Archives For Leadership

by Yosef, Jewish, USA participant

Today all the boys woke up at 7:30 AM, because we forgot to set an alarm for 6:30 AM for the morning run. After breakfast, we painted our masks. Each of these unique masks took shape along the contours of our faces. Likewise, the painting of the masks was unique. We were tasked with illustrating the characteristics that make each of us special and a peacebuilder and leader. The masks didn’t conceal our identity like most do, but revealed a picture of our true selves.

Next, we moved on to helping the community. We went to a local farm where we picked kale and cucumbers for a food shelter. With the baskets of veggies in hand, we loaded the cars to deliver them to the food bank. At the food shelter, we prepared the kale and ate a meal with members of the local community.

Returning to the farm we hurried to Muslim Friday prayers, which was in a shaded spot up on the side of the hill. After that, we worked on our social justice skits with Court. We used improvisation to create, sculpt and script our scenes. After the acting, we came together to talk about the meaning of our masks. We had a great dinner and then listened to our guests the Yares’ Brothers, who sang beautiful songs for Kabalat Shabbat. Lastly, we worked on our peace plans for Jerusalem. Through heated negotiations, we discussed possible ways to improve the current situation.

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by Nicole and Ayyoub, Muslim Participants, Jerusalem and USA

Today we started the morning with delicious waffles. After that we had a Courage workshop put on by the junior counselors, Jiries and Christina. During the workshop, we had to admit our own fears to ourselves, and then some people admitted them to the whole group.

At the same time, we sent four people to continue editing the videos we took on our cameras with Gordon. We also did mini interviews with each camper.

Later after the break, we had an Etiquette session with Jude in which we learned how to introduce others and ourselves, how to communicate with new people, and deal with awkward moments.

We worked on our improvisation skills, and about resolving conflicts. We talked about different prejudices in society like racism and sexism and made groups for skits that we will preform on Sunday.11754561_918370454886246_3280295842532938881_o

After lunch, we had our last unit of Leadership with Jack. Using our conflict resolution and mediation skills, we began coming up with our own peace plans for the Holy City of Jerusalem. It took some time and we plan to continue our work on them tomorrow.
For dinner we enjoyed some great grilled chicken and salad, and then we had an art session with Stuart. We made little cut outs of the word “peace” in Hebrew, Arabic and English.11728705_918370334886258_4239331381902999342_o

And to end the night, we climbed a mountain in the dark, WHILE BLINDFOLDED!!!!! It was very challenging, but we all made it and came together in the end. We sat around a bonfire, just to rest and sing. The counselors gave us talismans to take home and always remember this leadership camp and the struggles we overcame together.”

by Zoe, USA participant

11794466_916958458360779_5567753013237627423_oThe experience from the past few days of camp have become increasingly difficult day by day, but with all of this difficulty actually comes great fun. We have discussed some very hard subjects, my favorite being dignity, and in the sessions, when we talk about these things and how they have affected our lives, everyone becomes closer to one another.

We connect through hard and emotional talks, otherwise known as dialogues, sometimes late at night, and we also connect more as friends when we are doing fun activities. The other day when we went canoeing, it was so much fun! Mostly because I bonded with the people I was in the boat with. You see the fun, lighter side of a person in those situations rather that the deeper side. We canoed down river a few miles to a little beach, then splashed and swam in the river. This is by far my favorite thing we have done so far.

11807306_916958625027429_8890027617171776926_oToday we have had a busy day. We first began by talking with a woman named Jeanne, who was a family therapist. She talked with us about how everyone has a story from their past, and when we shared those stories, sometimes they changed a little bit every time we told them. We then acted out our previously written stories about ourselves in small groups. We then had a guest who talked to us about water and the role that it plays is our lives, spiritually and physically. After a few fun water balloon games, the whole group moved into today’s leadership topic of nonviolent communication and its four steps.11794382_916958395027452_4265135434796304529_o

We also had a trainer, who specialized in theater and mediation, come and do a great workshop with us. This was really fun because everyone got to express him or herself and let out all of their energy. Our final guest was an artist who worked with paper as an art form. We cut and pasted different colored pieces of paper to create something beautiful.

