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With many years of experience in peacebuilding, conflict resolution, social change education, and activism in the region, Ayala Shalev has been  named the new Jewish-Israeli Regional Manager for Hands of Peace, an international non-profit that empowers American, Israeli and Palestinian youth to become agents of change.

“We are delighted that Ayala will lead our Jewish-Israeli delegation. As a former participant in dialogue programs who has found creative ways to lead change in her community, Ayala models the path we hope young people will take through their experience with Hands of Peace,” said Scott Rasmussen, Hands of Peace Executive Director. “Ayala’s extensive programming experience, deep commitment to peacebuilding, and her relationships in the region strengthen our organization as we continue to refine how we can engage and empower our growing alumni network.”

Fluent in English and Hebrew, Ayala recently directed the 2021 Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day Ceremony and worked with The Parents Circle – Families Forum, co-leading its Young Ambassadors for Peace Program.  After receiving a Masters in Democratic Education from Tel Aviv University, Ayala created both uninational and cross-border dialogue programs – specifically designed for young participants to see “the other.”

“For me, change is not quieting the flames or putting everything in order. No, when I work towards change, I aim at changing profound concepts and cultivating true humanistic values such as freedom, equality and justice,” says Shalev. “I’m a dreamer. I want to make the world a better place and I know the way to do that is by educating our youth. What we plant today is what we see growing tomorrow, and what yields the fruit we enjoy in the future.”

Hands of Peace

Hands of Peace empowers American, Israeli and Palestinian youth to become agents of change. The non-profit 501(c)(3) interfaith organization was founded by Gretchen Grad in Chicago, Illinois, shortly after September 11, 2001. The first Summer Program was held in 2003. Since then, Hands of Peace has expanded in size, strength, and scope with Summer Programs in Chicago, IL and San Diego, CA, alumni programs in Israel, Palestine, and the US, and multi-narrative tours to the Middle East for American youth and adults. Today, there are 670 alumni leading change around the world. For more information, go to