Debate for Peace (DfP) and JPB brought together 20 Arab and Jewish teens from across Israel/Palestine for a two-day, youth-led leadership conference at the Ahmadiyya Mosque and Community Center in Haifa. The conference focused on democracy and pluralism through interactive workshops, religious worship and textual analysis and dialogue.
Teens engage in a textual analysis looking at Holy War in Islam and Judaism
Three teams of JPB youth alumni (Christian, Jewish, and Muslim) delivered impressive teaching sessions on dialogue facilitation, inclusion and exclusion in society, and self-criticism. When asked to reflect on their experience at the conference, participants responded with enthusiasm:
"This conference boosted my confidence in tomorrow's future,
the way people were ready to talk things out for the sake of our future.
I would participate in another conference in a heartbeat..."
"It was an unforgettable experience to meet new people from
other cultures and religions and make new friendships!"
"I learned that Arabs in Israel also undergo difficulties, and don't always get to
feel accepted in society. It was very interesting to see things from another
perspective and to learn that we can cause things to change."
Combined with beautiful scenic views of the Mediterranean Sea and delicious Kosher meals, the teens developed their friendships and skills across lines of religion, identity, and culture. The success of this conference suggests that these events will become a staple of JPB's year-round youth programming in the Holy Land.
Fr. Nicholas speaks to teens about the intersections of peace, leadership, and religion
Youth participants in small group dialogue about follow-up activities after the conference