The Seeds of Peace Center for Coexistence in Jerusalem held activities in seven main categories: Intensive Dialogue, Public Presentations, Creative Expression, Leadership Training and Empowerment, Enhancing Knowledge and Raising Awareness, Experiential Learning, and Written Expression. Read an article about the Center’s opening »
Advanced Coexistence Program: (2000-2006) Twice a month, Coexistence Groups of 12-18 Palestinian and Israeli Seeds met for an advanced-level dialogue on all the issues pertaining to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Special Coexistence: (2001-2002) Expressing themselves through drama, music, movement and writing, the participants of Special Coexistence underwent a deep and meaningful exploration of the emotional impact the conflict has left on each other and ways to work together both to heal and to be empowered to make a change.
Coexistence Marathon: (2001-2006) The Coexistence Program culminated in a two-day marathon of intensive dialogue interspersed with fun activities designed to create strong bonds within members of each Coexistence Group.
Check-in Meetings: (2000-2006) These meetings, held all over Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, were designed for the participants to share what they had been facing in recent months, how they had met the challenges and obstacles they confronted, and what discouraged and inspired them. The meetings were mixed-age, giving the younger Seeds the opportunity to learn from the wider experience of the older Seeds, and allowing the older Seeds to be re-invigorated by the energy and optimism of the younger Seeds.
Video Dialogue Project: (2001-2006) In the beginning of the Intifada, Palestinians and Israeli Seeds could not meet face to face. Video dialogue became an essential tool for Israeli and Palestinian Seeds to maintain contact and dialogue with each other. Seeds exchanged personal messages with friends, gave vital information about what they face in their lives, and asked questions to each other. Over 100 Israeli and Palestinian Seeds participated in the Video Dialogue project, and the project expanded to include dialogue between Egyptian and Jordanian Seeds with their Israeli and Palestinian counterparts.
School and Community Presentations: (1997-2006) Israeli and Palestinian Seeds spoke in front of high school audiences and community leaders of up to 150 people, sharing their experiences with Seeds of Peace and fielding questions from the audience. Seeds gained poise and self-confidence as they spoke in front of large groups, while honing their ability to deliver their message in a way that the audience would hear with receptive interest. Presentations in Cairo and Alexandria were planned by the Egyptian Seeds as well.
Education Team: (2001-2002) Trained Arab and Jewish Seeds led a self-developed curriculum addressing tolerance and racism to Jewish and Arab primary schools.
Parent Program: (2003-2006) Israeli and Palestinian parents of Seeds of Peace participants met and talked on a monthly basis, fueling their support for the Seeds of Peace program and their children and enlarging the circle of people that come in contact directly with Seeds of Peace and with constructive dialogue with “the other side.”
Bring a Friend: (2000-2006) Seeds of Peace has hosted dozens of “Bring a Friend” events. In these gatherings, Seeds of Peace members bring their friends to the Center to have an encounter with the other Seeds and their friends as well, thereby spreading the values of tolerance and belief in the productiveness of dialogue to their circle of close friends, and increasing the impact of the program. Over 200 Israeli and Palestinian teenagers who didn’t have the opportunity to go to the camp in Maine have experienced coexistence and dialogue with “the other side” through the Seeds of Peace Bring a Friend program.
Community Service Teams: (2001-2006) Serving as role models for Jewish and Arab children, Seeds participants volunteered at an after-school center in a disadvantaged neighborhood in Jaffa, a mixed Arab-Jewish city. The Seeds were thrust into a genuine position of leadership with the children as they guided them through their homework and the values of coexistence, tolerance, and mutual respect. Seeds also collected food, clothing and toys to distribute to needy Palestinian and Israeli communities. In total, four groups of Jewish and Arab Seeds all over the country planned and executed service projects in their communities.
Sesame Seeds: (2003-2006) In conjunction with educational experts from Sesame Workshops, which produces Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian TV shows that promote tolerance and cross-cultural understanding, a group of Seeds designed a curriculum that brought into schools, reaching primary-school-aged youth with those messages and with their own example.
Peace of Mind: (1997-1999) Seven Israeli and Palestinian teenagers filmed, produced, and edited the only youth-produced Israeli and Palestinian documentary. Peace of Mind is still shown in festivals and symposia and participating Seeds are frequently invited to be guest speakers at such events.
The Color of Friendship: (2000-2003) Palestinian and Israeli Seeds jointly wrote a puppet-show script that embraced values of tolerance and respect. The project was executed entirely by Seeds, including puppet-building, set-painting, and developing pre- and post-show interactive activities.
Photography Course: (Summer 2000) Through the lens of a camera, Palestinian and Israeli Seeds explored their own identity, the identity of each other, and the places and people that comprise the fabric of their lives.
Pieces for Peace: (Summer 2000) Led by a team of Jewish and Arab artists from the Pieces for Peace project, 50 Seeds created a painted mural, as well as a mosaic born from images in their lives.
Seeds of Peace Center Art: (2000-2006) Israeli and Palestinian Seeds turned the Center into a visual treat by creating together a colored cement mural wall outside, a mosaic tower leading up the central staircase, and a colorful “Dream Quilt” where the hopes and dreams of Palestinian and Israeli Seeds of Peace youth are stitched together.
