In 1993, Seeds of Peace was founded in order to empower Arab and Israeli teenagers with the leadership skills required to advance reconciliation and coexistence.
Over the past 12 years, the program has grown from a summer camp in Maine to a world-renowned conflict resolution organization with year-round programming throughout the Middle East. The program alumni, or ‘Seeds,’ are now adults, attending highly competitive universities around the world, pursuing prestigious careers, and entering a new phase of leadership.
Between August 12-20, 2005, 120 American, Egyptian, Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian Seeds, now in their early to mid-20s, reconvened at the Seeds of Peace Camp in Maine for what is arguably the most important venture in Seeds of Peace history: the first-ever Leadership Summit. The Summit provided these pioneers of Seeds of Peace, who had first attended the camp between 1993-1999, with the opportunity to engage once again in daily dialogue sessions, learn from professionals in their fields through lectures and career-oriented workshops, develop future alumni activities in the Middle East, and establish a mechanism to enhance alumni involvement in the leadership of the organization.
Coinciding with the Gaza Disengagement, the Leadership Summit took place during a momentous and challenging time in the Middle East. The environment of uncertainty in the region only magnified the importance of bringing together Arab and Israeli Seeds of Peace alumni to renew their commitment to dialogue and peacebuilding. The Leadership Summit was designed as the cornerstone of the growing graduate program by Seeds of Peace alumni actively involved in follow-up programs in the Middle East. These Seeds were responsible for informing the application and selection process, content, structure, speaker invitations, and evaluation methods—to ensure that the goals and needs of the alumni would be met.
The Summit committee members succeeded in locating Seeds whose involvement had waned after years in university, army, or professional life and encouraging them to participate. Two coordinators from each delegation led local preparation seminars in the Middle East prior to the Summit in order to clearly establish the goals of the program while addressing uni-national concerns.
The 120 participants included 5 Americans, 24 Egyptians, 49 Israelis, 14 Jordanians, and 28 Palestinians. Ten of the Summit participants were among the first group of Seeds to attend the Camp in 1993 and had last seen each other as they stood together on the White House lawn as witnesses to the signing of the Oslo Accords 12 years ago. Sixteen of the Summit participants had worked at the camp in past summers as either counselors or facilitators. Ninteen of the Summit participants are employed as part-time staff or graduate program coordinators in Amman, Cairo, Haifa, Ramallah, or Tel Aviv, or at the Center for Coexistence in Jerusalem. This diverse group came together for the first time in over a decade to investigate the impact of Seeds of Peace on their lives and encourage one another in their pursuit of a peaceful future.
Program Design and Results
Daily two-hour dialogue sessions facilitated by trained professionals allowed the Seeds to reopen the discussions they began as teenagers. In groups of 12-14 participants representative of the delegations present, they reexamined their personal commitments to coexistence, their relationships to each other, and their roles in Seeds of Peace while sharing life events of the past ten years. They also engaged in political debates surrounding the Gaza withdrawal, Seed participation in government and military, and the future of Arab-Israeli negotiations. As the Seeds recounted oftentimes painful and difficult memories, dialogue sessions helped to strengthen relationships built on honesty and respect as well as deepen critical reflection and compassion for “the other.” The Summit dialogue sessions differed from those the Seeds participated in the Camp many years ago due to the fact that the Seeds “are not 14 years old anymore and have a different way of thinking about life,” explained 25 year-old Palestinian Seed, Khaled. Coming to camp this summer already having “Israeli friends that [he] used to call enemies,” Khaled and other Seeds are at greater levels of understanding than they used to be.
