Dialogue to Action
Generations of Jews and Palestinians from both sides of the Green Line, are given the tools to move from despair and distrust to dialogue into action, inspiring others and becoming peace multipliers
“For years there have been academies in the various countries where the art of war has been taught….we wanted to found a school for peace, for peace too is an art. It doesn’t appear spontaneously, it has to be learnt....” Founder Father Bruno Hussar
The School for Peace has created a world renowned unique approach to working with groups in conflict. Rather than focusing upon interpersonal relations between encounter participants, emphasis is placed upon how the two groups relate to one another.
The Jewish and Palestinian participants meet to explore national and ethnic identity. They examine their interactions in the encounter, which represent a microcosm of relations in the larger society. With the help of Jewish and Arab facilitators, participants come to understand how their group’s preconceived attitudes affect how they relate to “the other”. This results in participants changing their perceptions and helps them take responsibility and action towards change.
The method differs from others as it recognizes the asymmetry in power relationships. It puts the conflict “on the table”, making it clear that participants have come together to address, discuss and negotiate real issues that affect the two people. In later phases, groups work together to identify common concerns and implement joint projects with the goal of creating change towards a more equal and just society.
The SFP’s method is based on research, theory, evaluation and the development of best practices in the field of conflict resolution. The model has been studied by academics from Israel and abroad and hundreds of books and academic articles have been published about it. Staff from the SFP have trained and worked with groups in conflict all over the world including Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Kosovo, South Africa, Costa Rica and here in the United States.
Measures of Success and Impact
“There’s no such thing as a conflict that can’t be ended. They’re created and sustained by human beings, they can be ended by human beings." Senator George Mitchell
- Since 1979, more than 60,000+ Jews and Palestinians have taken part in workshops and courses conducted by the School for Peace.
- Over 1,000 facilitators trained at the SFP have become leaders in organizations that focus on Jewish-Arab issues, on peace and human rights work, or social change – both in Israel and Palestine.
- The School for Peace’s professional model in working with groups in conflict has become the leading method in the field in Israel and has been applied in conflicts around the world.
- Graduates of courses of the School for Peace state that the courses constituted a formative experience and have made work on the conflict central to their personal and professional lives.
- The School for Peace was the first peace organization in Israel to work with academic institutions and has developed ongoing courses in four leading universities and a number of colleges.
- The knowledge developed by the SFP with academics in Israel and around the world has contributed to the literature of conflict resolution and has advanced conflict resolution practice here and abroad.
- Palestinians have attended School for Peace programs during all political periods including those of extreme conflict. They express satisfaction with the equal status given to Jews and Palestinians in this work, with the methods used, and with the ability of SFP courses to promote change.
- Working with teachers, the SFP provides a specialized, award-winning, literary program to bring thousands of high school students in contact with the life and culture of ‘the other’ through each other’s literature, “Two peoples writing from Right to Left.”
- The Youth Encounters Workshop, the SFP’s first and ongoing program, has brought more than 30,000 Palestinian and Jewish high school students together-many for their very first encounter with ‘the other’- for 3 days of facilitated, stereotype-breaking meetings and activities.
- Through the flagship ‘change agents’ program, Jewish and Palestinian professionals work together to address issues of inequality in their fields and produce tangible impacts in Palestinian and Jewish communities.
- In the seven mixed cities in Israel, the SFP works with community leaders and activists to help divided neighborhoods address needs and strengthen relationships to build a shared community.
Graduate and undergraduate SFP courses are available at the leading universities in Israel. These courses combine a framework of theoretical study with an in-depth facilitated conflict group encounter process.