Throughout the world, people are starting to realize that citizens need to stand up and be heard in their efforts to end the conflict. Even government leaders recognize the power of civil society. President Barack Obama recently stated, “We must also build on our efforts to broaden our engagement beyond elites, so that we reach the people who will shape the future – particularly young people.”
President Obama’s address on the Middle East highlighted OneVoice’s guiding principle – that fulfilling the legitimate aspirations of ordinary Israelis and Palestinians to reach a two-state solution is necessary to achieving a peaceful and democratic Middle East. The Arab Spring has taught us that, indeed, the grassroots has the power to mobilize their societies to make this dream a reality.
The continuation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict affects all of us. OneVoice’s international programs provide an opportunity for citizens to be engaged on the issues in their local communities and, at the same time, have a global impact.
In just two semesters, the International Education Program (IEP) engaged over 3,000 American students and community members across 39 campuses and 11 states. Five exemplary pairs of Israeli and Palestinian youth leaders addressed Americans at some of the country’s most polarized universities, synagogues, mosques, as well as non-traditional forums like Gallaudet, the only liberal arts university for deaf students in the world. We also engaged influencers from around the world at policymaking institutions such as the Woodrow Wilson International Center and the United Nations. Learn more»
In the United Kingdom, 2011 saw the launch of a new Outreach and Education Program, with specially designed conflict resolution training for students and community members. Around 700 people have been reached so far this year and our UK office will be building on this success in the fall. Learn more»
Our youth leaders and staff brought their personal narratives and messages of hope and pragmatism to international conferences. From the World Perspective Seminar just outside Madrid to the UN Alliance of Civilizations Civil Society Pre-Forum in Doha, representatives of OneVoice networked with other activists, learned new valuable skills to advance their work, and spread awareness about OneVoice initiatives. Learn more»
And now we challenge you, our international supporters, to ask yourselves: What is your role in reaching an end to this conflict? You’ve already shown us your commitment by launching OneVoice chapters and hosting IEP events in your campuses and congregations. We want you to take your role a step further. If you haven’t held an IEP event before – commit to doing it this year. If you have already taken a leadership role, redouble your commitment to recruit others to our movement. If you have been inspired by an IEP event, propose a creative local initiative to amplify the voices of the Israeli and Palestinian moderate majority. Join the IEP tab on our Facebook page and make your commitment to action.
IEP Manager Rachel Steinberg recently wrote in PolicyMic, “Young people in the Arab world have realized their power, and have taken responsibility for activism to create change.” We’re counting on our international supporters to realize THEIR role, and understand that their local actions can have a global impact. Join the conversation on Facebook today.