Started in July 2010 and run by the School for Peace and Palestinian partner Tawasul with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the “Creating Change Agents: Palestinian & Israeli Professionals in Dialogue and Action” program is designed to bring together Jews and Palestinians who are working in important target sectors: environmentalists, women journalists and up-and-coming politicians.
The goal of the “Change Agents” program is to promote and strengthen capacity of professionals as a tool to prepare the Israeli and Palestinian societies for sustainable peace and reconciliation. The program creates a cadre of 120 Israeli and Palestinian professionals dedicated to cooperation and community-based reconciliation; and provides tools and supporting expertise for them to design and implement cooperative projects leading to a constructive peace process.
The “Change Agents” program addresses many of the most difficult issues of the conflict: language, land, rights, security, racism, superiority, inferiority and privilege. Participants will gain a better understanding of the sources of conflict, and the ability to analyze more realistically factors that escalate conflict.
This is the third time the School for Peace is awarded USAID funding for this landmark program; starting this year, the program will focus more on equipping the participants with skills to develop and implement projects in their field and communities that can truly impact the society toward equality, understanding and cooperation between Jews and Palestinians, thus preparing the two societies for a fair and sustainable peace.
Participants repeatedly report that they have acquired a leadership role with respect to Arab-Jewish, Israeli-Palestinian issues at their places of employment. They raise challenging questions in an attempt to combat inequality or racism. They organize special trainings for their co-workers. In short, they are now functioning as agents of change in their societies.