As we approach the beginning of a new year, we want to share some of the highlights from 2016 with you, a partner in our work:
1. Launched Taking Steps – Bereaved parents Robi Damelin and Bassam Aramin visited U.S. Congress to officially launch our new social business, Taking Steps in the Path for Peace, on International Peace Day. This event was hosted by Rep. Diane DeGette, with support from more than 20 other congressmen and women
2. Held Silent Walks – Groups across the U.S held Silent Walks in solidarity with messages of peace and reconciliation. Participants wore Taking Steps patches, laces, and shoes– hand-embroidered with the Bird of Peace. Silent Walks were held at Tufts University (Medford, MA), Congregation Kol Ami (White Plains, NY), and as part of the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom’s 2016 Muslim & Jewish Women Leadership Conference.
4. Represented by Youth Peace Delegations – We were honored to send 3 groups of Israeli and Palestinian youth/young adult peace leaders to serve as representatives to Koyasan, Japan, where they met the Japanese Prime Minister, and to Italy, where Israeli and Palestinian youth met and engaged with Italian youth. Learn more about our Young Ambassadors for Peace.
5. Increased Female Facilitators – This year, we saw a 70% increase in the number of female facilitators for our activities, including delegations abroad, narrative groups, and dialogue meetings. The remarkable growth in the number of bereaved female leaders in the Parents Circle owes much to the great success of our 2015 Indiegogo campaign, Israeli and Palestinian Women Become Peace Leaders.
6. Midwest Tour & New Israeli General Director – We were honored to speak to groups in Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois. Our bereaved speakers were hosted by churches, synagogues, and other groups in the Midwest to share their powerful stories of loss, peace, and reconciliation. We were delighted to have Rami Elhanan, the new Israeli General Director of the Parents Circle, as one of the speakers. Rami lost his 13-year-old daughter, Smadar, when she was killed in a suicide bombing in Jerusalem in September, 1997.
All of these amazing accomplishments were made possible by contributions made by our friends and supporters. Thank you for your help and support this year!