More and more, we and others
invest time in the Jewish and Palestinian youth.
Among many of them -- not all -- is a new breed of young women and men capable of unprecedented compassion and creativity.
More free from inherited agendas, more courageous in reaching out to the "other."
At the end of this month --
January, 2005 -- in Kalamazoo, Michigan will gather a circle of 21 women and 9
men -- Palestinians, Jews, and supportive others, including six Muslims -- who
help convene and facilitate the 12 North American camps that support youth and
the Middle East public peace process.
You can read about it at http://traubman.igc.org/campconf.htm .
They seek to uncover new social intelligence by assimilating their collective experiences about how people in "intractable" conflicts transform themselves and their relationship for the benefit of all.
What they discover will be made available to everyone who is interested.
"Twelve camps" is not
exactly accurate, we discovered today -- continuing to learn that there are
more citizen initiatives than anyone knows about.
We only recently learned about the parent and model for today's camps -- Global Youth Village -- which has brought Jewish and Palestinian youth from the Holy Land to effective Virginia camps and outreach experiences in North America annually during 1982-1993, and periodically since then.
Read about Global Youth Village, part of Legacy International, on the Web at http://legacyintl.org .
And through Palestinian Shaafiya
Shillo, in Chicago, we learned today of one of the best-kept, most compelling
secrets yet of the grassroots public peace process.
"Hidden" in Glenview, Illinois is an extraordinary handful of Jews, Muslims, and Christians.
HANDS FOR PEACE, inspired by Seeds of Peace, is the exemplary camp first created there in 2003 by three women:
Visit their Web site at http://hands-of-peace.org/ and click on Media to see a:
HANDS OF PEACE is intended to
foster long-term coexistence between Jews and Palestinians in an interfaith
Teens from Israel and Palestinian territories come to Glenview/Northbrook for two weeks.
They live with local families, and are joined in daily, intensive camp activities by local Christian, Jewish, and Muslim youth.
Year-round follow-up "coexistence sessions" -- 4-5 times a year, often in Jerusalem -- support and sustain their communication and ongoing relationships.
In times of special need, sometimes these periodic follow-up meetings in the Middle East are called and self-facilitated by the Palestinian and Jewish youth themselves, even when skilled facilitators are not available.
With a few exceptions, the staff is all-volunteer, people-intensive and not money-intensive -- a true expression of community.
This is one of the most truly grassroots, reproducible model camps.
It could happen where you live.
Got the hint?