Middle East Alumni Club Seminar in Haifa

In January, HOP held an overnight seminar for all Israeli and Palestinian alumni-- one of four seminars that we hold throughout the year. This action-packed seminar was held in Haifa, a city that exposes the promise and the complexities of Jewish Israelis and Palestinian Citizens of Israel living together. It was attended by 38 of our Israeli and Palestinian alumni from both Chicago and San Diego, as well as from many different years of HOP. The seminar rekindled camaraderie and connection among our alumni, gave them an outlet for expressing very personal stories and feelings, and exposed them to new perspectives, possibilities, and ideas.

Activities included a lecture from Mosawa, an organization promoting the rights of Arab citizens within Israel, a poetry workshop in which participants composed their own poems, an “open café night” in which participants got to know alumni from different years of HOP, fun time at the beach, three dialogue sessions, a dual narrative tour of Haifa, and a community service project with disabled children....all in only two days!

Quotes from Haifa Seminar Participants

“We are always learning more. We think we almost summed up the conflict, yet every time we come back, we learn and discover more and more!”

-Rawan, Palestinian Citizen of Israel participant

"The seminar taught me to be much more selfless than selfish.” 

–Mohammed, Palestinian participant 

“The poetry workshop was the most meaningful for me, because sometimes I find myself not managing completely to describe what I want in words. I managed to express my feelings in a very meaningful and emotional way, which is not always acceptable in today’s society.”

-Shira, Jewish Israeli participant

“The seminars give me a chance to reunite with friends, and to learn more about the conflict and myself.” 

–Iddo, Jewish Israeli participant

“The dual narrative tour was the most interesting activity, because I think it’s really important to show us villages or even streets where Palestinians and Israelis are actually living together.”

-Omar, Palestinian Citizen of Israel participant

“At the open café night and the poetry workshop, we had a chance to express ourselves in a way that is not about the conflict and is more about who we are. We really bonded, and that’s one of the best things about the seminars.” 

–Niv, Jewish Israeli participant

“The community service workshop made me feel grateful for who I am and what I have. It gave me hope and positivity, and I sure will keep those little children in my prayers. I’m really thankful now…. The seminars are really important to me because I get the chance to speak freely, knowing that I would not get judged. It’s the perfect time to just let everything out. There is no place I would rather be.”

-Yasmin, Palestinian participant