As seen in Greater Good Magazine on May 14, 2019
Intergroup contact can help bridge divides, under certain conditions.
… For many American adolescents, summer camp is the first opportunity they get to spend time away from their families and work together with other kids their age on shared goals.
In 1993, journalist John Wallach teamed up with social worker Bobbie Gottschalk and camp director Tim Wilson to apply this concept to peace-building between diverse groups of kids. They brought together a group of 46 Israeli, Palestinian, Egyptian, and American teenagers to inaugurate the first Seeds of Peace camp. The teenagers who attended, known as the Seeds, then attended the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords at the White House, as President Bill Clinton asked them to join Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli leader Yitzhak Rabin on the lawn of the White House.
Since then, Seeds of Peace has graduated thousands of alumni who have gone on to pursue the goal of peace and understanding between groups of people who are often at odds. At the actual camp site in Maine, the teenagers come together and engage in face-to-face activities that promote their immersion with each other, including sharing meals and living spaces. Every day, they get about 110 minutes of professionally facilitated dialogue that involves sharing personal experiences and perspectives while also being exposed to the stories from others.