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Update from the School for Peace

Sunday 7 February 2010, by Veronica Sartore

El Ein Course 2008-2009

This program is a product of the cooperation between the Gender department at BGU (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev) and the SFP at Wahat al Salam/ Neve Shalom. It is the third year that the SFP is cooperating with BGU.

Facilitators: Ma’ayan Hillel, Rina Al Ukbi
Educational advisors: Wafaa Zriek Srour and Michal Zak of the SFP 

The goals of the program are to focus on the world of women, and to empower the participants in the different circles of life. A special aim is to deepen the dialogue between Jewish and Palestinian women. The partecipants were eight Arab women from Tel A Sabba and ten Jewish women from Beer Sheva (all Mizrachiot: of North African origins).

There were 14 study- days planned; the program took place at the university once a week for 14 weeks. On most of the days there was a lecture followed by a discussion. All the lectures were given by experts in the field, and each lecturer gave her lecture in her mother language. The lectures were translated by the staff into either Arabic or Hebrew. We think the dual-language format is not only necessary, but it is also an important process for both Jews and Palestinians. Most of the discussions were held in separate, national forums, each with a facilitator from the same nationality as the group. The discussions on Jewish-Palestinian relations were held in bi-national forums. 

The themes concerned the Jewish-Palestinian conflict and women’s issues in its context, which were easier to deal with, the women tended to find thing in common, sometimes the Jews wanted to "learn" about the Arab society, as if they were anthropologists, and not partners of similar circumstances. Sometimes the Palestinian themselves thought that they are the only ones who had problems. The women were able to learn together under very hard circumstances, since the program took place during the attack on Gaza.

This time the staff of the program included, in addition to Dr. Dahan- Kalev, two facilitators from the south. In addition the Jewish facilitator was a Mizrachi woman and the Palestinian facilitator was a Bedouin woman. This composition of the staff proved to be crucial to the success of the program.
We have a lot of experience in working with groups on similar topics in different parts of the country and we can compare and say that the participants from the south bring up for discussion topics that are unique to them. They also suffer from being a marginalized group, from many aspects, one is the geographical aspect. Having a staff that includes facilitators from the south is an empowering experience, it enables the participants to be better understood, and better represented.

Facilitators Training Course 2009

Course trainers: Ahmad Hijazi (SFP Director) and Dr. Nava Sonnenschein (SFP). 

This year the participants were twenty one professionals, fourteen Jews and seven Palestinians of different identities and political and religious views, both women and men. They came from different disciplines and professions and shared the desire to gain knowledge from the SFP experience of working with groups in conflict and wanted to learn how to integrate this knowledge into their professional work. 

The course was conducted over four weekends. The participants took part in an experiential dialogue; where they themselves had an open dialogue between Arabs and Jews discussing various sensitive and emotive issues. In order for the participants to become effective facilitators they needed to go through the process of experiencing a dialogue as participants.

In each of the four weekends one unit was a uni-national meeting, used to reflect upon issues that arose from the bi-national dialogue. At the end of each weekend one session was devoted to Q&A from the participants to the trainers.

The second part of the course consisted of analysis of the first section by the participants; learning facilitation skills through peer facilitation and lectures by different experts in the field. Each participant prepared a personal analysis of the process they had experienced and presented it to the group; then they had an opportunity to prepare a session and facilitate a dialogue with their peer group. Participants facilitated in pairs, one Jew and one Arab for forty five minutes. After each session the trainers and the other facilitators in training would give feedback lasting approximately forty five minutes.

The last part of the course was dedicated to observing a three day intensive youth encounter facilitated by two senior facilitators of SFP staff. The students came from a high school in Nazareth (Arab) and from Hakfar Hayarok, a high school in Ramat Hasharon (Jewish). The observation took place via one way glass and was guided by the course trainers. Through this observation trainees were able to learn about the SFP youth encounters model and also to learn from seeing two senior facilitators in action. During and after each session the trainees discussed what they saw with the trainers to try to understand the group dynamics and the facilitator’s involvement.

Palestinian – Palestinian Students encounter, Nablus 2-3/10/09

The project was held in cooperation between the School for Peace (SFP) - WASNS, and Future Generation Hands Association (FGHA) - Nablus.

10 Palestinian students of Israeli citizenship met 10 Palestinian students from the West Bank. The activity took place at the center of FGHA in Rafedia – Nablus.

The first day the dialogue concerned the future vision of the area. Among other things the participants discussed what would be best for the Palestinian population, whether a religious Islamic, a National Democratic state, or one secular state for Jews and Palestinians. Another meaningful discussion took place between religious and non religious participants. A third discussion developed around army service in Israel, and the Palestinians from the West Bank asked many questions about army service for Palestinians citizens of Israel. 
After the discussion the partecipants had a social evening at a local restaurant and café.

The second day of the encounter opened with a lecture about the social and political status and life of the Palestinian minority in Israel. The lecturer was Muhammad Zeidan, Director of the Arab Association for Human Rights. After the lecture a discussion about the subject in details took place, as the students from the West Bank did not have much information about the subject and were very interested to know more.

Then all participants went to a field trip in the old city of Nablus where they visited among other things a traditional factory of olive oil Soup and a two century old Turkish Hamam.

"Negotiating our future"

A joint project of the SFP and The Center for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation (CCRR)

The direct participants included 30 Israelis (17 men and 13 women) and 30 Palestinians (15 women and 15 men). The activities took place in the Palestinian Territories, in Israel, Turkey and Jordan.

This project started in January 2007 and ended in September 2009. There were three rounds of negotiations prepared by uni-national consultations. A team of researchers, together with the project coordinators from both the Israelis and the Palestinian side, mointored the project through all its phases.

A detailed report from the “Negotiating our Future” program in PDF format can be found here: http://nswas.org/IMG/pdf/Negotiating_our_future.pdf

titre documents joints

  • Negotiating our future (PDF - 54.6 kb)

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