Each morning, the Seeds heard from leading individuals in various fields who are engaged in the global community and actively working toward peace and conflict resolution. These dynamic speakers challenged the Seeds to think critically about the role they can play as citizens of their countries in promoting social justice and being a voice for change. Speakers included:
- Shamil Idriss, Formerly Chief Operating Officer, Search for Common Ground
- Ken Cohen, Vice President of Public Affairs, ExxonMobil
- A’yen Tran and Michael DiBenedetto, Chat the Planet
- Doug Suisman, Founder and Principal, Suisman Urban Design, and Lead Author of RAND’s The Arc: A Formal Structure for a Palestinian State
- Keith Reinhard, Founder and Chairman, DDB Worldwide Communications Group Inc.
- Ambassador Swanee Hunt, Director of the Women and Public Policy Program (WAPPP) at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government
Workshops & Program Initiatives
Seeds chose between the business, conflict resolution, facilitation training, media/communications and politics workshops depending upon their professional aspirations and interests. In these workshop groups, Seeds alumni laid the foundation for the graduate program by constructing a concrete web of programming initiatives that will serve to reengage Seeds alumni in the Middle East and offer them continued professional and leadership development opportunities. In the process, Seeds gained expert career guidance through interaction with major figures in their fields of interest, and formed relationships with their peers from the “other side” based on their common professional ambitions.
The business workshop focused on imparting tangible entrepreneurship skills to the Seeds along with providing valuable professional expertise. By engaging the participants in stimulating exercises designed to simulate “real world” business scenarios, the speakers and workshop leaders motivated the Seeds to design business initiatives of their own.
Bruce Brownstein, Director of Executive Education at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, commenced the week with an interactive discussion focused on business ethics and negotiation styles. Tim Berry, former vice president at Creative Strategies International and author of Marketing Plan Pro and Business Plan Pro software, joined the conversation the following day. Ken Tsunoda, representing the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), spoke to the Seeds about internships YPO could offer both in the Middle East and the US. Farhad Mohit, founder of Shopzilla.com, a popular shopping search engine, offered Seeds a wealth of career advice from his own experience as an entrepreneur, reminding them that the most important qualities of entrepreneurship are passion, intelligence, honesty, and diversity. Omar Salah, CEO of Star-Brands Capital, concluded the week by sharing personal insights which, according to one Egyptian Seed, “refreshed everyone’s creativity” and could be “applied beyond business.” The Business Workshop participants identified four programmatic initiatives:
- An alumni website database will serve to keep Seeds of Peace alumni in close contact with each other and encourage further collective brainstorming and networking for future projects.
- Educational business seminars and an entrepreneurship fair will encourage both for-profit and social entrepreneurship opportunities.
- A joint venture/partnership with Young Presidents Organization/Peace Action Network (YPO/PAN) will allow Seeds to benefit from internship opportunities worldwide and access to mentors who are leading figures in the international business arena.
- Revenue-generating activities, for example the sale of Seeds of Peace bracelets in the style of Lance Armstrong’s “LIVESTRONG” campaign, will serve to raise funds for Seeds of Peace in the region as well as raise awareness and visibility.
Conflict Resolution Workshop
The Conflict Resolution Workshop addressed the various avenues for incorporating conflict resolution into a multitude of professions. At the close of the week, spurred by lively guest speaker presentations including, Arthur Martirosyan of MOMENTUM, Darya Shaikh of The PeaceWorks Foundation’s OneVoice Movement, Seeds of Peace board member and professional mediator Roger Deitz, and former Seeds of Peace staff member and PhD candidate at American University Ned Lazarus, the Seeds created independent conflict resolution follow-up programs in the areas of education, political action, and professional development. The objectives of these programs are to spread core Seeds of Peace values of conflict resolution, tolerance, and open-mindedness to regional non-Seeds, to establish an independent, multi-national association of Seed activists, and to provide a forum for Seed professionals to network and develop conflict resolution skills relevant to their respective fields. The Conflict Resolution Workshop participants identified three programmatic initiatives:
- The Education committee will host introductory workshops on conflict resolution for middle and high school students, hold more advanced two-day seminars for experienced students, and implement an after-school curriculum in several elementary schools in the region using existing educational materials created by the Seeds of Peace Delegation Leaders.
