Highlights from HOP Seminars in Nazareth and Nahariya
Hands of Peace held two recent Middle East follow-up seminars—one in Nazareth in March and another in Nahariya in May—that were attended by more than 60 alumni from eight different years of Hands of Peace! Our alumni continue to inspire and impress us with their courage, introspection, and dedication amid an increasingly tense and unstable political situation.
The two seminars included Israeli and Palestinian guest speakers from a broad spectrum of political viewpoints, dual narrative tours, a yoga workshop, a light-hearted "laughter" workshop, and an interactive activity led by our older alumni about the connection between beliefs and actions. Older alumni at both seminars participated in their own dialogue groups and engaged in a separate set of activities that challenged and strengthened their leadership skills. Below are moving quotes from the alumni who participated in these two seminars.
Our quarterly Middle East Alumni Club seminars are vital to keeping our alumni connected, supporting them as they cope with the prejudice and injustice wrought by the conflict, and empowering them to incorporate the hope-inspiring message of HOP experience into their lives, career plans, and daily actions.
Quotes from Nazareth and Nahariya Seminar Participants
"It's amazing after being here for two months to see people on both sides willing to be together. It feels very rare here. Simply being in this space was wonderful."
-Jessica, 2011 American participant (currently studying in the region)
"The seminars allow me to eye witness the creation of generations that have the will to coexist."
-Fadwa, 2010 Palestinian participant, 2011 XL
“The seminars are the only thing that charges me with hope. The situation nowadays is very tough and full of racism and violence. The seminars are where I escape, in order to disconnect from everything and fill my heart with hope for the future.”
-Jasmine, 2011 Palestinian Citizen of Israel participant, 2012 XL
-Iddo, 2014 Jewish Israeli participant, 2015 XL
“The senior alumni-led activity was the most amazing dialogue of the whole seminar!”
-Hagar, 2014 Jewish Israeli participant, 2015 XL
“What is the point of Hands of Peace without seminars? Hands of Peace is not just about traveling to America and having dialogues there. The point of the seminars is to reunite, and to share our new thoughts with each other….I think the seminars should be longer!”
-Dina, 2013 Palestinian participant
“We made progress in dialogue and we were challenged a lot. I have a lot of points to think about when I get home.”
-Yasmin, 2014 Palestinian participant, 2015 XL
“The senior alumni-led activity was the most meaningful for me because it felt amazing taking an active part in the program and being the one to inspire. I learned much about what I am capable of. The group was so open and accepting….I am and will always be a part of HOP because the program is not just the summer: it’s an every day process with ourselves and others.”
-Niv, 2013 Jewish Israeli participant, 2014 XL
“The workshop led by the older alumni flowed so well and we reached many enlightening points…The seminars are a very good way to keep in touch and meet new people from HOP, as well as letting us continue developing and learning.”
-Maayan, 2014 Jewish Israeli participant
“The seminars make us feel satisfied that we are doing something to make a change, and they keep us aware that there is always more to give.”
-Ahmed, 2012 Palestinian participant, 2013 XL