To end the long day, we all got to enjoy some tasty ice cream.

by Yazan, Muslim participant, Jerusalem

11794441_915451221844836_3137224644963309201_oToday I got up particularly early for a morning shower. For breakfast, I warmed up a couple of pieces of toast. The day was made of dialogue sessions, at least one session with a guest speaker, lunch and dinner, swimming, and outdoor activities, as well as card games and throwing around a frisbee. We began the day with a challenging teambuilding activity, where we had to hold hands in a big circle and pass two hula-hoops around. The activity required lots of communication.

One of the highlights of this camp so far, Bill Cusano and his three volunteer assistants came to work with us all the way from New York City. They spoke to us about a project called the “Elijah” project, and presented each of us campers with a video camera, provided by sponsors that have a lot of faith in what we are doing and are looking forward to seeing the videos that we will be making. The videos will be about the ‘3 Sabbaths’, referring to the holy days of Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the three Abrahamic religions.11722055_915451281844830_3713642335937427211_o

We then had a session with Jeanie, a family therapist who told us about her career, and a couple of extremely meaningful stories of how important the ‘lens’ we wear are, meaning how much a perspective of things can vary from one person to another. One’s curse may be another’s blessing.

11722419_915451251844833_496912809283893935_oAfter a small break, we had a great lunch of kosher hamburgers and hotdogs. Our camp had many guests, which was very interesting since each camper had one guest to sit with while we ate our amazing food. The other Muslims and I (including an Imam, who was also our guest), prayed the significant Friday prayer for Muslims, which is taken as a day of rest in the Muslim world.

Afterwards, I met another Palestinian man, who is a friend of Fr. Nicholas, from a city in the West Bank called Jenin, which also happens to be where my great-grandmother lives. We had a very educational and meaning session with Youssef Bashir, a man from Gaza who came to tell us his first-hand account of his childhood and his very forgiving, peaceful father, who had forgiven the Israeli soldiers who nearly killed him, used his home as a military base, and in fact shot him in the back. We were all puzzled. How could one forgive someone after going through all that? This was something Youssef himself had to learn and understand over a long time.

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It cannot be easily expressed how life changing that morning was alone. ‘Seeing things in another perspective’ is indeed transformational. I’m not sure how many of us can develop as people without discussing the things we did today at camp
Our daily leadership skills program focused on Dignity. We talked about what Dignity is, the difference between Dignity and Respect, what are the essential elements of dignity, and what can violate one’s dignity. We then went up to swim in the pond, had our Jewish Shabbat prayers and ceremony with Rabbi Michael. After dinner, we had a very deep and meaningful dialogue session, where we talked about personal experiences when our own dignity was violated. We heard and shared many emotional, sad, and moving experiences that we had experienced.

by Leah, Kids4Peace Summer Intern

Last night, North Carolina sixth grade, North Carolina Leap, and Leadership left for the States. We are so excited to start off our fourteenth summer of sending Kids4Peace participants to America! At midnight, sixty five participants left with smiles on their faces, eager to begin their journeys to camp and for what the next nearly three weeks have in store for them. Montaser Amro, the Muslim advisor for Leap proudly reported, “I’ve known these kids for two years, and I’ve never seen them so excited.”

jz0AlOn the way into the airport, the sixth grade bus got pulled over by security. In Kids4Peace, we identify as Jews, Christians, and Muslims, but our countries and the conflict identify us in ways that separate us, sometimes making it difficult for us to fly together.

We are Israeli citizens, Palestinian citizens, Jordanian citizens, refugees, and people without citizenship. Yet, miraculously, we always somehow fly together, despite the differences our society identifies us with.

Rebecca Sullum, Kids4Peace co-director, said after spending the evening at Ben Gurion Airport with the youth, “Airport security thinks that all they’re doing is security, but I know that what they’re really doing is education.”
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Luckily, once we got to the airport, all sixty five participants and staff members boarded the plane in one piece. They have landed in Germany and are now on the second leg of their flight to America.

The summer starts at the airport, and just from the participants’ high spirits, we can already tell that the next few weeks will be an incredible experience for us all. We can’t wait to see what this summer will bring Kids4Peace! #SummerOfHope2015

by Dagan, K4P Volunteer

On Friday, we started with a small sharing presence exercise in small groups asking questions: What do I see? what do I hear? What do I feel? Each kid shared a meaningful thought and we moved on to some tougher questions:

  1. Expectations from our parents — do our parents understand us? I asked if their parents had no expectations from them at all, how would it be for them?

