In the 12 years since Hands of Peace was launched, we have seen remarkable results—both in terms of measurable personal growth and active involvement in grassroots efforts to decrease violence and promote mutual compassion and understanding.
Most of our Middle East alumni attend Alumni Club seminars held at various locations throughout the region for at least the first year or two following their Summer Program experience. Most stay in touch with participants from the “other” side. Many initiate peace-building projects in their own communities or join peace-building organizations. Over the years, alumni have started school clubs focused on promoting global humanitarian consciousness, and many have chosen to pursue college majors or careers in Middle East diplomacy or international development.
Hands of Peace administers evaluative surveys before and after our Summer Program, and we consistently find that participants develop an increased willingness to think critically about the role of their own “side,” along with an increased ability to question stereotypes, current events as portrayed by the media, and the history they were taught in school and through their communities.
The combination of the Hands of Peace Summer Program and the ongoing follow-up activities of our Alumni Club are helping to create a new generation of future peace-builders. Whether at the local, national, or international level, our graduates approach “the other” with empathy, open-mindedness, and an eye towards bridging differences with collaborative and creative solutions.
Hands of Peace has opened my mind to understand that the truth has several faces.
Fadwa, Palestinian participant