Ismail

Palestinian Delegation Leader, 2007
Seeds of Peace Fellow, 2015

IMPACT: SOCIAL

Empowering youth in a Palestinian refugee camp.

How has Seeds of Peace had an impact on you?

I led the Palestinian delegation to the Seeds of Peace Camp several times and was a participant in the first Educators’ Course, “Narratives; Moral Imagination; Educational Action.” Additionally, I was one of the core educators in the Seeds of Peace Model Schools Initiative and Peaceful Learning Environment workshops, a set of highly effective and inspiring programs that took place from 2007 to 2009, which have left an impact that is still felt and appreciated on the ground.

How are you impacting your community?

I am an educational and community leader who has worked in a number of local organizations in the fields of peace education, communication, nonviolence, and human rights. I was a teacher of English language and a school principal for UNRWA schools for more than 40 years. Since retiring, I have dedicated myself to the empowerment of Palestinian society in marginal areas, particularly Palestinian children in the Arroub Refugee Camp, where I spent much of my life.

Over the past two decades, Palestinian society has gone through significant economic, social, and political upheavals. Values have shifted, as have the relationships between different groups in society and between individuals and governing institutions. These changes have had a pronounced effect on Palestinians in refugee camps, particularly children who lack access to opportunity.

I am starting the Arroub Community Center, which strives to empower youth in the Arroub Refugee Camp in the West Bank. I plan to create a peaceful, active learning environment with activities that encourage the imagination, critical thinking, social and civic engagement, life skills, and academic success. The workshops and activities at the community center are part of my larger vision to enhance the children’s abilities to achieve their potentials and to play active roles in public life both within their refugee camp and beyond.

EDUCATION

• Education Institute in Amman, Diploma in School Administration
• Bethlehem University, BA in English Language and Literature

“I had and still have the chance to converse with the other Fellows about important topics, to exchange new ideas and thoughts of how to apply peace education in our society. The Arroub Community Center I’m working on helps to create a safe and peaceful environment for our school children by organizing recreation activities such as painting, sports, dancing, singing, and volunteer work. It enables school children to be aware of their rights and lets parents be aware of the needs of their school children to engage in such activities.”