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The flagship Summer Program is a powerful, unifying experience that starts our Hands on their journey to becoming agents of change. Each summer, Hands of Peace brings American, Israeli, and Palestinian youth together in Chicago and San Diego for a three-week dialogue-based experience. In dialogue sessions led by professional facilitators from the Middle East, Hands learn about “the other,” they share complicated and sometimes painful stories about the conflict, and explore peaceful solutions to foster equality, freedom and justice.

We are currently taking applications for the 2022 Summer Program in Chicago and San Diego, July 6 – 25. Applicants must be in high school, ages 14-17. We encourage all applicants to review our Mission, Vision, and Values. Participants should be willing to engage in a transformative experience of learning, dialogue, and action, joining a network of more than 700 Hands of Peace alumni.

We are also taking applications for Host Families in Chicago and San Diego.  Host families create a safe “home away from home” for the Summer Program participants from the Middle East. Host a Summer Program participant for a window into their world and develop meaningful relationships that can last a lifetime as you experience firsthand how Hands of Peace empowers youth to become agents of change.


July 4-29, 2021


For four weeks, first-year Hands met virtually with other members of their delegation for eight 90-minute virtual sessions, giving them a firm foundation as they begin their journey as an agent of change. They participated in training and activities to learn about dialogue, listening, telling their personal story, and other essential peacebuilding skills. Summer Program Launchpad prepared Hands to have an even richer experience when they meet with other delegations in-person in 2022.


July 13-29, 2021


Hands of Peace planned a two-week XL Leadership Program in 2021 for selected second-year participants. XLs participated in virtual dialogue with XLs from the other delegations and received training in leadership and peacebuilding skills. This was a valuable opportunity to help Hands make the transition from dialogue to education as they learned how to apply what they learned about themselves and their fellow Hands in their first year. XLs also had the opportunity to mentor first-year Hands from their delegation, offering leadership opportunities and connectivity between cohorts.

Hands of Peace is a spark, it’s an inspiration, it’s a call to action to go on a journey.

Adam Heffez

2006, 2007

Board Member

Dialogue is a way of bringing people from a place of not having any hope to a place where they see the human being on the other side and feel there’s a chance to make peace.


2011, 2012

Jewish Israeli

I have taken lessons I learned during my summers to heart. They are the background against which I paint my dreams of the future.


2015, 2016


I am more confident building relationships, being myself, being vulnerable, and sharing my opinion. I learned how to listen better, but I also learned how to be stronger in sharing my voice.




Hands of Peace changed me inside out. I really didn’t expect that the Hands of Peace program to be as intense as it was. For me, it is a once in a lifetime experience.



Palestinian Citizen of Israel

Hands of Peace is the single most influential experience of my life.


2010, 2011


This program has helped me so much, and I don’t think I could have found a better environment in which to grow and acquire so many different skills. Thank you for making that possible.


2017, 2018

Palestinian Citizen of Israel

I got a job, and then I got a promotion, and I honestly don’t think I would have been able to do that without the confidence I gained at Hands of Peace. Please keep doing the amazing things you do and make the circle grow even bigger.



Palestinian Citizen of Israel