  2. Qualities of a leader: communications skills, charismatic, brave, powerful, thinks of others… Can anyone be a leader? Inside we all have the potential, but for some of us it’s harder because somethings is blocking us from achieving this goal (for example, a shy person).

  3. What can we change in ourselves? Somethings we are born with and cannot change, but inner qualities can change.

During our dialogue on Saturday, the youth had some incredible thoughts:

“If we are all human, why don’t we take care of each other?” -Eyal, Jewish

“War doesn’t resolve the conflict, it only makes it worse… the cycle of revenge.  We should remember that in reality, there are different perspectives than ours.  I don’t necessarily agree with you, but I can respect your way and your own thoughts.” -Lara, Christian

“If peoples’ needs are met, they will be no more reason for war.” -Ismail, Muslim

As the conversations got deeper, more questions were raised in the circle:

-What started the war in Gaza?

-Are we effective? Are we doing enough for peace? We meet each other and talk.. but then what? Can we do more?

-How will the world know about us? Some of the kids talked to other guests, and told them about K4P and even invited them to join us!

-What happened to us personally during the war?

Then Rebecca, K4P co-director asked the youth: What is missing in the dialogue? Where are the things that we don’t agree about, or hard for us to raise? Is talking enough? Can we do more? How can we take more responsibility?”

10801494_10152334784256292_753821377979961704_nBefore closing up the weekend, we all came together for a summary circle to look ahead at the eyar:

  1. During this year we’ll be going deeper into the subjects of this weekend seminar.

  2. One of our main goals: being more aware of ourselves, bringing our full presence to the circle.

  3. Learn to express more of our feelings, and notice the difference between feelings and thoughts.

  4. K4P is not only fun any more, this year will be more meaningful and demands more.

 

We asked the youth, what did you learn?

  • The importance of listening.

  • To respect others is key…

  • That I can understand someone without agreeing with him.

  • About myself and my friends.

  • On other’s opinions.

  • I don’t know all the facts about the war, and what I know is not the entire story.

  • Not to complain but to deal with the way things are.

Questions we take home:

  • What is unchangeable in me?

  • Is it enough to speak, or should we act (to give others hope)?

  • Do I do enough in my community?

  • Can anyone be a leader?

After Breakfast, noted educator, the Rev. Stephanie Green, led a interactive workshop on the sacredness and centrality of water in our lives and cultures. She lives in New Haven. 

There were a number of guests at lunch including Debbie and Court who are to lead an interactive workshop series on mediation and communication. Debbie is a local professor in Vermont and Court is an actor. We loved it. Leadership training with Jack and Reeham followed.

Dorothy cooks great food and Nicholas continues to whoop Hassan in backgammon.

After dinner the counselors had their own facilitated dialogue, and Victoria led an interactive workshop on what does peace look like. It uses poems, and art and speaches and Scripture to inspire a vision of peace in each of us. She lives in London and NYC.

Later, around a bonfire, Ami and Gabri Yares gave a concert. We sang songs in Hebrew, Arabic and English. They are really good. Some of our Jewish friends were fasting for Tisha B’av and missed the concert.

 

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Rebecca | Jerusalem

Rebecca has been with Kids4Peace for seven years,  and has spent one and a half of those years as co-director of K4P Jerusalem. She holds an MA Degree in Conflict Transformation from the School of International Training in Vermont. She lives in Jaffa with her husband and her son Yair.

“Most people think that I work with youth because they are the future, but honestly I am invested in this work to see a change now”


Noa | Jerusalem

This is Noa’s second year in Kids4Peace.  When not working with K4P she studies as a Rabbinical student. She feels supported in her work as most people in her close circle are also working towards co-existence.

“I believe in informal education that works with rather than against religion, this is why I am involved with K4P and why I continue to be involved as the community grows.”


Mohammad | Jerusalem

Mohammad is co-director of Kids4Peace Jerusalem. He spent some years of his life away from Jerusalem which enabled him to meet people from different cultures and as a result he became more knowledgeable of the importance of coexistence. Mohammad is married and has a 9-month-old baby, named Ibrahim.

