New York, November 10, 2010–Israeli and Palestinian youth leaders, Eliran Eyal and Mohammad Asideh brought the Image 2018 campaign to the forefront of International Education Program (IEP) tour events in San Diego, on Tuesday and Wednesday. The two continued to represent the moderate majority and inspired many at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and San Diego State University (SDSU) campuses.
Both Eliran and Mohammad felt that events in San Diego had brought forth the most constructive dialogue of the tour so far. Dr. Oren Meyers, a visiting Israeli professor, and Dr. Farid Abdel-Nour, a Palestinian professor, were both in attendance at the SDSU event and made brief remarks. Professor Abdel-Nour was particularly impressed with the Imagine 2018 campaign because he believes it addresses a reoccurring issue.
“Are people agreeing to just have an idea that there be two states, or are people agreeing about the very clear vision of what it means to speak of two states?” He asked and then continued, “It seems to me that the OneVoice movement has that under control. I assume that you’re talking it out, and that’s honest.”
For this first time in the history of the IEP tour, those in attendance had been asked to brainstorm ideas about they can do to amplify the voice of the Imagine 2018 campaign on within their own communities. OneVoice has been asking people around the world to share how they envision Israel and Palestine in the year 2018 if there were to be a peace agreement, versus maintaining the toxic status quo.
Students at both UCSD and SDSU pitched several great ideas, including the construction of a community garden to promote a healthy tomorrow, the planting of olive trees, a storied symbol of the Middle East, on campuses, an Israeli and Palestinian cultural festival, and an interactive mural depicting an end to the conflict.
“The most fascinating aspect of the event was hearing the individual stories from the Israeli youth leader [Eliran Eyal] and the Palestinian youth leader [Mohammad Asideh],” said Melissa Etehad, founder of the Jewish Students Taking Action for Peace group that had sponsored the UCSD event. “I felt that they had such amazing stories and experiences and that this was a great opportunity for them to let people know about what life is really like in Israel and the West Bank. This was such a rare opportunity to hear firsthand from Israelis and Palestinians about the conflict, and let alone be in the same room together. Most importantly, however, is the fact that this event set a positive, inspiring tone that left an impression on people who attended that they can make a difference in pursuing a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict rather than following the trend of falling into the common polarized spectrum especially on college campus.”
The greatest strength of OneVoice's IEP tour is its ability to bring people of dissenting opinions together. This resonates through our diverse audience at events who, while they may not always agree on the issues, will gather to participate in a conversation about the future.