Kids4Peace: From Dialogue to Action

“We are aware of the multitude of dialogue programs that strive to create relationships between Palestinians and Israelis. We feel, however, that dialogue is not enough. We must take our work to the next level by shifting from dialogue to action. As the streets of Jerusalem continue to burn, the cries for change must be answered.” – Kids4Peace, From Dialogue to Action

After spending the past year at Harvard focusing my master's degree in International Education Policy on peace education, I am pleased to share that I have accepted a six-month term as Assistant Director of Kids4Peace International’s innovative new program, From Dialogue to Action.

For 14 years, Kids4Peace has been bringing together young Jewish-Israelis and Christian and Muslim Palestinians in interfaith dialogue across conflict lines to promote a just resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. (See “More about Kids4Peace below) But today, perhaps more than ever before, what we need most is not only strong communities dedicated to peace and justice, but strong leaders dedicated to peace and justice.

From Dialogue to Action

On the whole, dialogue programs such as Kids4Peace have always aimed to have an impact on what might be called Peace Writ Large, peace at the level of entire societies. But it is not easy. Plenty of research demonstrates how difficult it is to map such person-to-person work onto larger scale changes, as well as the enormous challenges that graduates of such programs face in becoming leaders for change. Such programs need to take very seriously these challenges and potential shortcomings by striving to bridge the remaining gaps between existing programming and larger-scale impact through bold, ground-breaking strategies.

This is exactly what Kids4Peace has done in creating its new program, From Dialogue to Action. Led by Director Dr. Yakir Englander,  From Dialogue to Action helps Jewish-Israeli and Christian and Muslim Palestinian young adults gain the knowledge, skills, and drive needed to become active leaders for peace and social justice. (See “More about From Dialogue to Action,” below)

From Dialogue to Action is an ambitious program navigating many uncharted waters in order to ensure that young Israelis and Palestinians truly do become active leaders for peace and social justice. It aims never to be simplistic or reductionist, and to bring in often-left out voices, even when their messages may be difficult to hear.

As Assistant Director, I will work to coordinate daily operations, begin a continuous process of evaluation to ensure effectiveness, and to help set the strategic vision and goals of this promising new program. But as such a new and pioneering program it is still in a ‘proof of concept’ phase, and funding is critical. With this GoFundMe page I am aiming to bridge the funding gap that exists in order to fill my position. Anything that you contribute, including sharing this page, would be truly appreciated as I work to bring a little bit more hope to such a difficult conflict.

More Information about From Dialogue to Action:
From Dialogue to Action will help move past simply talking about the conflict to actually taking on leadership roles in ending in through a unique three-part strategy:

The Dialogue to Action Course: While dialogue will still be an important part of the new program, it is notably action-based. The young adult participants (ages 23-30) will be supported in deepening their understanding of the conflict, learning skills that will help them take on real action for change, and gaining practice at taking their peace work into the streets in direct activism by walking together in areas where mixed groups do not exist, and by volunteering together. Our goal is to ensure that when they finish our program, they will no be left wondering, "but what I can I do about it." Instead, they will be empowered to take on active roles in ending the conflict.

Strategic Meetings: The From Dialogue to Action team is also conducting meetings “with influential leaders and players in the conflict such as military personnel, community organizers, politicians, religious leaders and activists,” ensuring that an extremely wide variety of voices are brought into conversations about peace and activism.

A Theology of Peace: Religion is often treated as an obstacle to peace, particularly in the case of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Kids4Peace has long seen the potential strength that religion can bring to peacebuilding, and From Dialogue to Action expands upon this by seeking to engage deeply religious leaders and communities in dialogue and debate based in traditional religious teachings to encourage the peace-promoting aspects of religion to regain greater salience.

More Information about Kids4Peace:

For 14 years, Kids4Peace  has been bringing together in dialogue young Jewish-Israelis and Palestinians, along with their families, in order to build an interfaith community that would “embody a culture of peace and empower a movement for change.” The kids of Kids4Peace (and their families!) demonstrate an astounding commitment to working across conflict lines to promote a just resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict- unlike most programs, Kids4Peace begins in the 6th grade, and continues the dialogues through the 12th grade.

About Me:

I am an Israeli-American who wants to spend every day fighting on behalf of a peaceful and just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. I believe that any such resolution will be difficult- that it will require great sacrifices from both nations and that we must accept that there is not “perfect” solution. However, I fundamentally believe that a solution based on equality and justice, that takes into account the needs and narratives of both nations, is truly possible as long as we continue to work for it.

I am a graduate of Tufts University, where I earned my B.A. in International Relations, focusing on the Middle East. I then spent three years working in program administration at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and in a few weeks’ time, I will be graduating from Harvard with an Ed.M. in International Education Policy. During my time at Harvard, I have focused on the question of how to improve the effectiveness of dialogue programming in helping young people be true leaders for change.

I am so excited to be working with Kids4Peace International on this extraordinary new program, From Dialogue to Action. I believe it will help bring in important voices into the process of working for peace, and help ensure that young people in this conflict become active leaders. I am so grateful to all of my incredible family and friends for their enormous support in helping me pursues my goals, and, I hope in making a difference.
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