We are happy to update you on the activities of the School for Peace over the past months. Harb Amara, head of the Child & Family Guidance Center and Center for Prevention of Domestic Violence in Nazareth has recently joined the staff of the School for Peace. He has been an important addition to the staff and together we are intensively promoting new courses at universities and colleges throughout the country. In the near future we will renew our graduates forum in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Nazareth which we began in September. We once again thank you for your continued interest and support for the School for Peace and look forward to keeping you up-to-date on our progress.
Dr Nava Sonnenschein
Director of the School for Peace
In January we concluded a year long course for Israeli and Palestinian (from Palestine) high school teachers, training them to teach the literature of the ‘other’ to their students. Twenty teachers participated in the course which we carried out in cooperation with our Palestinian partner, Tawasul. The course is based on an anthology developed and published by the School for Peace, Two People Write from Right to Left. The course will allow us to have impact on thousands of Jewish and Palestinian children in Israel and Palestine, helping to humanize the ‘other’ and opening dialogue on Jewish Arab relations in the classroom.
With the success of the first course for literature teachers, we began a second one for teachers this January which includes 60 Palestinian and Jewish teachers. The course is being taught in groups of 20. Each course will be taught over 7 intensive full days and the first group has already completed the course which we ran in collaboration with Tawasul. The next group will begin in May and will be for Palestinian and Jewish teachers from Israel.
On January 30th we began a course for 30 Arab and Jewish city planners, engineers and architects. We are running the course in cooperation with the Arab Center for Alternative Planning. It is a year long course, meeting monthly, and combines dialogue, learning about issues of planning and the Jewish Arab conflict, educational field trips, and developing and implementing projects. The course began with an intensive 3-day dialogue meeting and since then there have been monthly meeting, one at WASNS with Professor Oren Yiftachel and a second at the Arab Center for Alternative Planning in Elaboon with a lecture by Knesset Member, Dr. Hanna Swaid.
Community Leaders from Mixed Cities
In February we opened a course for 31 community leaders from Ramle/Ramla, Lydda, Beer Sheba and the South, Acre, Haifa, Jaffa and Nazareth. We began with a weekend dialogue seminar at Wahat al Salam-Neve Shalom, and since then there have been two additional meetings which have included lectures and discussions. Participants have also begun discussing planning projects that they will carry out as part of the course.
In March, we began a course for training facilitators to work with groups in conflict. It includes 19 Jews and Arbs from Israel and two ‘second generation’ members of WASNS: Nadine Nashef, and Tali Sonnenschein. Other participants include professionals from non-profits such as the principal of WASNS Primary School; the assistant principal and a teacher from the Hand in Hand School in Jerusalem; the director and two senior managers of the Appleseeds Academy program (which advances technological education for Jewish and Arab youth); an employee of Shatil; and others. The course is being led by Leron Tal and Maya Rabia.
In January, we completed two semester-long courses, one at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev and one at Tel Aviv University. These are 3-credit courses and each included 20 participants. This year three ‘second generation’ members of Wahat al Salam-Neve Shalom who are studying at Ben Gurion University took part in the course. Hilal Rizek, Mohammad Najjar, and Moussa Karayanni.
We began on April 19 a course for 30 Jewish and Arab students from the Azrieli College of Engineering, Jerusalem. This is the first time that we are working with the College and the course will be carried out in two groups with four meeting of three hours each and an intensive day long seminar at WASNS.
Van Leer Conference: On January 26 we were invited to present at a conference at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, which focused on advancing higher education in the Arab community. We presented on the panel that was titled “Pluralism in Higher Education”. As a result of this conference the Open University and Azrieli College turned to us to conduct courses for their students.
On April 12 we held a seminar for 50 Belgian youth that are studying the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The group was organized by Simon Susskind, who was a Member of the Belgian and European Parliaments.
The Strategic Planning Forum to End the Occupation, organized by the SFP and WASNS met with Muhammad al-Madani, head of the Palestinian Committee for Interaction with Israeli Peace Movements, in Ramallah. The purpose was to advance cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian peace groups. Forum members also met with Mazen Ganiem, head of the Council of Arab Towns and Villages in Israel to discuss ways of cooperation.
Before the national elections, on March 29th, the forum met at WASNS to begin planning and organizing for the day after the elections. Those active in the forum include: Anwar Dawood, Eyas Shbeta, Nachi Alon, Galia Golan, Moti Raz, Dov Hanin, Yael Ronen, Yifat Solel, Nedal Otman, Nava Sonnenschein, Uri Avnery, Adi Lustigman, Yuval Admoni, Sagi Frish and many others.