How can one solve an ancient conflict? Is it possible for reconciliation to occur after years, even centuries, of dispute? How can one even attempt to play a constructive role in such a conflict? Seeds of Peace has attempted to make a change in such ancient battles as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Over the course of this paper, I will show how the organization has entered the fray, and how this intervention has opened up individuals to some of the roles highlighted in The Third Side. I will also discuss how introducing such a change to a system can have an impact on the situation, as studied by Wilmot and Hocker. As I discuss the components of the program and their application to the course
[...] He began learning to facilitate dialogue sessions between Arabs and Israelis at the Seeds of Peace Center in Jerusalem before his military service (Paulson 2003). Over the course of the summer program, the delegates take on the roles of William Ury's proposed third side. Individuals learn to play these roles at the camp, and they, in turn, can export these new strategies to their homelands. One of these roles is that of the teacher. Another is the bridge- builder. The teacher gives others the tools necessary to deal with conflict in a constructive manner (Ury 125). [...]
[...] If relationships do not matter, there is little reason for parties engaged in conflict to make any attempt to change themselves and transform their conflict situation (Wilmot and Hocker 212) The concepts of restraint and revenge are important to consider in light of the conflict that Israeli-Palestinian delegates are coming out of. Restraint is self-control that prevents one from undertaking retaliatory actions. Revenge, on the other hand, is the exact opposite of restraint. One seeking revenge may wish to deter future unfair treatment, may have an exaggerated view of the other's power to harm, may long to revenge an injustice, or may have become locked into a spiral of feuding and vengeance in which the original conflict has been overshadowed by vengeful acts (221). [...]
[...] A trusting environment is cultivated, and the campers operate as a community within that set of rules. Venting is certainly encouraged, but the virulent hatred and senseless violence often experienced in troubled areas of the Middle East would be completely unacceptable to the camp community (Seeds of Peace). Facilitators like Marieke Von-woerkom teach the delegates to think critically and talk their problems out (Paulson 2002). Former campers like Marieke return as facilitators to continue the cycle of imbuing practical conflict resolution skills in subsequent sets of delegates (Campbell). [...]
[...] According to the Seeds of Peace Website, ropes and initiatives course provides them with additional challenges that are designed to foster self-discovery, confidence, teamwork, communication and group process skills” (Seeds of Peace). Color Games—a multi-discipline competition involving every came activity, from cooking to the arts to sports to computers—are staged at the end of every session. The students are split into two teams, each containing students from all of the different participating ethnic groups. The competition encourages further cooperation across ethnic lines (Ibid). [...]
[...] Seeds of Peace, through teaching delegates new ways to view each other and their shared conflict, and through having campers express their feelings in the dialogue huts, is giving these teens the tools to change (Seeds of Peace). These activities also build relationships, which is vital. A sense of community is fostered within the camp, and the program attempts to maintain relationships even after the children have returned home. Delegates are “encouraged to participate in Seeds of Peace's ongoing activities. [...]
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