Our students were real ambassadors to Egypt.
Among 46 Israeli and Arab teenagers, five of our pupils participated in the three week camp, “Seeds of Peace,” in Maine, USA. The other participants were from Jordan, Palestine and Israel. They were the winners of competitions and their selection was based on essays about why peace was important to them. The five pupils from our school who had efficiently won were:
• Tamer Nagy
• Essam Amgad
• Amir Ossama
• Moataz Ibrahim
• Ayman Wafaei
During the camp, they had proved to be very cooperative in the way they created a wonderful atmosphere for others to work together coming over the age-old wounds.
In both the initial coexistence discussion and the emotional encounter, our boys were real helpers for the organizers as they pushed the other participants to try to forget about the past and start to look at each other as brothers and step together sharing what God has given them, regardless of all past accounts as one of the Egyptian boys said, “All the countries are in war now because they talk about their past.” Therefore, in this camp politics and history took a back seat to team loyalty.
International and American press, admiring the very unique personalities of the Egyptian boys, witnessed that the role they played in the camp was very essential. In his essay in a New England magazine, John Wallach, the founder and director of the programme, praised the role of the boys when he said, “As in the real world of Middle East diplomacy, some of the Egyptian youths have taken the role of mediators in the camp.”
The boys’ words were quoted as very moderate and practical in many newspapers. In The Buffalo News, August 1993, Verena Dobnik quoted Tamer Nagy’s words when he described meeting Jewish and Palestinian boys saying, “It’s very great. I love this. In the Middle East there is a lot of war. It’s not our fault but we must fix it.”
Another boy said, “If we live together now, we’ll show our leaders that we can live together.” A wise Egyptian boy said, “The two groups mingled right away, there is no political tension at all and we’re not foreseeing any.”
What do our seeds of peace also say?
“Peace is harder than war, especially when it is between two old enemies. That’s why Mr. John Wallach, a writer in Hearst newspapers, through it would be more successful to spread peace through the younger generation for this he thought of the Seeds of Peace program.”
Another boy said, “In Powhatan camp we spent two weeks in Maine. These two weeks were full of fun, sports and of course, some political arguments.”
Essam added, “We went to Washington, D.C., where we met Mrs. Clinton, and after that we got the invitation to attend the signing ceremony of the Gaza–Jericho Agreement in the White House. That day was a historical one for the whole world.“
Concerning the meeting with the president of the United States, Ayman said, “Mr. Clinton mentioned us in his speech by saying that nobody is more important today than Seeds of Peace. Mr. Clinton also said, ‘Go in peace, go as peacemakers.’”
Tamer got the invitation to go back to the USA in March 1993 to represent Egypt with another boy from Cairo American College (CAC).
They met Mr. Peres, foreign minister of Israel, Mr. Nabil Al Arabi, representative of Egypt in the UN, and Mr. Mahmoud Abbas from Palestine.
These words of the representatives of El-Nasr school were a real spotlight for their colleagues to achieve the goal that has eluded their forebears for decades: peace. Our school is really proud of them and is planning to train and help others to catch the vision of being men and women of great expectations—peace makers.