- The Political Action Committee will form a study group to educate interested Seeds regarding the history of the Arab-Israeli peace process with the end goal of holding a Political Treaty and Negotiations Conference in Switzerland as a follow-up to the Seeds of Peace Summit of Villars held in 1998.
- The Professional Development committee will create an itinerary for a pilot Conflict Resolution Seminar to be held in August 2006 in Amman, Jordan, for social service professionals. The goal of the seminar is to teach professionals conflict resolution skills applicable in the work place.
- In collaboration with the Business Workshop, the Media Workshop will create a comprehensive online directory. A further networking source will also be provided through private video chat rooms on www.chattheplanet.com.
- The Media Workshop will aggressively target local press in the Middle East in order to raise awareness of Seeds of Peace by establishing public relations bureaus in Seeds of Peace offices around the world.
- Developing a Public Service Announcement (PSA) campaign will serve to promote the values and ideals of Seeds of Peace among the Seeds’ communities. To accomplish this, the Media Workshop will establish relationships with regional advertising agencies as well as use designated space on the Chat the Planet website for posting personal stories and video profiles of Seeds.
- Educational seminars focused on exploring the structure of the political systems in the Middle East will be held in conjunction with the Political Action Committee of the Conflict Resolution Workshop group. The goal of the seminars is to enhance Seeds’ knowledge of their own political systems in a uni-national forum focusing on the role of religion, the peace process, minority populations, and economic influences.
- As a project independent of Seeds of Peace, the Politics Workshop will initiate a Public Policy Journal as a forum for the exchange of ideas and debates surrounding pertinent policy issues affecting Seeds of all nationalities. The journal will be published biannually and include both academic and opinion editorial pieces. By encouraging multi-national coauthored articles, the journal will be a tool for continued dialogue and interaction among Seeds.
Media & Communications Workshop
The Media and Communications Workshop focused on how Seeds alumni can use media as a tool for advancing the goals and message of Seeds of Peace as well as continued communication with each other.
Columnist Bill Nemitz from the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram spoke to Seeds about career journalism and the task of finding one’s voice as a columnist. In addition, he answered questions regarding his experience reporting from Iraq. Shamil Idriss shared from his experience at Search for Common Ground ways in which Seeds can use the media to raise awareness of political crises and mobilize youth in their home regions. Representatives from Chat the Planet demonstrated their software by hosting a live video chat using their technology to link Seeds graduates from Gaza, Israel and the Media Workshop group in Maine. This allowed the Seeds to get a first hand taste of how they will use the Chat the Planet technology in the future to communicate with each other. Seeds of Peace is extremely grateful to Logitech for donating web-cameras to each participant of the Leadership Summit for this purpose. Steve Novick, formerly of Grey Global Group, concluded the week by discussing the power of emotional communication and personal stories in advertising. He also briefly touched on the topics of public relations, marketing, communications, brand strategy and design.
Assisted by several dynamic speakers, Seeds in the Politics Workshop brainstormed initiatives that Seeds of Peace, as a non-political organization, can support in Seeds’ politically active lives. The Seeds heard from Hanna Misleh, co-director of the Palestinian American Interests Counsel, and Derrek Shulman, New England Political Director for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) regarding the goals and methods of lobbying groups in the American political system. Boaz Nol, a young Israeli political activist who, after chairing the Young Labor Party and advising Ehud Barak’s administration, established a new non-political movement, Awakening, inspired Seeds to think of creative ways they can influence their own political environments.
To close the week, Doug Suisman, lead author of RAND’s The Arc: A Formal Structure for a Palestinian State, participated in a Q&A session regarding the political implications of The Arc.
