American Friends introduces you to the Israeli and Palestinian Board Chairs of the Parents Circle-Families Forum. Both Wajeeh Tumaizee and Yael Admi lost brothers to the violence in Israel and Palestine, and both have dedicated their time and leadership to the Parents Circle and its mission.
Hear and read from Bassam Aramin, the Parents Circle’s Palestinian spokesperson, about his youth in Palestine, and how his time in an Israeli prison and the loss of his daughter Abir to the conflict caused a radical change in his heart, from hatred to peace. From the NPR article:
Bassam Aramin was not born hating Israel, but he learned young.
He was 5 or 6 years old the first time he saw Israeli soldiers. This was about a decade after the 1967 war, when Israel captured the West Bank. Aramin’s large family lived an ancient lifestyle. Like many families in the area, their home was in a cave in the south, near Hebron. They farmed for a living.
Now 46, Aramin looks back on a fast track to hating and to fighting Israel that would be familiar to many Palestinians. But eventually he flipped — both his worldview and his ways.
He credits a very unexpected stir of empathy that happened in an unexpected place.
Congratulations to the Parents Circle’s Israeli spokesperson, Robi Damelin! Robi was honored yesterday at SXSW’s Dewey Winburne Community Service Awards ceremony for her continued and brave work in peacebuilding and reconciliation in Israel and Palestine. From the SXSW webpage for the awards:
Dewey Winburne was one of the original co-founders of the SXSW Interactive Festival, but he was many other things in the Austin community: a family man, a teacher, a visionary, a connector and an innovator. He believed that technology could bridge the digital divide and help those less fortunate than others. Although Winburne passed away in 1999, his legacy continues. His life exemplified how one individual can truly make an impact in their community.
The Dewey Awards celebrate the spirit of community in Austin that we think is unique to SXSW. Each spring, ten recipients are recognized for their use of digital technology to help others. Each honoree will receive a complimentary registration to SXSW, a $1,000 grant to their favorite 501(c)(3) and a chance to spread the word about their work to the SXSW community.
A short film that was made by students in Nesher high-school about PCFF members – Muhammad Al-Bau and Iris Segev. The students won the 2014 Haifa film festival 1st place award for high school students.
Today, on International Women’s Day, we celebrate the work of the bereaved Palestinian and Israeli women of the Parents Circle and their personal journeys towards reconciliation.
Last summer, the American Friends of the Parents Circle successfully raised funds that went towards training 45 Israeli and Palestinian women to become stronger leaders for peace. The trainings have strengthened their capacity to facilitate dialogue meetings, improved their public speaking skills and provided them with storytelling coaching from veteran facilitators.
With more trained female facilitators, the Parents Circle is better equipped to hold “Women to Women” Dialogue meetings. Newly trained female facilitators have held two Women to Women Dialogue Meetings since their training. By sharing their personal narratives of loss and and their choice of reconciliation, the women draw the groups together. Individuals from the “other side” are no longer seen as enemies to be hated or feared but as humans who want to be acknowledged and respected.
This past weekend, more than 150 Israeli and Palestinian Parents Circle members, staff and alumni of the Parents Circle’s Narrative Project marched together in solidarity at the Freedom March in honor of International Women’s Day.
As part of PCFF’s “Narratives for Change” project, Israeli and Palestinian women come together regularly for “Women to Women” Dialogue meetings. Here, the participants are given a safe space to share personal narratives about those they’ve lost in the conflict, and to share questions, expectations, fears, and hopes about ongoing reconciliation and peace efforts.
Thank you to all who generously contributed to our Indiegogo campaign and for helping make this opportunity possible for so many women!