MEPEACE hosted sixteen community-building encounters in 2009. Four Peace Cafés helped us develop an effective model for dialogue to engage and inspire the online and on-the-ground communities.
January 2 – Beit Jalla's Talitha Kumi
We scheduled this Peace Café to begin 2009 together as a community for peace and then war broke out. We stuck with the event to give people hope and opportunity to voice themselves. 40 peacemakers braved overcame road closures and restrictions on movement to attend the Peace Café which focused on the war.
The Associated Press and Reuters covered the event, and thousands of people knew about the event.
Because of the circumstances, this Café began with a listening circle where people shared feelings, empathy, anger, compassion, understanding and hope.
March 7 – Cleveland, OH
MEPEACE invited the people and groups in Cleveland who are engaged in efforts to transform the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. The community of activists was invited to meet, share their stories, and reflect on a time when some of these diverse communities came together successfully.
The event drew Imams, Rabbis, and community activists. More than 50 attended the event, organized by Sue Wolpert, one our passionate peacemakers in Cleveland. The theme was “Cooperation” and table topics included: Share a story, Cooperation, Commitment, Sharing in common, Involving others, Networking, Past experience, Skills and resources.
March 27 – Beit Jalla's Talitha Kumi
The theme for the Café was “taboo issues” and conversation topics were: What do I know? What is Occupation? What is Peace? What is "Zionism"? One state or two states? Israeli Politics, Palestinian Politics, Personal Stories and My Commitment. This Café attracted 70 peacemakers.
Following the Peace Café, Palestinian leaders in the organization were called for questioning by the Palestinian intelligence for their role in organizing an event which contributes to 'normalization' with Israelis. This event challenged the MEPEACE leadership and affected the joint planning of events on the ground.
April 25 – Tantur
This Peace Café happened in Tantur at IPCRI's Peace Education Workshop in Tantur. 30 educators and students - Palestinian, Israeli, and International - participated.
MEPEACE benefited from the exposure of the Peace Café to educators, non-profit workers, peace activists, and practitioners in peace education who participate at the conference hosted by IPCRI, the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information to promote and inform peace education. Eyal Raviv and Hiba Hamzeh hosted the Peace Café with the help of Neri Bar On and the videographer Constantin Ain Grossman. The theme for this Peace Café was “Leadership and building the MEPEACE internet leadership program”.
September 11 – Interfaith Shabbat and Iftar Dinner – Beit Jalla's Talitha Kumi
On September 11, 2009, MEPEACE hosted a Shabbat/Iftar Dinner honoring the victims of September 11, 2001. The dinner aimed to share humanity, build bridges and seek peace, marking the memory of September 11 with hope and promise for our shared future.
Photo credit: Nico Neiman
MEPEACE's interfaith Shabbat and Iftar dinner
One hundred thirty participants arrived in Beit Jalla for the event. People came from from Nablus, Jericho, Ramallah, Beit Jalla, Hezma, Hebron, East and West Jerusalem, Haifa, Tel Aviv... With us were peacemakers from the US, Germany, France, Cyprus, South Africa and Australia. Thank you all! Beyond the Middle East, this event received media interest from Italy, Denmark, the US, the UK, Spain and China. We are communicating the message that people of all faiths can come together for peace.
Our peacemakers sat together at one huge interconnected table. Dinner began as the Ramadan fast day ended and a wide variety of traditional foods was served. The program began after the meal. After welcoming remarks and thanks to the team, Eyal Raviv presented MEPEACE and what is possible. We shared a moment of silence commemorating the tragedy, honoring the victims of that day and of our conflict, and reflecting on the peace we have and can have.
The education program continued with a discussion of the Iftar and Ramadan, and questions and answers from the crowd. A discussion of Shabbat followed. Information sheets were distributed with the customs and traditions in Arabic, English and Hebrew. Everyone in the room got to share his/her name name and birth month. We concluded by singing Happy Birthday to Lisa, in Arabic, Hebrew and English. The songs we share symbolize our shared striving for peace.
Media coverage for the event:
NTDTV video and article in English: http://english.ntdtv.com/ntdtv_en/ns_me/2009-09-14/575245052029.html
Ecumenical News International: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/10258
Ha'aretz: “The Ethnic Groups that Eat Together”: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1115618.html
Berlingske (in Danish): http://www.berlingske.dk/verden/fredsforsoeg-over-kylling-og-humus
Epoch Times (in Hebrew): http://www.epochtimes.co.il/news/content/view/12288/85/
MEPEACE photo album of dinner: http://www.mepeace.org/photo/albums/mepeace-interfaith-dinner
MEPEACE "PEACE TALKS"
Eleven 'Peace Talks' events in Jaffa, Jerusalem, New York and Washington enabled peacemakers to meet MEPEACE and each other in relaxed Café settings. 'Peace Talks' are effective monthly forums enabling small groups to network for peace in person.
February 13 – Jaffa – Introduction to MEPEACE and conversation on topics from from peacemaking to politics
March - 15 - New York – Meeting of Americans, brainstorming on purpose and responsibility
April 10 – Jaffa – Discussed video projects for peace, religious-secular tensions in Israel, and an upcoming event
May 8 – Jaffa – Conversation on future directions for the organization
June 19 – Jaffa –Connected on the opportunities for volunteering within the peace movement
July 31 – Jaffa – Discussed the formation of a team of technologists
August 21 – Jerusalem – Brainstorming in preparation for the September 11th dinner
September 4 – Jaffa – Planning and delegation of duties for the dinner on September 11th
October 18 - New York – Invitation for New Yorkers to learn about MEPEACE. Produced a New York 'Chapter'
October 25 – Washington – Opportunity for peacemakers in Washington DC to meet and learn about MEPEACE November 27 – Jaffa – Brainstorming about 2010 and leadership development for the organization
Last updated by Eyal Raviv Dec 12, 2009.