On September 29, the School for Peace conducted its annual event for the opening of activities for the 2016-2017 scholastic year. Attending were about seventy SFP graduates, participants in ongoing courses and members of Wahat al-Salam – Neve Shalom.
School for Peace director Nava Sonnenschein, together with program coordinators Harb Amara and Roi Silberberg, presented the current work of the School for Peace and plans for the future. These include expansion of change agent training programs, further development of university courses and efforts to reach out and expose our work to new target groups. Presented too were plans to nurture activism by SFP change agents through formation of groups associated with their professional fields.
As part of our ongoing strategy to influence decision makers, this year we opened three courses for Israeli and Palestinian up-and-coming politicians – a program that is supported by the European Union.
After the introductory session, we conducted an engaging panel discussion with the participation of MK Ayman Odeh (Head of the Joint Arab List) faction and former Knesset speaker Mr. Avraham Burg. They both spoke on the theme of building a more just, equitable and humane society.
Burg called for establishing a true Left joint party composed of an equal number of Arabs and Jews / men and women who will lead efforts both for peace and for economic equality.
Odeh spoke of the magic of living in a place characterized by contrasts and differing colors, where there is equal room for the other and where all are committed to this challenge. He remarked that such a paradigm could be a basis for a future shared existence in the region.
Ms. Samah Salaime, who chairs the WAS-NS educational institutions, congratulated the participants and mentioned the wide range of educational and cultural activities being conducted by the various educational institutions of the village.
The proceedings ended with a festive meal, providing an opportunity to round out the evening with mingling and informal conversation.
A video recording of the event was made and appears below (in Hebrew, on Israel Social TV Youtube channel):
Left to right: Roi Silberberg, Nava Sonnenschein, Ayman Odeh, Harb Amara, Avram Burg