Karen

Palestinian Delegation Leader, 2010

IMPACT: SOCIAL

How has Seeds of Peace had an impact on you?

Here is this Ohio girl, born and raised in a military family, whose only cultural experience was eating keilbasa once a year, who ends up married to a Palestinian, living in a conservative Muslim community, working with youth and educators, and creating programs to encourage peace-building, community activism, youth leadership and cross-border communication. How did I get here?

Seeds of Peace has helped me to grow as part of my community in Palestine. Although I had lived here for around 12 years, I had been busy in my own home, being a wife and mother. I didn’t concern myself with what was going on around me, culturally or politically. I pretty much just buried myself in the everyday tasks of life. Because of my son’s experience with Seeds of Peace (he was a Seed in 2000)—the changes I saw in him and the awareness that he brought to our home of the urgency of cross-border communication—I decided to check out opportunities for me to get involved.

How are you impacting your community?

I am the Director of the Peaceful Education Community Center in Tulkarem and the Palestinian Coordinator for the Women of Action group.

I was asked to recruit educators for the Peaceful Environment Workshops. I eventually became part of these workshops, too. I then did the Model Schools Initiative and became a trainer.

This gave me the ability and confidence to open up my own educational community center in Tulkarem. We offer English training and workshops on communication skills, leadership, and peace-building. We also hold film screenings to create awareness of the political situation in our country and around the world, and recruit and support youth to participate in various local and cross-border programs. Four of my own children have been involved with Seeds of Peace in addition to other youth peace, cross-border communication and leadership programs. However, the icing on the cake is the dozens of students and educators I’ve recruited to Seeds of Peace and other such programs. If I die tomorrow, I would know that my life had meaning.

“I feel that through my work I've given birth to a whole new generation of peace-builders and leaders. I can see some of these young people already becoming responsible in their community, passing on the many life-lessons, skills and awareness of the importance of peace-building, the importance of holding yourself accountable for your actions and inactions.

I truly believe that if you are not a part of the solution you are part of the problem. My work with Seeds of Peace is a legacy to be proud of and that will live on.”