July 8, 2019 – SAN DIEGO (KUSI)
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A three-week peacebuilding program with 43 Israeli, Palestinian and American teens will take place in Carlsbad this summer, July 10-29, to break down the walls of conflict in the Middle East and throughout the world. Hands of Peace, now celebrating its sixth year in San Diego, brings together high school students to build bridges and leadership skills among teens divided by conflict, culture, geography and history. Their activities take place at various locations throughout San Diego County.
Based in Carlsbad, the Hands of Peace program empowers young people to find their voice as peace leaders, break down stereotypes and gain the knowledge and critical thinking skills to take steps toward peace in their home communities. Teen participants have undergone an extensive application process to be part of the program, showing a desire to share their perspectives, listen and work toward peace.
Many of the Middle East participants have experienced violence and loss as a result of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict and are meeting the other “side” for the first time. The central activity of the program is intensive daily dialogue sessions, led by professional facilitators, in which teens share personal stories, listen and share views about paths for peace. They also take part in educational activities, including a visit to a church, synagogue, and mosque and a community organizing workshop.
The San Diego site director for Hand of Peace, Sarah Heirendt, and program alumnus Jordan Derbas joined us in studio to share more information about the work they do.