The Facilitation Skills Workshop trained a select group of Seeds to become future facilitators both at the Seeds of Peace Camp and at the Center for Coexistence in Jerusalem. The Workshop leaders relied on their extensive experience facilitating political dialogue sessions, both in their work with Seeds of Peace and in their previous careers, to create a short course in facilitation specifically for the Leadership Summit. The 12-hour course was designed to advance the facilitation skills of 14 Israeli and Palestinian Seeds who had already undergone introductory training at the Seeds of Peace Center. At the close of the Summit, these Seeds were on their way to becoming professional facilitators and had the tools necessary to begin co-leading groups of younger Seeds at the Seeds of Peace Center.
Alumni Association & Regional Advisory Council
The most important strategic initiative to come from the Leadership Summit was the creation of the Alumni Association, whose purpose as defined by the Seeds is “to provide a structure for Seeds of Peace Alumni to continue efforts toward cooperation and peace.” At the close of the Summit, the Seeds revealed a practical plan for an Alumni Association that will serve to sustain communication between alumni from different countries, support regional programming initiatives, provide a platform for Seeds alumni to exchange ideas and engage in projects not initiated by Seeds of Peace, and encourage alumni to support activities for younger Seeds. The Regional Advisory Council (RAC) is the Middle Eastern arm of the governing body of the Alumni Association and will provide administrative structure, represent the alumni by virtue of its electoral nature to the board of directors, staff, other organizations, and media, and most importantly, in the words of the Seeds, will “make things happen.” The RAC will work closely with the Seeds Advisory Council (SAC), its partner governing body which serves Seeds currently living in the United States and has been in existence for the past two years.
On the final night of the Leadership Summit, the participants unanimously voted to approve the structure of the Alumni Association and Regional Advisory Council. Each delegation met separately to elect their respective inaugural Steering Committee representatives. This event marked the official close of the Leadership Summit and the official beginning of the newly structured graduate program. From this point forward the Seeds alumni will be a driving force in determining the direction of future alumni programs, advising the staff and board of Seeds of Peace regarding programmatic decisions, and creating opportunities for themselves to effect large scale change in their respective communities.
The Leadership Summit drew widespread recognition from media sources across the globe. CNN and American Morning broadcast live from the Seeds of Peace Camp featuring an Israeli and a Palestinian Seed relating their experiences as older program graduates and their analysis of the Gaza withdrawal. Harry Smith, lead anchor from the CBS Early Show, traveled to Camp with camera crew in tow to meet Summit participants and interview several Seeds for a segment that ran on the CBS Early Show Thursday morning, August 18.
In addition to national television coverage, an Associated Press article titled “Israelis, Arabs Reunite at Peace Camp During Gaza Withdrawal” and published in major newspapers and online news outlets including The Boston Globe, Ha’aretz, Jordan Times, Los Angeles Times, New York Newsday, and Washington Post, as well as a front page article in the Portland Press Herald, helped to generate widespread national and international press coverage totaling well over $200,000 worth of publicity and was seen by a worldwide audience of over 4 million.
For eight days this summer, the original graduates of the Seeds of Peace program reunited to prove once again that coexistence is possible. In the woods of Maine, where John Wallach’s dream first began in the summer of 1993, 120 young adults from regions of war met together to examine the life-changing impact of Seeds of Peace. They concluded, by proposing joint programs engaging Arabs and Israelis, creating an Alumni Association to promote further involvement, and calling for additional reunions in the region, that dialogue and face-to-face interaction are in fact the keys to promoting a peaceful future in the Middle East.
As the Seeds of Peace program evolves to adapt to the changing political landscape, it is critical that the original graduates of the Seeds of Peace program bring their insight to the conversation. The Leadership Summit was a tremendous first step in what will be the next phase of alumni involvement and leadership in the organization.
LEADERSHIP SUMMIT PHOTOS
Friday, August 12, 2005 After a long day of traveling, 120 Israeli, Palestinian, Egyptian, Jordanian and American Seeds from 1993-1999 were finally back at the Camp in Maine for the first ever Seeds of Peace Leadership Summit. It was a day of full of anticipation, excitement, hugging, and disbelief over how much everyone has grown up.
