By: Huda Kondus, Facilitator for Building a Culture of Peace, writes about the Palestinian youth seminar:
I arrived to the seminar with high expectations because the seminar’s topics of religion and gender are very important to me, and also because it was the first uni-national seminar we run at Sadaka-Reut. At first I was worried that the youth would feel uncomfortable to talk about these issues, which are sensitive in our society, but I discovered brave youth who love to share and accept opinions different than their own. They were fired up by the topics and finally had a space to open up and discuss them.
What I like most about Sadaka-Reut is that we educate to accept the other. During workshops and activities we don’t tell the youth what is right and what to think, we let them search for answers, get to know themselves and their wants and needs, think critically with themselves and about others’ opinions, and only then talk about the other and accepting the other. Do we accept the other? As an atheist, do I accept the girl who chose to wear a Hijab (head scarf)? As an observant religious person, do I accept those who are different then me? The one who is religious in her own way? These questions concern me today as they did in the past, and probably will in the future. It was a wonderful experience to pass on my questions and dilemmas to these brave youth. I’ve learnt from them so much!
The Building a Culture of Peace seminar took place on February 2015 at Oasis of Peace (Neve Shalom / Wahat a Salaam) hotel with youth groups from Ramle, Kafr Qasim, Taiybeh and Jaffa. It is the first year in which the project works in its new two-year structure, with most of the first year activities being uni-national, including a seminar and nation-wide activities; during the second year, activities are in bi-national groups. The main purpose is to enable a deep and meaningful change process before moving on to the more challenging bi-national level, which requires a deep commitment to the process from our youth.