Mohammad believes that “working with youth from all sides of conflict will help in creating a better future for Israeli and Palestinian youth”. 


Meredith | Jerusalem

Meredith has been with Kids4Peace formally since 2012, after attending a K4P summer camp in 2009. She holds a Masters Degree in Community Development from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She lives in Jerusalem with her husband Zack and baby Shalva Henn.

“I work with K4P because I feel that it is my responsibility to remind people that we must love our neighbour and treat them as we would want to be treated. I need to know the other to help me love the other, and the K4P community is the perfect place for that.”


Adnan | Jerusalem

Adnan is an English teacher at a local high school in Jerusalem. Adnan has been teaching English as a foreign language for over twenty years now. Adnan is married and has six children, the eldest is a sophomore at university while the youngest is a year and a half old.

Adnan joined Kids4Peace and stays involved because he believes: “A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”


Niveen | Jerusalem

Niveen has been with Kids4Peace since 2009. When not at K4P, Niveen works as a travel agent at Guiding Star in Jerusalem. She lives in Abu Tor with her husband, Ihab, and their four daughters. Niveen became involved with Kids4Peace because she truly believes peace is possible.

“This country, my country will see peace. It is through our children that this will be made possible. The staff at Kids4Peace are truly beautiful people and it is a joy to be a part of such a community”


Maggie | Jerusalem

MaggieJLMMaggie has been with Kids4Peace for two months and will intern full time with K4P JLM for the year. She is Irish and the youngest of three, in Ireland she works in the informal education sector as a youth worker.

“I believe that it is through community action and education that people alter the present and the future for their families. Political promises and negotiations mean nothing without understanding and hope from those who live in the reality of the conflict. I believe that K4P is engaging in this work on a daily basis. I want to be part of that change, of that tangible hope.”


Saed | Jerusalem

Saed has been with Kids4Peace since 2006. He teaches Arabic and is father to three children, two girls and a boy.

“As a refugee, I feel that I have to do something. I have to be involved in changing things for the better. Being an active part in K4P offers me that opportunity. I have a young family and I hope all will participate in the program and be part of this community.”


Tamika | Houston

Tamika is a Camp Director and Muslim Advisor for Kids4Peace Houston.  She values equity, creativity, community, and celebration.  Tamika was raised in a Christian home and embraced Islam in 2003.  Tamika is left handed, married, and has two sons and a daughter.

“Peace is possible when reality and true feelings are welcome and acknowledged along with an honest commitment to respect, empathy, disagreement, safety, and beautifully calm environments for all life on earth.”


Jordan | Seattle

Jordan serves as the Kids4Peace Northwest Regional Director.  With the support of volunteers around the Northwest, Jordan will lead K4P’s first Seattle camp this summer.  Jordan is passionate about education, and has a diverse background which includes everything from coaching collegiate ski racing, to researching the South African education system, to classroom teaching, and now working with K4P.

“I believe that Kids4Peace can continue to be a source of hope for people, ultimately making the world a better place.”


Matt | Boston

MattUSAMatt is the Director of the Kids4Peace Boston Chapter.   Prior to serving as Boston’s Chapter Director, he worked at Camp Merrowvista, where K4P Boston hosts its summer program. Working with others in a non-profit organization, and learning new skills from them, has also allowed Matt to gain a deeper understanding and become more open to the realities between Christians, Jews, and Muslims, not only in Jerusalem but also in Boston.  

“I work with people who are working so hard to make peace. It is amazing to see what impact it has on their lives and what sacrifices my friends make daily in order to stay committed to their dream of a more peaceful world.”


Jeff | NH/VT

Jeff is the Camp Director for Vermont and New Hampshire.  Jeff has traveled quite a bit, including studying in India and Spain during college.  After college, Jeff lived in Asia for two years.  He eventually made his way to graduate school to study meditation and applied conflict studies, which lead him to run a camp for Turkish, Armenian, and American teenagers.  He then heard about Kids4Peace.  Jeff is devoted to bringing peace and joy to the world by teaching conflict resolution skills, laughter yoga, and acroyoga.

“I got involved with K4P because it combines my experience with facilitating summer camps with my skills for working with people in conflict.” 


