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By: Adan Haddad

 

Pikin, Israel. – October 22, 2017

The Hands of Peace alumni made their way to the first Middle East seminar of the year. As the hugging and the “I miss you” began there was already a sense of the HOP magic that alumni and staff were craving. For the younger alumni, the first day was all about the beautiful and historic city of Akko, as they were guided through a tour of the city. In the meantime, the older alumni headed towards the small village of Pikin and enjoyed a tour from a local villager.

For the new Hands freshly out of the summer program, this was their first seminar ever. Needless to say they were beyond excited! Their enthusiasm was truly inspiring for the older alumni, reminding them why after all these years they continue to be an active part of the HOP family.

As Marwan (2017 Palestinian Citizen of Israel alumnus) said: “The alumni seminar summarizes the way the three week program impacted my life.”

After both tours, all alumni gathered in Pikin, and the dialogue sessions began. It did not take the Hands long to remember the difficulty of the discussions they have. The older alum also enjoyed a lecture about the water crisis in their region with an Ecopeace representative.

The next morning, after a long night of reconnecting, the alumni woke up for breakfast, and then headed towards their second and third dialogue sessions.

This seminar was quite eventful for the HOP older alumni, as the regional managers and Rick Rosenfeld, Hands of Peace Executive Director, joined them for their dialogue to discuss adjusting the older alumni programs to suit their needs and desires. The rest of their dialogues were used for setting a plan to rehabilitate the HOP alum program.

Yontan (2014-2015 Jewish Israeli alumnus) said, “The alumni are going through a process of remodeling the older alumni community goals and turning it into something they feel is worthwhile.”

The end of the seminar was truly bitter sweet, as we said goodbye to the Jewish Israeli former regional manager Hamutal, whom all the Hands love, respect and trust, and welcomed the new Jewish Israeli Regional Manager Amit, who they are very excited to welcome to their Hands of Peace family!

As the Hands headed home they did not say goodbye, instead they said “I will see you later.”

 

Adan Haddad was a 2014 Hand and 2015 XL in Chicago. She is currently on a gap year, hoping to start Med School next year. She stays connected to HOP by attending seminars.