Hearing everyone's Story:

Step #1 of personal change and ending wars

14 July 2012


"Story is the shortest distance between people."

            ~ Pat Speight  (Irish storyteller)

"During the 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  (1997, Palestinian Abraham Language School, Rimal, Gaza)

"There are two stories here and there is a quality of transcendence - seeing

beyond the 'Jewish Narrative' or the 'Palestinian Narrative' - to a perspective that can

humanize both sides and hear the 'other' story. A transcender after all has

abandoned the exclusive quality of his or her narrative of origin."

            ~ Rabbi Andrea Cohen-Kiener  (1999, CT USA)

An Exemplary Middle East
Adult Relationship
     "Anatomy of a Peace-Building Relationship: Dan Bar-On and Sami Adwan as PRIME Leaders" is a new, definitive article about peace-building (bottom-up) in perspective with peace-making (top-down).
     These 18 instructive pages of personal tools, inspiration, social science, and human experience outline how to build relationships to begin ending wars.



The Birth of a Peace-Building Relationship

     Personal Trajectories, Professional Choices

     Working Together.

Peace Leaders Who Are More Alike Than Different

From Enemies to Friends

Shared History Project -- Learning Each Others Historical Narrative

From Constraints to Opportunities


Anatomy of a Peace-Building Relationship (pages 22-39)

by Professor Saliba Sarsar in

International Leadership Journal  (Volume 4, Issue 2, Summer 2012)



     SYNOPSIS: The Quaker peace activist Gene Knudsen Hoffman once stated, an enemy is one whose story we have not heard.
     The late Israeli psychologist Dan Bar-On and Palestinian educator Sami Adwan, living on opposite sides of the Israeli-Palestinian border, heard each others stories.
     They realized there is more than one side to every story, reconsidered their deeply held beliefs, developed empathy toward each other, overcame the need to always be right, and even became committed peace-building leaders and partners.
     Through their joint work, Bar-On and Adwan challenged the status quo.
     Their main interest was not in playing the blame game, but in finding solutions.
     They dared to say no to war and to dream and hope for peace.
    Instead of militarizing or politicizing relationships, they humanized them.
     Israeli Jewish and Palestinian leaders and researchers need to develop the inner strength and the practical steps, as Bar-On and Adwan did, to cross the border and find workable solutions to the longstanding conflict between their national communities.



Muslim-Palestinian pioneer educator Prof. Sami Adwan and

Jewish-Israeli social scientist Prof. Dan Bar-On a year before his tragic 2008 death

30-min video --  by Prof. Saliba Sarsar, Monmouth Univ., New Jersey, USA


     Finally, in print is Adwan and Bar-on's definitive model textbook of respecting, learning, and teaching parallel but sometimes-conflicting narratives -- many stories, all one story, our story.
     This textbook is a new educational standard for studying and respecting two peoples equally.


SIDE BY SIDE: Parallel Histories of Israel-Palestine

by Sami Adwan, Dan Bar-On, Eyal Naveh, and PRIME - Peace Research Institute in the Middle East

The New Press, New York, 2012, 416 pages



Parallel Stories matter globally
including in Armenia and Azerbaijan

     Citizen-driven public peace processes in Eurasia go back over 20 years also in Eurasia, like the pioneering Armenia-Azerbaijan Initiative -- http://traubman.igc.org/aai.htm
     Today in 2012, two effective women -- Azeri journalist Shahla Sultanova, and Armenian reporter Hayhuki Barseghyan -- engage, learn, and publish together.
     They remind us about the primary importance of shared narratives, and the widespread ignorance of that principle and activity among their peoples.



In each country, school textbooks teach one version of history that sustains animosity towards the other.

By Hayhuki Barseghyan, Shahla Sultanova - Caucasus

Institute for War & Peace Reporting -- 27 February 2012



Young Indian, Pakistani Seeds of Peace
cross borders, dignify both historical narratives

     After the brave step of meeting their "enemies" at Seeds of Peace Summer Camp in Maine, young Indian participants cut across lines of division at home, engaging with peers in a far less supportive setting.
     Crossing barriers to Pakistan that were concrete and psychological, they were doing what few from their parents generation ever contemplated.     
     Joining with their Pakistani peers in Lahore, they began rewriting their countries' history books by drafting a joint curriculum containing each nations historical narrative of their relationship.
     They sustain their activity and relationships online.
     READ more:




Cross-border Aamney-Samney initiative tackles India, Pakistan stereotypes



New Story Leadership:
A new breed of Palestinians, Israelis

     Each summer New Story Leadership for the Middle East --  http://www.newstoryleadership.org --  brings together Middle Eastern young adult citizen-leaders.
     In Washington, DC, they deepen in their face-to-face communication skills, principles of change, and understanding of the "other" and their shared future.
     They are creating a new story of their relationships, and eventually their peoples' capacity to connect and live in community sustainably.
     They say: "If we can change the story, we can change the world."

     WATCH and LISTEN to two totally-inspiring hours -- personal narratives of change from this new breed of Middle Eastern citizens who will help you think more deeply, smile, cry, and have more hope than yesterday.


Personal Narratives of Change

Israeli-Palestinian Relations

C-Span TV -- 06 July 2012 -- 2 hour video




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These and hundreds of other success stories are preserved at http://traubman.igc.org/messages.htm