In Focus

Investing in the Future: Working with Youth

Younger Israelis and Palestinians were born into the conflict and grew up experiencing repeated rounds of violence. They have never seen real, substantive negotiations, and have no idea what a peace process looks like. That is one of the reasons that public opinion polls always find that the younger they are the less they believe a peace agreement is achievable.
As Israelis and Palestinians who have been working together for over a decade to advance peace, it is our duty to tell the younger generation what living in peace and security can look like, and to encourage them to imagine a more hopeful future. 
On March 28th, the Geneva Initiative's Director of Public Relations, Gilly Harpaz, spoke to a group of 18 year-olds at the Amichai preparatory program ("Mechina"), which prepares Israeli high school graduates for serving in the IDF. She told them, "They tell you that there will always be wars and that is just how things are here in Israel. But the truth is that you deserve a better future. And it's up to you to shape this future." Let us all not only imagine, but work towards this better and more peaceful future.




The Geneva Initiative's new political course in Ashkelon


After concluding several successful political courses across the country (including in Afula, Ashdod and Ramat-Gan), the Geneva Initiative ran a course in the southern city of Ashkelon throughout February and March. Next on the agenda: a tour of east Jerusalem and a workshop with graduates of a parallel Palestinian course.
The course attracted a very diverse group of highly politically active participants, including members of the local council, managers of educational and cultural centers operating in the city and party activists from very diverse ideological backgrounds. 




Key Palestinian and Israeli opinion leaders and political activists met in Nazareth for a weekend seminar

On February 10-11, the Geneva Initiative brought together 20 senior opinion leaders and political activists from Israel and Palestine for two days of lectures, discussions and joint work in the city of Nazareth. The weekend seminar focused on key issues of the conflict and solutions proposed by the Geneva Initiative, and provided participants with detailed knowledge and a toolkit for promoting the two-state solution. It also demonstrated to the participants that there remains a partner for peace on the other side. As one Israeli participant said, "getting to know the Palestinian group made me realize that people on the other side want peace just as I do".

Capacity Building Seminar for Young Leaders in Ramallah

In early February, a group of 45 Palestinian young leaders took part in a two-day capacity building seminar Ramallah. The seminar provided the participants with detailed knowledge of the conflict and a toolkit to promote the two-state solution.
On the first day of the seminar, the group met with Nidal Foqaha, The Palestinian Director General of the Geneva Initiative, and discussed recent political developments in Palestine, Israel and the region and their impact on the Middle East Peace Process. Foqaha also spoke about youth involvement in the political and democratic process and identified some of the tools young Palestinians like themselves can use, like campaigning and advocacy.


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