Saturday, August 13, 2005 The summit opened with a welcome address from Seeds of Peace President Aaron David Miller. While Seeds are returning to Camp for various reasons—to create friendships with ‘the other side’ or to further the message of coexistence and reconciliation—it is an opportunity for Seeds to reconnect and reexamine themselves and each other as well as Seeds of Peace as an organization.
Aaron affirmed that only individuals create war and stand in between hope and chaos; he encouraged Seeds to lead the organization and to invent a peaceful future. Governments can end conflict, but they cannot create transformations required to change attitudes and the character of people.
Aaron encouraged Seeds to create their own network, especially in their home regions, to implement the changes necessary for peace. Seeds of Peace has full confidence that these Seeds will accomplish this. To gain professional guidance and skills in areas of interest, each day Seeds are attending a business, politics, media, facilitation training, or conflict resolution workshop. The workshops are run by guest speakers and workshop leaders who are major figures within their fields. Seeds also attend sessions about the structure of Seeds of Peace as an organization to further understand Seeds of Peace functions as well as provide feedback.
Sunday, August 14, 2005 Dialogue sessions met today. Dialogue sessions, led by professional facilitators and organized by Israeli and Palestinian Seed graduates, are allowing the Seeds to express thoughts and feelings on conflict now as adults.
In the morning, former Chief Operating Officer of Search for Common Ground Shamil Idriss delivered a lecture about media and conflict resolution. With his numerous experiences in conflict resolution, Idriss encouraged Seeds to be social entrepreneurs, creative thinkers who bridge gaps between societies. Seeds divided into workshops following the morning speaker. In the Business Workshop, Bruce Brownstein, Director of Executive Education at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, gave a presentation on business ethics and negotiation styles. Tim Berry, former vice president at Creative Strategies International and author of Marketing Plan Pro and Business Plan Pro software, also gave a presentation on business styles. In the Politics Workshop, Seeds brainstormed initiatives and ideas that Seeds of Peace, a non-political organization, can play in Seeds’ politically active lives. Shamil Idriss, of this morning’s lecture, ran the Media Workshop. Idriss addressed ways in which Seeds can use the media to tackle shared issues within their home region.
The Conflict Resolution Workshop was lead by Arthur Martirosyan, who trains negotiators on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and is the designer and manager of the Momentum Program, which offers leadership and conflict management skills. Martirosyan gave a presentation on why people use violence to settle issues, conflict management and peace, and different models and styles of negotiation.
Monday, August 15, 2005 In his lecture, Vice President of Public Affairs at ExxonMobil Ken Cohen touched on a variety of issues that Exxon faces, including community development, environmental consequences, business ethics, marketing, foreign investment, dependence on hydrocarbon energy, and human rights. ExxonMobil is enthusiastically recruiting Seeds in the Middle East and the US. Darcy Bundy, who is a political specialist in the Middle East for ExxonMobil and mother of an American Seed, shared how Seeds of Peace shaped her family, giving them a new meaning and structure to life.
During afternoon workshops, Ken Tsunoda from the Young President Organization spoke to the Seeds about internships they could offer for those Seeds in the Middle East and the US. Farhad Mohit, founder of Shopzilla, a popular shopping search engine, led the Business Workshop and offered Seeds a wealth of career advice from his own experience as an entrepreneur, reminding them that the most important qualities of entrepreneurship are passion, intelligence, honesty, and diversity. Columnist Bill Nemitz from the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram led the Media Workshop on journalism. Bill focused on the ease of written communication and finding your voice as a columnist. In addition, he answered questions the Seeds had regarding his experience reporting from Iraq.
Darya Shaikh, US Program Director for the PeaceWorks Foundation’s OneVoice Movement, gave a presentation for the Conflict Resolution Workshop. OneVoice is a key example of an organization that began only as an idea and became an effective NGO. With a deep understanding for grassroots activism for civic change, Darya’s work with OneVoice is inspiring to Seeds, showing them that on-the-ground work for peace is indeed within reach. The Politics Workshop was led by Husam Hanna Misleh, co-director of the Palestinian American Interests Counsel. The Counsel’s goal is to be an umbrella organization that strongly and effectively expresses Palestinian American interest in support of the Palestinian people.
