Youth Encounter Programme
Bringing together Jewish and Palestinian Israeli high-school youth for their first chance to encounter the ‘other side’. A unique dialogue method impacts on the youth’s understanding of the conflict, and experiences of the ‘other’, and inspires them to work together for peace and equality.
An academic year.
Oasis of Peace UK (British Friends of Neve Shalom/Wahat al Salam - NSWaS)
Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel do not have many opportunities to get to know each other as they attend different schools and live in different areas. As the two communities grow further apart, so too grow the fear and mistrust that perpetuate inequality and conflict. Jewish and Palestinian Israeli youth need a safe and egalitarian space in which to meet and discuss core issues of the conflict and its effects on each other’s lives.
This programme provides Jewish and Palestinian youth their first chance to meet each other in a unique way; small mixed groups are led by a Palestinian and a Jewish facilitator working together. During the programme, the youth get acquainted; discuss their cultures; and engage in a political dialogue. The youth run a simulated negotiation process concerning the future relations between Palestinians and Jews in Israel, and draft an agreement on principles governing a life based on equality.
Prepare Jewish and Palestinian Israeli high-school youth to meet each other.
Activities» Work with Jewish and Palestinian Israeli high-schools in order to enlist 30 students form each school.
» Run preparatory workshops for students in partnership with their teachers.
30 participants from each Jewish and Palestinian high-schools go on to attend the programme after taking part in preparatory workshops at their schools.
Give Palestinian and Jewish Israeli high-school youth the chance to meet and understand each other.
Activities» The first day of the programme is dedicated to getting acquainted and learning about each other’s cultures.
» Youth spend a three-day weekend together so they socialise during fun informal activities in the evenings alongside the daily workshop.
The youth all participate and express sympathetic understanding of each other's life experiences in both the workshops and a report they must complete at the end of the programme.
Give youth a chance to discuss politics and their experiences in a safe and egalitarian environment.
Activities» A unique inter-group dialogue workshop on politics led by both a Palestinian and a Jewish facilitator.
» Each inter-group workshop is followed by a session in which the Palestinian and Jewish youth reflect on the experience within their own group.
Full participation in political discussions and positive feedback from youth participants in a report they must complete at the end of the programme.
Develop the youth’s confidence and desire to work together in impacting positive social change.
Activities» Youth are given the tools to run their own simulated negotiations and, together, devise agreements for a society based on peace and equality.
Full participation in the simulated negotiations and completed agreements each group have drawn up.
This project will create a long-lasting impact on the youth who take part; developing a deep understanding of the ‘other’ and a new found confidence in the possibility of peace and equality. The workshop is followed up by a visit to each school by a programme co-ordinator in order to ascertain outcomes of this experience. For those students who show interest and leadership, a more advanced course is offered. This project has a great multiplier effect as the youth influence their communities.
In such a tense context there is always a risk that political circumstances affect the workshops, this is taken into account when scheduling workshops, and staff are experienced in dealing with these current issues as they arise in discussions. The preparatory workshops and simulated negotiations also give youth the tools and skills to share their experiences, and understanding of the ‘other’, with their own communities in a diplomatic way.
A full report of each programme’s development and follow-up will be sent to donors as a newsletter or e-newsletter. These will include quotes from the youth; excerpts from the written agreements and reports the youth write-up as part of their participation in the programme; and pictures.
Budget - Project Cost: £13,000Loading graph....
Amount Heading Description £6,500 Workshop participation Cost of travel, accommodation, and facilitation of 30 Palestinian Israeli high-school youth. £6,500 Workshop participation Cost of travel, accommodation, and facilitation of 30 Jewish Israeli high-school youth.
The main encounter programme takes place at the School for Peace (SFP) at Neve Shalom – Wahat al-Salam, the only community in Israel where Palestinian and Jewish citizens of Israel have chosen to live together in peace and equality. This community, together with the SFP’s vast experience in dialogue encounters, provides a safe and egalitarian environment. Preparatory workshops take place in high-schools across the country.
Jewish and Palestinian Israeli high-school youth from across Israel will be the first beneficiaries of this project. The second beneficiaries are the communities these youth then influence with their newly gained understanding and confidence in peace and equality.
We have supported the educational work of SFP for years. The SFP was founded in 1979 as the first educational institution in Israel to work towards impacting positive social change. 60,000 Jewish Israelis and Palestinians (from Israel and the West Bank) have participated in SFP’s world-renowned dialogue workshops, many have gone on to lead their own NGOs. Recent interviews with graduates show the life-changing role these workshops have; informing life and work choices years after the course.
Read more about the Charity running this project.
Dr Nava Sonnenschein - Director Of The School For Peace
Dr Sonnenschein is responsible for creating partnerships with high-schools; organising the programmes; and reporting on the programmes' development.