Since our founding in 2002, Hands of Peace has seen remarkable results—both in terms of measurable personal growth and active involvement in grassroots efforts to decrease violence and promote mutual understanding.
Our summer programs are only the beginning of the Hands of Peace experience. All alumni are encouraged to continue their development and engagement year-round through either the Middle East Seminars, Leadership Program and American Alumni Clubs in Chicago and San Diego.
These programs are vital to:
- Keeping our alumni connected
- Supporting them as they cope with the prejudice and injustice wrought by the conflict
- Creating an outlet for expressing very personal stories and feelings
- Exposing them to incorporate their Hands of Peace experience into their studies, career plans and daily actions
Hands of peace will always be home. Home for people who want to change. Home to use as a support, to share the struggles of being a warrior of peace in our every day life. – Ilor, Jewish Israeli participant
The Middle East Seminars are held quarterly and are open to alumni from all years. These multi-day events offer participants a variety of ways to learn and connect through:
- Facilitated dialogue sessions to continue the conversations started in the summer
- Israeli and Palestinian guest speakers to expose alumni to ideas from a broad spectrum of political viewpoints
- Dual narrative tours conducted of nearby sites
- Interactive activities that are led by our older alumni, demonstrating the connection between beliefs and actions
The seminars are where the real work begins and then you can work for peace and change. You also keep in touch with the other side. – Jana, Palestinian Citizen of Israel Paritcipant
The American Alumni Clubs keep our American Hands engaged and connected, and encourage them to continue their development of leadership and community organizing skills. The alumni are:
- Engaging in building acceptance in local communities
- Participating in interfaith outreach and activities
- Attending relevant cultural events
The combination of the Hands of Peace Summer Program and the ongoing follow-up activities of our Alumni Club and Leadership Programs are helping to create a new generation of future peace-builders. Whether at the local, national, or international level, our graduates approach “the other” with open-mindedness and an eye towards bridging differences.
This is the most important thing I do in my life. We are completing our journey that we started in Chicago through these seminars. I love seeing my friends and meeting the new participants. – Lara, Palestinian participant
Hands of Peace has definitely made a huge impact on my life. I have learned how to truly listen from a place of empathy and non-judgment and channel disagreements into hope and peace. – Louisa, American participant