One girl's vision leads to

more Jewish-Palestinian camp programs

Saturday, 28 July 2007


January 1, 2007, TIME Magazine defined The Person of the Year.
     It's you.
     The front page was a mirror.
     You determine the future and are the one the the world has been waiting for.
     You control the information age -- deciding on your stories of choice, the future you choose to put into motion.

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     Beginning in 2002, three high school girls -- Muslim, Christian and Jew -- met in Ottawa, Canada.
     These daughters of diplomats engaged, communicated well, and transcended borders to find their shared humanity and dreams.


Three Faiths, One Dream of Peace

Feb 29 2003 -- The Ottawa Citizen


     One girl, 18-year-old Michelle Divon, had a dream of expanding relationship building that she wouldn't let go of.
     With tireless pursuit, her vision soon became PEACE CAMP CANADA --  

     It is part of an expanding family of independent North American camps for the Middle East public peace process.
     Now the Canadian experience has spread to Massachusetts, to help birth PEACE CAMP BOSTON.

     The camps' co-directors are Palestinian, Ibrahim Miari ( ) and Jewish Elan Divon ( ).
     To know them and their motives, consider the statement of organizing principle each has chosen:


Ibrahim Miari

You too must mingle my friends

since the earth and the sky are mingled

just for you and me.

        - Rumi (1207-1273)

Elan Divon

Peace may sound simple - one beautiful word but

it requires everything we have,

every quality, every strength, every dream, every high ideal.

-          Yehudi Menuhin (1916-1999)


     At this 2007 moment -- July 25th to August 9th -- PEACE CAMP CANADA is again convening with 10 Israeli, 10 Palestinian and Canadian youth delegates.
     Their camp experience includes intensive dialogue, the creative arts and leadership building.
     To spread this story around Earth, a film team from Harvard University is participating in this years camp
     They will produce a feature documentary about the campers and their transformative experiences.
     Their story on film will help change many more hearts and minds -- and human relationships.


"People become the stories they hear and the stories they tell."  - Elie Wiesel


     Pass on this story that matters.
     You are the Person of the Year.
    You're the one that matters in the 2000s -- The Citizens' Century.
     Engage people -- connect, communicate, change, create.
     Wherever you live, whoever you are.
                        - L&L

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Published in The Ottawa Citizen -- Friday 20 July 2007
Ashbury to host 3rd Peace Camp for 20 youths
10 Palestinians, 10 Israelis to spend 16 days
working toward better understanding
 by Tony Lofaro

     Michelle Divon, a former Ashbury College student, and daughter of former Israeli ambassador Haim Divon, began the camp while she was in Canada.
     The 20 youths arriving in Ottawa next week from the Middle East are coming here with a united goal: to better understand each other.
     It's that philosophy of understanding one's neighbour in that troubled part of the world that makes Peace Camp Canada such a success. It's the third year for the 16-day camp, which brings together 10 Israeli and 10 Palestinian youths in the collegial setting of Ashbury College in Rockcliffe Park.
     The idea for the camp came from Michelle Divon, a former Ashbury College student, and daughter of former Israeli ambassador Haim Divon. While at the college, she disagreed politically with fellow student Lana Ayoub, a Jordanian, but still considered her a friend. So, their political differences and shared stories about friends living in the Middle East made Peace Camp Canada a reality.
     "This became an example of what one person could do," said Tam Matthews, the headmaster at Ashbury.
     The youths, between 16 and 18 years old, will participate in daily sessions on the political conflict in the Middle East, workshops, drama presentations and recreational activities. They will tour the city and go to a barbecue.
     "This is a youth-to-youth program. It's a youth idea, it's for the young people and we've been very careful on the advisory board not to have the adults, the political or ambassadorial community overly involved, although they are supportive," said Mr. Matthews.
     Former Ottawa mayor Bob Chiarelli is the chairman and other board members include Moe Atallah, Senator Mac Harb, and retired businessman Len Potechin.
    Mr. Matthews said the youths are selected from dozens of applicants living in the Middle East. He said the program does not end when participants return home, because many keep in touch electronically and also attend a reunion.
     "People see the dream and the success of the camp and they see how it changes the lives of people. Our dream is that these people return home and there will be peace in the future," said Mr. Matthews.

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