Jewish Israeli youth, with
Palestinian peers in Israel and in Gaza, are listening and talking in new ways
-- discovering what educator Ms. Gene Knudsen Hoffman first taught us:
More about the power of Story is at http://traubman.igc.org/story.htm and in Hoffman's book, COMPASSIONATE LISTENING, described at:
Are you looking for new kinds of
heroes in the Middle East?
Ms. Gal Springman ( Language_Connections@hotmail.com ) in Tel Aviv, teams with Ms. Samira Shaaban-Allison ( firstname.lastname@example.org ), founder in 1994 of the Palestinian Ibrahimi Language Center in Gaza.
They believe that multi-media language and quality communication can bridge the present wide gulfs between diverse peoples and change the direction of history.
See the essence of their work on the Web site of Language Connections:
First, Samira and Gal, with their colleagues, are helping their students learn English. Experience is increasingly revealing that using English is often better than making one learn the other's language. At the same time, it is respected that there are moments when we best express strongly held thoughts and emotions in our own tongue.
The Jewish and Palestinian youth -- separately at first -- are taught how to tell and listen to their own stories respectfully.
Then they are provided with cameras, and taught photography skills and how to upload their personal-experience self-narratives onto the Web in words and pictures, for the "others" to see and appreciate across distances.
They call it "SNOWblog" -- Self Narratives on the Web.
Out of respect for the youth, their shared blogs are in a "gated community," but with its front yard very open to you at:
For the next step, they bring the Palestinian and Jewish students together face to face, while including their whole families.
As you might expect, initial experiences within Israel reveal full participation and great enthusiasm among all the Jewish and Palestinian youth and families in this patient, creative process that works in real life.
Soon will be included (1) face-to-face meeting with the Gazans once the border is more open, and (2) inclusion of participants from Hebron and East Jerusalem who are now signed up to participate once needed funding is discovered.
The principles for this
successful Dialogue "on the ground" is described in their abstract,
on the Web at:
English Language Teaching and Life-Story Narrative Workshops as a Contributing Educational Environment in Intercultural Education and Peace Education, for Youth Belonging to Communities in Violent Conflict
Gal Springman, Language Connections Organization, Israel
Samira Shaaban-Allison, Ibrahimi Language Center-Gaza, Gaza
Judy Cohen, Israel
Nasrin Altouri, Kfar Kassem, Israel
Elana Cheshin, Beit Berl College, Israel
We conclude with a 1997 observation of Samira in Gaza, which resides on the Web at http://traubman.igc.org/wisdom.htm :
many years of my career as a Hebrew teacher for Palestinians in Gaza, and
as an Arabic teacher for the Jews and foreigners at Ulpan Akiva in Israel,
I have heard the same kinds of questions and comments expressed by both sides,
showing how ignorant we are about one another. We know nothing about each other,
in spite of being the children of sister Semitic languages and having
the same cultural roots."
Samira Shaa'ban Srur Fadil
Director, Palestinian Abraham Language School
We hope this encourages you and gives you further ideas for your own initiatives in the needed public peace process.