JERUSALEM | Over 700 Seeds, parents, educators, and friends convened in Jericho on February 27 and Tel Aviv on March 4 for two GATHER Community Days in Palestine and Israel to recognize the impact our alumni are having in their communities and take part in workshops, trainings, and networking sessions.
GATHER is a Seeds of Peace initiative that supports practical action to advance social change and impact conflict. The day-long convenings marked the first time ever that Seeds of Peace has brought together the full range of alumni—from Seeds of all ages to Educators and Fellows—alongside external supporters and stakeholders, including members of other organizations working for peace change.
“This is the first Seeds of Peace activity I attended in a while,” said one participant. “I was reminded how beautiful this organization is. I’m so happy I came. I want to be involved again.”
Seeds of Peace Community Day Palestine
In Jericho, the GATHER Community Day was held at the Oasis Hotel and included sessions that highlighted the ways in which Seeds, Educators, Fellows, and other organizations, including Combatants for Peace and Just Vision, are working for change within Palestine. Seed-led panels tackled topics ranging from community empowerment, to gender and politics and resisting the status quo.
Forty attendees from Gaza were able to attend the event. Dr. Mohammed Isleem, Director of Middle East Programs for Seeds of Peace in Gaza, spoke about the Shijaeya Community Project that provides opportunities for children in the devastated Gaza neighborhood to engage in active learning, critical thinking, creativity, and social awareness, and GATHER Fellow Rasha shared her efforts to secure tech jobs for young Gazans.
During a luncheon for participants, Seeds and staff shared the way in which Seeds of Peace has evolved its programming over the years in response to changes on the ground and to better address the needs of Seeds and Educators.
The GATHER Community Day was attended by representatives from a wide array of organizations, including the Alliance for Middle East Peace, the Office of the Quartet, and the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information, and the Palestine Liberation Organization. The US Consul General in Jerusalem Donald Blome also spoke to the participants about the vital role of youth leadership as a catalyst for change in the region.
“Seeing you all reinforces my own hope that the future of peace in this region is not as dark as some would describe it,” said Blome.
Seeds of Peace Community Day Israel
The GATHER Community Day in Tel Aviv took place at the Dan Panorama Hotel and included panel discussions, workshops, and lectures focused on inspiring change and accelerating the impact of initiatives led by Seeds of Peace alumni.
Participants heard from speakers like Iddo, a Seed, high school teacher, and New Visions for Peace Fellow from Jerusalem who is challenging his students to think critically about the conflict.
The US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro attended the event, along with representatives from nearly a dozen organizations in Israel including Tsofen, Hand in Hand, Sikkuy, and the Israel Women’s Network.
Over 450 participants attended a luncheon highlighting the ways Seeds of Peace alumni are impacting their communities.
GATHER COMMUNITY DAYS