The School for Peace at Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam: The School for Peace (SFP) was established in 1979 in the Jewish–Arab community of Neve Shalom/Wahat as-Salam, dedicated to a genuine and durable peace between Israelis and Palestinians, Jews and Arabs. The School for Peace works to develop the participants’ awareness of the nature of the conflict and of their role in it by exploring and constructing identity through interaction with the other and through broad in-depth examination of relations between the two groups. The SFP operates a youth department, a women’s department, and a department for adult programs and training courses.
Since its establishment, approximately 50,000 Jews and Palestinians have attended a wide variety of SFP programs. These programs reach high school students, teachers, university students, and members of professional networks such as journalists, lawyers, educators, mental health experts, doctors, urban planners and more. The SFP conducts courses jointly with Israeli universities and colleges. Its facilitator-training courses are highly acclaimed. SFP programs include both uni-national and binational forums. The SFP is a training center in the field of political education in Israel.
Many people who have attended SFP training courses are now leading figures in NGOs dealing with Jewish-Arab relations and with social change. The work of the SFP extends beyond the Middle East as well. Organizations based in areas of ethnic and racial tension in Europe (e.g. Northern Ireland, Cyprus and Kosovo) and the USA have turned to the SFP to learn about its methods and to share their own experience. After years of work in these diverse sectors, the SFP established a research center, which integrates aspects of practical and experiential work with theory and research. Based on qualitative research methodology, the center focuses on the study of power relations between groups and on the development of national and ethnic identities.
Visit the School for Peace’s website at http://nswas.org/
Tawasul: Tawasul is a non-profit, non-governmental organization, which was founded in 2002 by a group of grassroots Palestinian civil society activists. The aim of Tawasul is to create and develop democratic and non-violent communication between all levels of society, through a process starting at the individual level and then reaching all layers of the complex network in which every individual lives and thrives. Tawasul also aims to strengthen the Palestinian grassroots movements – and help them endorse the social and political aspirations of the Palestinian people.
Tawasul started its activities at the beginning of the current Intifada, “Uprising 2000”, by carrying out a contingency plan with other partner organizations. This plan had a very crucial role in meeting people’s basic needs through intensive coordination and collaboration with Palestinian NGOs such as PARC, Hydrology Group, PANORAMA, CARE and various public committees in different Palestinian governorates. Tawasul contributed to the establishment of the National Emergency Committee, also designed to meet the urgent needs of Palestinians during the Israeli invasion of the West Bank.
In recent years, Tawasul has organized capacity-building programs for hundreds of high school and university students, women, targeted professionals (policemen, union workers, activists…) and decision makers, in the West Bank and Gaza. Tawasul also conducted dozens of town hall meetings in different Palestinian cities and refugee camps. These town hall meetings are forums for open discussion during which people find the opportunity to express their concerns and formulate their questions. The meetings provide a healthy atmosphere for creative and constructive discussions, emphasizing the significant role that the public can play in participating in the decision-making process.
Visit Tawasul’s website at www.tawasul.ps
American Friends of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam: The American Friends of NSWAS was created in the 1980s to provide support to the Oasis of Peace and awareness to the American public. Its mission statement is as follows:
The American Friends of Neve Shalom/Wahat Al-Salam encourages, supports and publicizes the projects of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam, the “Oasis of Peace.” For more than thirty years, Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam has been dedicated to dialogue, cooperation and a genuine and durable peace between Arabs and Jews, Palestinians and Israelis.
Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel have chosen to live and work together as equals in this community to promote trust, understanding and mutual respect well beyond its own borders. At Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam, the bilingual, binational, multicultural Primary School, the School for Peace, the Pluralistic Spiritual Center, and other projects, serve the village and beyond reaching thousands of Jewish and Palestinian youth and adults.
The American Friends of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam is a not-for-profit organization with 501(c)(3) status under Internal Revenue Code.
Visit the American Friends of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam’s website at www.oasisofpeace.org
United States Agency for International Development: USAID is an independent federal government agency that receives overall foreign policy guidance from the Secretary of State. Its work supports long-term and equitable economic growth and advances U.S. foreign policy objectives by supporting:
- economic growth,
- agriculture and trade;
- global health;
- and,democracy, conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance.
USAID provides assistance in five regions of the world: Sub-Saharan Africa; Asia; Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe and Eurasia; and the Middle East.
USAID supports the current “Change Agents: Israeli and Palestinian Professionals in Dialogue and Action” program, as well as supported two other similar programs in the past few years.
Visit USAID’s website at www.usaid.gov