training Program graduates are charging forward in their young adult lives, enacting the values of Ultimate Peace in the most profound ways.
Division and mistrust continue to grow between Jews and Arabs/Palestinians who reside in Israel. With few chances for youth from these disconnected cultural groups to interact in a meaningful or positive way, the endemic and unhealthy cycle of social isolation escalates. Avoidance, fear, and prejudice prevail. Given the scarcity of efforts by educational and social systems to bring these youth together, hope dwindles for greater understanding and unity between future generations.
When youth from disparate Middle East cultures enter the inclusive and safe community of UP, they quickly shed fears, and intuitively, lean into connecting. Young people reach out with curiosity and compassion, becoming fast teammates and friends. Negative narratives about one another are debunked. For 10 years, thousands of youth in the UP Program have learned to live in peace. Regardless of what governments do or don't do, they know peace between people is possible. That is our mission.
Graduates of our Leader in Training (LIT) program are enacting UP values in powerful ways. Moving into professional and leadership roles, they connect what they learned as youth with their actions and goals as young adults. UP envisions thousands of graduates in the region living the 5 values of UP (mutual respect, integrity, nonviolence, friendship, fun) into the future. Our plans to work with West Bank youth again deepen potential impact. The time for bolstering the next generation is now.
Zeinat - UP Grad: M.D.,Ph.D student at Technion
Asmaa: UP Grad: M.D. Student, UP Board Member