“Comedy for Peace” was an evening comedy show performed by the Jewish-American and Palestinian-American comedian duo, Scott Blakeman and Dean Obeidallah. Using laughter as an antidote to violence, Scott and Dean brought the Seeds together through political, territorial, and cultural humor to recognize a common aspiration for peace and joy. Yehia, a Seed alum from Egypt, thought it was great “to see all this passion brought out from people” during the comedy performance.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005 Ayen Tran and Michael DiBenedetto, from Chat the Planet, introduced the group to new technologies and discussed how to spread understanding and cross-cultural exchange. Chat the Planet is a television show and Internet community that connects international youth ages 15-25. Just like Seeds of Peace, Chat the Planet uses uses honest in-person dialogue, and now video chats, about politics, relationships, and prejudices to break down barriers. Hani, a Palestinian Seed from Gaza who now studies computer engineering in Jordan, said the Chat the Planet presentation was “fascinating” and that he “would be pleased to do more using its website.” During the afternoon, the Media Workshop worked with Chat the Planet technology to host a live video chat between Israeli and Gaza Seeds graduates and the Media Workshop group in Maine. This experience demonstrated how Seeds will be able to use new technology to communicate with each other if they can’t do it physically. A big thank you goes out to Logitech who donated webcams to each participant at the Leadership Summit.
Also in the afternoon, the Business Workshop went over the objectives and goals of five business programs identified by Seeds. The programs included an educational business seminar, entrepreneurship development, alumni networking and career development, Seeds of Peace revenue-generating activities, and internships with Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO). During the Conflict Resolution Workshop, Seeds of Peace board member Roger Dietz shared his knowledge on alternative dispute resolution, including his experiences as a mediator. Roger discussed different models of third-party conflict resolution. A Politics Workshop lecture was given by Derrek Shulman, New England Political Director for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the pro-Israeli lobby in the US. Derrek introduced the work of the Committee and also explained why many American Jews believe in the importance of US government support to Israel. The day ended with an “ice cream social” with Seeds of Peace Board Members. So far, the Leadership Summit has been incredibly productive for Seeds and the organization alike. Yosef described Camp as “the best place to talk and understand each other in this mutual environment.”
Wednesday, August 17, 2005 The day started with CNN broadcasting live from the Seeds of Peace Camp. CNN interviewed two Seeds about their experiences as older program graduates and their feelings about the situation now in Gaza. Following, Harry Smith from the CBS Early Show, with camera crew in tow, came to meet Summit participants and interview them for a segment that ran on the Early Show Thursday morning. Seeds of Peace board members visited the Leadership Summit today to work directly with Seeds to exchange feedback, updates, and ideas. Later, the board members observed dialogue groups to enhance their understanding of the Seeds and the issues they tackle in moderated discussions.
In the afternoon workshops, Steve Novick, formerly of Grey Global Group, explained the power of emotional communication and personal stories in advertising and also shared knowledge about public relations, marketing, communications, brand strategy and design. Boaz Nol, an active member in the Israeli political process, connected with Seeds in the Politics Workshop, as he urged them to be more politically involved. Israeli Seed Moran was inspired by Boaz, who she said was “encouraging and showing us young people how to take on leadership roles in our own communities.” In the Conflict Resolution Workshop, Seeds began educational, professional, and political initiatives. The Business Workshop was led by Omar Salah, CEO of Starbrands Capital. Seed Yehia said that, as “an extraordinary example of a person who built a successful business bridge,” Omar shared insights that “refreshed everyone’s creativity” and can be “applied beyond business.”