Holiday of Holidays; Turtle “Salvador Bobbie”: (2002) As part of the Holiday of Holidays celebration in Haifa, the theme being “The Mediterranean,” Seeds created a giant colorful cement turtle in Haifa. Local Arab and Jewish children climb and play on it together, adding to the richness of the neighborhood.
Acting Out!: (2003-2006) Using acting, puppetry, storytelling and music, a group of 15 Israeli and Palestinian Seeds of Peace participants created a performance imbedded with messages they saw as important to the mission of Seeds of Peace. The show was performed for family audiences at the Center for Coexistence and toured Arab and Jewish communities.
Seeds of Peace Regional Talent Shows: (Summers 2000-2003) The summers of 2000 and 2003 ended with Seeds performing for each other their varied talents. Dancing, singing, acting, comedy and musical performances in Arabic, Hebrew and English filled the stage.
Leadership Training and Empowerment
Holiday of Holidays Festival: (2001-2006) Seeds of Peace plays a central role in the city of Haifa’s annual multi-religion, multi-ethnic festival. Seeds created a booth at the festival where they positively interact with and engage hundreds of members of the Haifa community, explaining the goals and values of Seeds of Peace, face-painting scores of youth, and applying wildly popular Seeds of Peace-branded water-based tattoos.
Older Seeds in Leadership Roles: (2001-2006) As participants mature, they lead the younger Seeds. Older Seeds are serving as volunteer staff members at seminars for newer Seeds, leading Advanced Coexistence groups, and are working at the summer camp as counselors.
Facilitation Training: (2001-2006) Seeds who have completed both an introductory and advanced coexistence program were eligible to enroll in facilitation training at the Center. Through observation, role play, discussion of theory and practice, and supervised hands-on experience, Seeds learn skills needed to facilitate meaningful dialogue.
Graduate Program: (2003-2006) The Graduates (Seeds of Peace participants who have graduated high school and, in some cases, have completed their army service or university) are the largest population in the Seeds of Peace community. Each year this group will continue to expand and want programming geared towards mature young adults. We want to challenge and stimulate these young adults to test ways to become true leaders in their society, developing inter-communal tolerance in their professional, student, or volunteer lives.
Bi-national Leadership Training Wilderness Program: Based on an Outward Bound course conducted in the United States, 8 to 10 Israelis and Palestinians prepared a three-day hike together in the Judean Desert. During their time in the desert they were challenged with increasingly difficult tasks they needed to solve as a group. At the end of each day the group met to discuss the day’s challenges, with specific focus on how they worked as a bi-national group.
Enhancing Knowledge and Raising Awareness
Seminars: Several times a year, Palestinian and Israeli Seeds gathered together at the Center for intense discussion and exploration of a specific topic relevant to them as young peace-makers living in an area of violent conflict. The atmosphere at the seminars is similar to Camp, encouraging strong personal interaction and the growth of friendships new and old. Seminar topics have included the media, human rights, leadership, religion and peace and the Golan Heights.
Lectures, Panels, Speakers: (2001-2006) Societal leaders ranging from literary greats such as Sami Mikhail and Samikh Il-Kassam to political figures such as Dan Kurtzer and General Anthony Zinni spoke with Seeds on a wide variety of topics. They actively engaged in post-lecture discussions, challenging themselves and the speakers alike with articulate and intelligent questions.
“Mother Tongue” Language Workshops: (2001-2006) Although living side by side, many Israelis and Palestinians cannot communicate in each other’s native languages. Based on a strong belief that leaders for peace should know each other’s languages, and that language is a key for deeper understanding, Seeds of Peace launched a program where Israeli and Palestinian Seeds taught each other the basics of Hebrew and Arabic.
Mediation/Negotiation Workshops and Courses: (2002-2006) As the leaders of the future, Graduate Seeds (past the age of 18) learn how to apply their knowledge and understanding of each other through developing the concrete skills involved in specific problem-solving.
Media Course: 15 participants in Seeds of Peace participated in a Seeds of Peace-sponsored media course. Working with Israeli and Palestinian professional journalists, the Seeds gained skills in writing articles, making commentary, and how to critically interpret and analyze both television and newspaper media.
Cultural Pot-Luck Open House: (2001-2006) Over platefuls of delicious multicultural recipes, reflecting the wide variance of ethnic backgrounds the Seeds encompass, Arab and Jewish families came together at an annual cultural potluck dinner at the Center. Families forged trusting connections and listened to music performed by local musicians.
Trips/Home Visits: (1996-2006) When Seeds have the opportunity to see and experience each other’s realities first-hand, it affects them profoundly. Before the Intifada, Seeds from Israel and the West Bank regularly visited each other’s homes, cities, and schools and traveled to Jordan and Egypt. Currently, Jewish-Israeli and Arab-Israeli Seeds tour each other’s cities and villages, and Israeli and Palestinian Seeds from Jerusalem exchange holiday meals and family visits.
The Olive Branch: (starting in 1996) Our quarterly magazine is written by Seeds from 27 different countries. Not only do Israeli and Palestinian Seeds develop as writers; they also learn international perspectives on relevant issues from other active Seeds worldwide.
SeedsNet: (1998-2007) Over a daily Internet bulletin, Seeds embarked on discussions of every conceivable topic related to coexistence.