The internationally renowned School for Peace reaches lives far beyond the village
For over two decades, the School for Peace has been a dynamic center of inter-group experience and research. Over 45,000 youth and adults have participated in SFP workshops.
During the encounters, participants are encouraged to articulate their opinions and emotions about Arab-Jewish relations and to listen to those from the other side. While the encounters are not expected to solve differences, they do provide a rare opportunity for both sides to hear the other. Through dialogue, participants develop tools to help them cope with and understand their role in the conflict that surrounds them. Recent events in the region have only increased interest in such programs, and the extent to which the School for Peace can respond to these requests depends on the ability of supporters to make this possible.
Youth Encounters: From the beginning, the youth encounters have been the main focal point at the School for Peace. Workshops are held for Jewish and Arab high school seniors in both bi-national (Jews and Arabs together) and uni-national (Jews only or Arabs only) settings. Uni-national encounters are usually held with the intent to prepare participants to engage in bi-national workshops.
University Courses: Four Israeli universities (Ben Gurion, Haifa, Hebrew, or Tel Aviv) collaborate with the School for Peace by offering courses through a variety of departments with the cooperation of experienced facilitators from the School for Peace.
Women's Courses: Through Tel Aviv University School for Social Work, the School for Peace offers a course that invites Arab and Jewish women to lectures addressing topics in psychology, sociology, literature, and political science. A similar course is underway at Ben Gurion University. The School for Peace is also training women to become facilitators in their own communities.
Israel-Palestine Encounters: The School for Peace hosts encounters between citizens of Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Due to recent events, these encounters between Palestinians and Israelis are being held outside of the village in places like Cyprus.
Facilitator Training: Training others to use the School for Peace conflict management method is in demand from educators and community leaders. With approximately 170 hours of training provided by the School for Peace, trainees learn to facilitate groups in conflict. Many graduates now conduct conflict management programs in their home communities.
USAID Program: The “Advocate for Change” program specifically targets Israelis and Palestinians working in the areas of law, mental health, and civil planning. Identified as influential leaders and key decision makers, these individuals are engaged in a binational dialogue and training program that provides participants with significant opportunities to address the root causes of the conflict together and to build a foundation for reconciliation. “Advocates for Change: Israelis and Palestinians in Dialogue and Action” was made possible with the generous support of USAID and the American People in cooperation with the School for Peace at Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam and Hewar Center for Peace and Development.
Research: Self-study and research are evolving at the School for Peace. After conducting encounters for years, teachers and researchers of the school are endeavoring to examine their methodologies and results to track their progress more closely. This involves mainly qualitative research studies that require in-depth interviews with participants and facilitators. Additionally, the School for Peace is beginning to collect materials for a library with an emphasis on Arab-Jewish relations, conflict theory, and the role of education in society. Presently, a reading room is open to the public.
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