In Washington, DC, the new International
Institute for Sustained Dialogue is now established to "promote
the process of sustained dialogue for transforming racial and ethnic conflicts
around the world." It is on the Web, at:
This is a significant step to fasten the human activity of Sustained Dialogue to North America and the world.
It's champion and president is Dr. Harold Saunders (HSaunders@kettering.org) , former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, and negotiator of the Camp David Accords.
Hal Saunders originally named "the public peace process," and has said that this is "the citizens' century."
In Canada, students from the
Muslim Students Association (MSA) and Jewish Students Association (JSA) of the
University of Ottawa and Carleton University took their first steps toward one
another in a shared dinner to break ethnic barriers.
One of the instigators was high school student, Israeli Michelle Divon (Dvivon@hotmail.com), daughter of the Israeli Ambassador to Canada. The story is at:
In the Middle East, a new study
verifies how face-to-face meetings positively change Palestinians and Jewish
views of one another.
The investigation surveyed 123 Jews and 129 Arabs between the ages of 14 and 18.
Prof. Gavriel Salomon (Salomon@casbs.stanford.edu or GSalomon@research.haifa.ac.il), head of the peace education research center, said the findings were particularly significant because some of the meetings between the Jewish and Arab teenagers had taken place shortly after the violent events of October 2000.
The research proves how mouth-to-ear, heart to heart meetings open minds and help "reduce tension" between young people, as they begin to see the humanity of the "other."
"A ray of hope. . ." is what the results meant to Dan Pattir, of the sponsoring Abraham Fund Initiatives, who dozens of community based educational and Dialogue projects are described at:
Published in the Jerusalem Post -- Friday, April 9, 2003
Study shows coexistence programs
help ease Jewish-Arab tensions
By DAVID RUDGE
Coexistence programs are an effective means of helping to reduce tension between Jews and Israeli Arabs, despite the violent events of the past two and a half years in the territories and inside the Green Line.
This is one of the main findings of a survey conducted by the University of Haifa's Center for Research on Peace Education among Jewish and Arab teenagers who participated in such programs and others who had not and acted as a control group.
The survey found that participants had more positive feelings towards the other community and to peaceful coexistence even a year after taking part in a program.
These teenagers expressed more trust in their counterparts than those in the control group, and were more prepared to make contact or become closer to one another.
Those who took part in coexistence programs also showed more willingness to learn the language of their Arab or Jewish counterparts, while expressing greater readiness to act as peace ambassadors and recommend joint meetings to their friends.
The survey, conducted by Dr. Michael Katz and Ms. Sweta Maslo from the university center, was commissioned by the Abraham Fund Initiatives, which sponsors many activities throughout the country aimed at creating better understanding between Jews and Arabs.
Prof. Gavriel Salomon, head of the peace education research center, said the findings were particularly significant because some of the meetings between the Jewish and Arab teenagers had taken place shortly after the violent events of October 2000.
Widespread rioting erupted in the Israeli Arab sector and 13 Arabs and a Jew were killed in clashes with police and border policemen. Dozens of people were injured in what were the worst scenes of violence since the first Land Day demonstrations in 1976 in which six Israeli Arabs were killed.
The researchers concluded that "participation in the coexistence program prevented negative feeling. In fact, the positive influences that the study measured testify to the power of these programs."
The study surveyed 123 Jews and 129 Arabs between the ages of 14 and 18, of whom 177 altogether had participated in coexistence programs. The remainder of the Jewish and Arab teenagers acted as the control group.
Only one of the issues examined went contrary to expectations. Jewish participants felt Arabs hated the Jewish people more than did those in the control group.
The researchers said the exposure of the Jewish teens to their Arab counterparts in the coexistence meetings had apparently made the former more aware than previously of the negative attitude of the Arabs towards Jews.
In contrast, Arab teens who took part in the programs felt Jews harbored less hatred towards them than did those in the control group, a result that had been expected.
The university researchers concluded that participation in coexistence programs had a positive impact on attitudes and perceptions, particularly among the Arab teens and slightly less so on the part of the Jews.
One explanation offered for this finding was that the Jewish teens started out with a more positive attitude towards their Arab contemporaries. Salomon said it was also possible that it was more important for the Arab minority to improve relations with Jews than the other way around.
The full results of the study were presented during a recent conference at the University of Haifa in conjunction with the Abraham Fund Initiatives on the question of the importance and influence of coexistence education.
Salomon maintained that participation in the kind of programs examined not only helped improve relations, but also served to prevent a deterioration, despite the atmosphere created by events of the past two and a half years.
Dan Pattir, executive director of the Abraham Fund Initiatives, said the findings were a "ray of hope in the darkness, giving a shot of encouragement to all participants and supporters of the Fund's activities."