Al-Tariq holds workshops for local leaders, educators and young political students empowering them to build bridges between their societies and spread the values of democracy, non-violence, dialogue and peace on both sides. For most of our participants, our programs are their first opportunity to encounter the “other” and provide the basis for them to build lasting relationships. While there are several Israeli organizations that invite Palestinians to meet with the other side, Al Tariq is one of the only Palestinian organizations that provides Israelis with the opportunity to work with a Palestinian organization.
The Summer Academy
The Summer Academy provides an opportunity for Palestinian and Israeli youth to meet, learn how to dialogue and become bi-national parterns. Held outside of Palestine / Israel, participants have the opportunity to step outside of the conflict and be on common ground in a new place. In addition, youth are met with a third group of international youth who join them for the trip, breaking down the binary nature of meeting with just two sides and creating more space for listening and understanding.
The first Summer Academy was launched in 2007 in partnership with a German organization, Wings of Hope, at a two week seminar in Ruhpoldingen, Germany. In 2008, the Summer Academy was held again in partnership with Wings of Hope in Germany and expanded to include two other summer programs — one in partnership with Archi, an Italian organization, in Italy and another in Bosnia. In 2010, the Summer Academy were held in Germany in partnership with Wing’s of Hope.
At the Summer Academy participants learn about the location that they travel to, building trust and giving them a chance to build human relationships. At the same time, in focused and facilitated daily discussions about the conflict, participants are able to express their national identities with the “other,” whom they are also building personal relationships with.
After the Summer Academy, graduates continue to nurture their relationships by planning the next Summer Academy, a combination of new participants and graduates, developing the schedule for monthly bi-national meetings and supporting each other in holding national workshops and becoming leaders in their societies.
The first bi-national meeting was held in March 2009, shortly after the Gaza War. This meeting gave the young leaders the opportunity to share their personal experiences, how the war had effected them, their families and their bi-national relationship. Other bi-national meetings have focused on non-violent conflict resolution, project planning, trauma and theatre.
In preparation for bi-national meetings, both sides have held national meetings. The seminars on the Palestinian side focused on human rights, narrative, history, media, holocaust, Israeli-Palestinian schoolbooks, “What is normalization?”, Israeli society and other central themes to the conflict. The Israelis focused on Judaism, Zionism, thee Naqba, settlements, the Palestinian in the Israeli schoolbooks, the Palestinian society etc. These meetings were possible because of the support and cooperation of Wings of Hope, the Die Schwelle Foundation and the Hanns Seidel Foundation.
“Peace Blog” in cooperation with Arci
In 2007, the participants of the Summer Academy created a blog that was hosted on Tel Aviv University’s student union website. Participants from both sides were chosen to write about their experience of meeting and building relationships with the “other”. This project enabled participants from the Summer Academy to continue to work together after returning from Europe and to share their experiences with the public.
“Al Tariq Talks” Social Network
In preparation for the Summer Academy in 2009, previous young leaders in partnership with Archi, an Italian organization, created a private social network and invited the new group of young leaders to participate in weekly discussion about historical events that are important to both societies. Through this social network, the young leaders were able to build and maintain relationships with the other side outside of bi-national and international meetings.