Nicholas | Leadership Camp

Nicholas is the executive director and founder of the Jerusalem Peacebuilders-K4P Leadership Camp in Brattleboro, Vermont.  Educated at Yale University, King’s College London and the American University in Cairo, he has lived, worked and traveled throughout Jerusalem and the Middle East. An Episcopal priest and educator, Nicholas lives in Brattleboro, Vermont with his wife Dorothy and their family.

“The future of Jerusalem is the future of the world, and working with young Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders to build peace shapes that future.”

Additional Profiles of Staff, Volunteers, Board Members and Alumni coming each month!

More than 250 Youth, Family Members, Staff & Community Leaders gathered together on Thursday December 19, 2013 from across East & West Jerusalem and the West Bank. For many, the event was the first time venturing outside after days of Jerusalem’s most intense snowstorm in over a century.

The Kids4Peace community was honored to receive blessings by prominent local clergy members from the three religions including former MK Rabbi Michael Melchior, Father Sanni Ibrahim Azar, and Emam Hosein Abed Gomaa. The community was inspired and encouraged to continue coming together amid rising regional political tension, an unpromising peace process, and increased violence. Rabbi Melchior challenged the community to “listen to other people’s dreams and change our destiny.” He proclaimed to the audience boldly, “We are not destined to fight and kill each other.”

After the blessings, the Jerusalem Youth Chorus of the YMCA performed songs in Hebrew and Arabic, filling the auditorium with cheer and song. Executive Director Josh Thomas honored Kids4Peace’s longest-serving staff, and Jerusalem Co-Directors Mohammad Joulany and Rebecca Sullum announced a new community service partnership with Hadassah Hospital. Staff and volunteers then led activity stations, including art, drumming, and cookie decorating.

The art station featured an array of gifts for the youth to decorate which Kids4Peace will be donating to children hospitalized at Hadassah Hospital as part of a new volunteering relationship with the Mount Scopus branch of Hadassah Hospital. Kids4Peace Jerusalem will be visiting the pediatric ward regularly to run activities for the youth in the hospital.

For the first time ever– Kids4Peace Grandmother Jihan Raouf led an incredible cookie-decorating station, featuring her own homemade cookies! Guests had choices of toppings, spreads, icing, candy and sprinkles for the most colorful and exciting cookies Jerusalem has ever seen.

Kids4Peace counselors in training created and ran a Kids4Peace game with prizes including new Kids4Peace merchandise.

The Fundraising Raffle was a huge success and congratulations to Leap4Peace member Aviya Cohen on selling the most tickets! Special thank you to our sponsors: Guiding Star Travel, Sbitany and Sons, and the Village Green.

The event was a blast for all who attended as community members of all ages rekindled their connections and friendships. Thank you to everyone who participated and we look forward to next year’s winter event already!

 

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K4P Youth form Lasting Friendships

K4P Youth form Lasting Friendships

“At the first camp, we found what was needed and wrong in the world.  I came to this camp to learn how to execute change.” – Emily, Atlanta

For the third year, Kids4Peace’s most committed youth (age 15-16) met for a 12-day Leadership Camp at Acer Farm in Brattleboro, Vermont.

The camp is the culmination of a year-long program that prepares them to be leaders both in Kids4Peace and in their schools and communities.  Next summer, the graduates of the Leadership Camp will complete a training course to be counselors in other K4P programs.

In addition to horseback riding, high ropes courses, and time for swimming and sports, each day at Camp featured leadership skills training and inspiring presentations by visiting diplomatic, civic and religious leaders.

This year’s visitors included

During facilitated dialogues each night, the Leadership youth touched painful issues of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, while maintaining the trust and respect they have developed through four years of friendship.  They grappled with identity, racism, equality and responsibility for ending the conflict.

Read more in a feature article by the Brattleboro Reformer.

– The Kids4Peace Leadership Camp is operated in partnership with Jerusalem Peacebuilders.  Read more about the Leadership Program.  

Co-Director Reeham Subhi and the youth

Co-Director Reeham Subhi and the youth

Jewish youth and staff share the Shabbat traditions of their families.

Jewish youth and staff share the Shabbat traditions of their families.

Campers & staff with Frank Fetchet of Voices of September 11th.

Campers & staff with Frank Fetchet of Voices of September 11th.

Meeting New Challenges

Meeting New Challenges