Community Circles


“Choose not to look, however, at your own peril. The owner of an old house knows that whatever you are ignoring will never go away. Whatever is lurking will fester whether you choose to look or not. Ignorance is no protection from the consequences of inaction. Whatever you are wishing away will gnaw at you until you gather the courage to face what you would rather not see.”
― Isabel Wilkerson, Caste

Beautifully written, original and revealing, Caste is an immersive, deeply researched narrative exploring how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system. Using compelling stories about people —including Martin Luther King, Jr., baseball’s Satchel Paige, a single father and his toddler son, and the author herself —Isabel Wilkerson shows the ways that the insidious undertow of Caste is experienced every day. Read Caste, named the #1 Nonfiction Book of the Year by Time Magazine and a #1 New York Times Bestseller, then join Hands of Peace for the March Virtual Book Circle, Sunday, March 14, 3:00 pm CST, 1:00 pm PST. 

Go here to register for March Virtual Book Circle.


Saturday, April 10 at 8 pm I/P / 12 pm CST / 10 am PST

Join John Lyndon, ALLMEP Executive Director, and Huda Abuarquob, ALLMEP Regional Director for Developments in Middle East Peacebuilding.  A coalition of over 125 organizations – including Hands of Peace – the Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP) is the largest and fastest-growing network of Palestinian and Israeli peacebuilders. This powerful and inspiring conversation, moderated by Hands of Peace Executive Director Scott Rasmussen, will examine the role of Hands of Peace in people-to-people peacebuilding in the region and the impact of the historic passage of the Middle East Partnership for Peace Act (MEPPA).

Go here to register for Developments in Middle East Peacebuilding.


Sunday, February 14, 2021 – The discussion about the film ‘Til Kingdom Come and the issues it raises included a panel with Israeli filmmakers Maya Zinshtein and Abie Troen, and Palestinian Pastor Munther Isaac, moderated by Hands of Peace Executive Director Scott Rasmussen. 


The views of speakers/films/books in this section do not represent the views of Hands of Peace. We encourage the Hands of Peace community, just like our young leaders, to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. To best do that, we list a wide spectrum of events and encourage people to attend some that offer differing perspectives. Listed events are selected to inspire dialogue amongst alumni and our community and to present diverse perspectives. We hope you will join us.


Hands of Peace welcomes alumni Nour Abdelmonem, Charles Manning and Lexie Tucker to the new Community Circles Committee (CCC).
Nour, 2010-2011, is a first-year consultant and workstream leader at EY-Parthenon. Charles, 2011-2012, is a law student at Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. Lexie, 2018-2019, recently finished her third semester at Mira Costa Community College and hopes to work in Nablus teaching children later this year.
Nour, Charles and Lexie join longtime Hands of Peace volunteers Dianne Nichols, Mary Scherr and Melinda Wynar to research, recommend and plan Community Circles including panels, learning conversations, and book and film discussions.




Grassroots movements that create spaces for dialogue and action across lines of difference form an essential building block of sustainable peace. What are the unique advantages and challenges to these efforts, and how do you create ethical frameworks that pursue open opportunities for exchange while also calling participants into action that maximizes dignity, security, and freedom for all?

Those questions and more were answered by Hands of Peace alumni Stav Arnon and Elias Hawila and Executive Director Scott Rasmussen in the first of a Telos Webinar Series, “Peacemaking from Bottom to Top” on January 26. To view the entire webinar see below. If you are interested in the rest of the Telos series go here.



More than 30 alumni, parents, and supporters from the Hands of Peace community came together for a candid and engaging discussion about “Crossing Boundaries: A Traveler’s Guide to World Peace” in November with author Aziz Abu Sarah.

During Founder Gretchen Grad’s interview with Aziz you learned how good travelers are driven by curiosity and how you can be an ambassador in people to people diplomacy. After Gretchen’s interview, participants gathered for breakout discussions about satisfying the travel itch during COVID and making more meaningful connections when you are finally able to make that next trip.

Go here to watch Gretchen’s interview with Aziz 


More than 50 alumni, parents, and supporters from the Hands of Peace community came together Sunday, August 16, for an open, candid and courageous discussion about “How to Be an Antiracist.” Hands of Peace Outreach Coordinator and alumna Maeve Plunkett joined with Raising Youth Voices Program Coordinator Dania Zanaid to co-host the Hands of Peace Virtual Book Circle, in partnership with the San Diego Diplomacy Council.

Named one of the best books of the year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Publisher’s Weekly, “How to Be an Antiracist” is the featured book for the Hands of Peace August Virtual Book Circle. Praised as “The most courageous book to date on the problem of race in the Western mind” (New York Times), Kendi’s groundbreaking work brings a new approach to understanding and uprooting racism and inequality.

Take Action to Address Racism: Curated by youth from Hands of Peace: Raising Youth Voices, this helpful list includes actions to take, resources and organizations to support.