For 110 minutes each day, campers engage each other directly in small-group dialogue sessions organized by conflict region. Together, they tackle the most painful and divisive issues defining their conflict, sharing their personal experiences, comparing competing historical narratives, and challenging each others’ inherited prejudices.
No subject is off-limits; campers discuss topics ranging from war and military occupation to suicide bombings, Partition, sexism, refugees, racial profiling, the Holocaust and immigration. The immediate goal of Camp dialogue is not necessarily agreement or consensus, and there is no expectation that campers adopt or embrace each other’s viewpoints.
Through dialogue, campers gain insights into the dynamics that perpetuate their conflict, and lay the groundwork necessary for exploring and addressing those dynamics through Seeds of Peace regional programs once they return home.
Dialogue sessions are run by professional facilitators, many of them older Seeds who graduate from a year-long Seeds of Peace training course.
The Group Challenge component of the Camp program complements the dialogue sessions—it is dialogue conducted in physical form. The series of group activities reinforces trust, cooperation and communication, thus forging stronger bonds between dialogue group members and enhancing the dialogue sessions.
The program is designed to be flexible and is constantly reevaluated and adjusted to meet the needs of the young people and to best impact group dynamics as the dialogue process unfolds.
Religious & Cultural events
Fridays include both Muslim and Jewish worship services, which are open to all campers to attend or observe. In this way, the campers and Seeds of Peace staff have the opportunity to learn about one another’s religion and traditions first hand. Christian services are conducted on Sunday mornings. Additionally, Hindu services are held once a session.
On special nights during each session, campers share their cultural heritage and traditions with one another, while enjoying an international dinner of their favorite dishes from home.
Parallel to the Camp dialogue program are activities designed to develop leadership and communication skills and strengthen the values of respect and teamwork across lines of conflict. Some of these are athletic; others foster creative expression.
Color Games, the Seeds of Peace Camp Olympics, is the culminating event at the end of Camp every session. During this time, Camp is divided into two teams that compete in every Camp activity. These activities range from sports and fine art to music, drama and even special activities like cooking and computer contests.
Though this is an intensely competitive event, it also encourages a similarly intense spirit of teamwork that rises above ethnic, religious and national divides. It thus serves as an important tool to explore personal and group identity.
“Seeds of Peace is certainly an example of the world the UN is working for—bringing together young people who have seen the ravages of war to learn the art of peace.” — Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General