Since last year, JPB has partnered with the Model United Nations Israel program, Debate for Peace (DfP), to support young Israeli and Palestinian youth diplomats in developing their leadership and peace-building skills by offering them competitive scholarships to JPB's Summer Youth Institutes.
The first conference was held last November in Jerusalem at the US Embassy's American Center Jerusalem and hosted over 80 Jewish, Christian, and Muslim high school students from more than ten cities and a dozen high schools. For five hours, participants worked diligently to resolve and pass resolutions on current conflicts in Afghanistan and Somalia. At the conclusion of the conference, Camp Director, Jack Karn, announced the names of five teens for scholarships to attend our Youth Leadership Institutes this summer.
Recently in January, a nearly two-fold increase of 150+ participants convened at the Al Qassemi High School in the Israeli Arab town of Baqa al-Gharbiyye to discuss and debate the ever-sensitive Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Across six committees, teens explored issues involving holy sites, education, incitement, the Palestine Partition Plan of 1947 and the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and deliberations in the Security Council. In debating a topic that directly touches the lives of all the participants, the delegates' limits were tested by maintaining an atmosphere of respectful debate that focused on the issues and by remaining true to their assigned roles. Also at this conference, Jack announced seven more names to be awarded scholarships. Lots of photos from the conference can be found here!
Model UN programs like DfP allow for high school students around the world to practice and learn the art of debate and discussion on controversial topics in an atmosphere of respect and mutual understanding. These unparalleled programs give teens a vital platform to communicate and come together through simulating top-level negotiations.
High school students discuss Debate for Peace program on Israel Hayom
With a conference scheduled in Modi'in for late-February and a special two-day youth leadership conference in Haifa in early-March, JPB is keeping an eye out for more exceptional teens to invite to the USA this summer.