An evening presentation was given by Keith Reinhard of DDB Worldwide, who offered ideas on strong leadership networking to make a successful multinational. The evening concluded with a fun and energetic dance party that played an eclectic mix of Israeli, Arabic, and American music.
Thursday, August 18, 2005 Thursday began with a presentation by Doug Suisman, founder and principal of Suisman Urban Design. Suisman spoke about The Arc: A Formal Structure for a Palestinian State, a study he undertook in partnership with the RAND Corporation. The afternoon Politics Workshop further discussed The Arc study; Israeli Seed Avigail was “deeply inspired and moved by [the RAND project]” as it demonstrated how “imagination can solve problems that look like they don’t have solutions.” In the Business, Media, and Conflict Resolution Workshops, participants broke into initiative groups to work on follow-up programs for their respective topics that will be presented to the Summit participants on Friday.
Aaron David Miller paid a visit to the Seeds Thursday night and reminded them that only people can make change happen. “It’s not about politics,” he said. “It’s not about winning; it’s about the future.”
Friday, August 19, 2005 Seeds of Peace was fortunate to have Ambassador Swanee Hunt, former US Ambassador to Austria, Harvard’s Women and Public Policy Program director, and founder and chair of the Institute for Inclusive Security and its Women Waging Peace Network, speak to the Seeds on the final day of the Summit.
After a week of compiling ideas as well as receiving guidance from major professional figures, Seeds took Aaron Miller’s advice to “come up with bold programmatic ideas” and created comprehensive program proposals to move forward with post Summit. Presentations by each workshop on individual program initiatives outlined intentions to sustain social and professional networks, accelerate professional and leadership development, and ultimately, have a positive impact on regional conflict.
- The Conflict Resolution Workshop committee plans to teach core conflict resolution values, tolerance, and open-mindedness to regional non-Seeds, provide Seed professionals with a forum to network and develop conflict resolution skills, and establish an independent, multi-national association of activists. Seeds decided to create an education program, political activist network, and an online study group to examine history, politics, war, treaties, and solutions to the Arab-Israeli conflict. In addition, the Seeds will plan conflict resolution seminars for professionals. Finally, a “Treaty Study Group” will formulate a political treaty in Appenzell, Switzerland, where they will present a final, well-designed Arab-Israel plan.
- The Politics Workshop Committee plans to work with Conflict Resolution Committee to plan multinational seminars. They also plan to put together a public policy journal which will be used as an avenue to express opinions and influence issues of concern.
- Inspired by their workshops on advertising and marketing, the Media Workshop put together a Seeds of Peace public service announcement to demonstrate how they can market the “Seeds of Peace experience” to their non-Seed peers. As projects, the Media Workshop plans to raise awareness and spread their message though public service announcements, the local press, and online technology initiatives.
- The Business Workshop’s follow-up programs focus on networking and career development, educational seminars and entrepreneurship development, a Young Presidents’ Organization Peace Action Network internship program, and Seeds of Peace revenue-generating activities. The business workshop is spear-heading the creation of an online directory that all Seeds can use for networking.
The Summit’s closing ceremony focused on the proposal and creation of a new alumni network. The Alumni Association’s goals are to maintain a social network among alumni, support regional alumni programming initiatives, provide a platform for Seeds of Peace alumni to exchange ideas and engage in projects not initiated by Seeds of Peace, and support younger Seeds’ activities.
As a governing body for the Alumni Association, the Steering Committee will be comprised of members from the Israeli, Palestinian, Egyptian, and Jordanian delegations and provide structure, represent the Association, and make sure action takes place. The proposal for the Alumni Association and the Steering Committee was approved by the delegations and will begin providing structure for Seeds of Peace alumni to facilitate continuing efforts towards peace.
Israeli Seed Yaron summarized the success and excitement that resulted from the week-long Leadership Summit: “It’s incredible to see the potential of the Seeds. It’s unbelievable how talented we are. The only thing we are limited by is imagination; with us, everything’s possible.”