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Jul 25, 2015

Seeds of Peace camp kicks off in Maine

OTISFIELD, Maine | A Maine camp that brings together teenagers from the Middle East and South Asia is open for its final summer session. More than 180 Afghan, American, Egyptian, Indian, Israeli, Jordanian, Pakistani and Palestinian campers are participating in the Seeds of Peace camp in Otisfield. A flag-raising ceremony was held Thursday. The camp was founded on the idea of bringing together teens from countries that are in conflict with each other in hopes of opening a door to … FULL STORY

Jun 27, 2015

Youth Chorus Unites Israelis and Palestinians, at Least for a Few Hours

JERUSALEM — Avital Maeir-Epstein and Muhammad Murtada Shweiki live about 150 yards apart in Abu Tor, a Jerusalem neighborhood that straddles the pre-1967 armistice line, a mostly invisible but politically charged marker of this city’s Israeli-Palestinian divide. The teenagers live on opposite sides of that divide, but for a few hours each Monday afternoon, they come together. Avital, 16, is a soprano and Muhammad, 15, is a tenor/bass in the Jerusalem Youth Chorus, which brings together young Israelis and Palestinians … FULL STORY

Jun 19, 2015

In conflict zone, raising young Palestinian and Jewish voices

When Micah Hendler first went to Jerusalem with the idea of starting a choir of Israeli and Palestinian high-schoolers, some thought his notion naive at best. But in the three years since the YMCA Jerusalem Youth Chorus was formed, the group has recorded with Israeli musician-activist David Broza, gone on two international tours and is now on its first U.S. tour, which is bringing Hendler, 25, back to his Bethesda roots. The tour began last week at the Yale International … FULL STORY

Jun 15, 2015

Seeds of Peace to kick off 23rd
summer of leadership program in Maine

Session for campers from the Middle East, South Asia, and US begins July 23 OTISFIELD, MAINE | Seeds of Peace is set to welcome young leaders from communities divided by conflict to kick off the 23rd summer of the Seeds of Peace International Camp. The first session of Camp begins on June 29, for over 110 teens ages 14-17 from across Maine as well as from Syracuse, New York. They will come together to tackle tensions within their schools and … FULL STORY

May 18, 2015

For a Glimpse at the Future of Peacebuilding, Look to an Experiment Begun a Decade Ago | THE HUFFINGTON POST

When we were both 14, our Israeli and Palestinian parents and teachers enrolled us in a massive, life-altering experiment, the effects of which are still playing out, over a decade later. We are both from Jerusalem, and at age 27, we are part of the reason the Middle East is experiencing the highest ratio of youth to adults in history. This “youth bulge” provides the experiment’s context: there are over 100 million youth in our region between the ages of … FULL STORY

Mar 27, 2015

Amid Gaza rubble, new center offers
kids art, storytelling, and hope

In a Gaza City neighborhood that saw some of the fiercest fighting in last summer’s war, a children’s center teaches free thinking, life skills, and ethics. GAZA CITY | Seated in front of a makeshift puppet theater one rainy recent morning, about 20 girls sat in rapt attention. “Think, think, think, girls!” say an elephant and a zebra, who are trying to help their rabbit friend deal with an enemy tiger. The girls chime in as the animal friends come … FULL STORY

Mar 10, 2015

Next goal for Seeds of Peace:
Putting campers to work

Seeds of Peace, a US-based organization with over two decades of experience in the Middle East, is expanding to include a wider spectrum of actors. DEAD SEA, JORDAN | This may not seem like a propitious time for peace in the Middle East. But Seeds of Peace, which has become one of the region’s most recognized peace-building initiatives since hosting its first summer camp for Israeli and Palestinian teens in 1993, is seeking to expand its reach. While the organization … FULL STORY

Feb 24, 2015

Wil Smith touched many lives in his many roles as coach, mentor and counselor

The 2000 Bowdoin College graduate died Sunday from colon cancer, leaving what Sen. Angus King called “a hole in the heart of our community.” Whether he was coaching young girls to play basketball or counseling teenagers from a war-torn region of the world, Wil Smith was always there when he was needed. “He had boundless energy and enthusiasm for life,” said Tim Gilbride, the men’s basketball coach at Bowdoin. “And that was contagious to other people. He could get people … FULL STORY

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