Conversation with Dr. Dalia Fadila
An Arab-Israeli educator driven to open the doors of quality education to disadvantaged youth, Dr. Dalia Fadila is an educational entrepreneur, consultant, and the Founder and CEO of Q Schools. She received a PhD in literature from Bar-Ilan University, and has been spotlighted in publications such as Forbes and The Times Of Israel for her work. In December 2022, Dr. Fadila was awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor for her outstanding contributions in the fields of education and women’s advancement in Israel. She first became involved with JPB in 2016, and acts as a board member on the Advisory Council.
Program Assistant for JPB, Carolyn Diaz, talks with Dr. Fadila about the significance and meaning behind JPB’s work.
Why is the bi-communal peace work that JPB promotes necessary?
The current reality in Israel is very challenging, especially after recent events in Jerusalem. Tension is growing between Arabs and Jews, not only in Jerusalem but all over Israel. There is bigger tension between Palestinians, Israeli Jews, and Arab citizens that are inside Israel, who are in between worlds when it comes to the conflict. The tension and violence are making dialogue between Palestinians and Israelis challenging to say the least. This is why the work that is being carried out by JPB is very important: the fact that JPB has been bringing young Arabs, Israelis, Israeli Arabs, Palestinians and Jews all together into one place and helping them negotiate, think aloud, talk to each other, find their shared interests and equipping them with the leadership tools to negotiate their reality and see it from a different, more positive perspective. They are growing a generation of young leaders who are able to resolve the conflict - not enhance the conflict. This is very important when it comes to seeing what JPB has accomplished in recent years. JPB is one of the rarest and unique programs in Israel that is shedding a new perspective, and helping young people grow into a different reality.
How do you feel about the impact JPB makes on its students, teachers and overall society?
From my experience as a mother, my two kids Hamid and Yasmeen are graduates of JPB programs, and participating in JPB programs was a turning point in their lives. Their personalities were strengthened, and their leadership skills were enhanced. They have become more articulate about what's going on in the Middle East and around the world and they are better oriented at resolving conflicts rather than creating conflicts. I saw my kids changing and this is why I also wanted other young Arabs through the Q schools and Jerusalem schools to participate in JPB. Another example is of a girls' school in Umm Tuba, a small village in Jerusalem. We saw the girls turning from shy, introverts living only within the boundaries of their small village to becoming young, female leaders who are very articulate with strong personalities, outspoken and know how to express clearly and loudly their ideas. I also saw a community transform, from refusing any participation of the girls in any international program to fighting to be part of that program. The years when JPB was involved, for example, in this conservative girls school on the outskirts of Jerusalem have been life changing to the students, and the impact stays with these girls into their adulthood. It's shaping their choices of academic studies and the role they see themselves leading in their communities.
What makes you most excited to be a part of JPB work?
JPB is a vision of a better reality in the Middle East and around the world. I am enthusiastic about what JPB is accomplishing and I'm honored to be part of it because the future of the region depends on a stronger, positive and leading young people who are oriented towards peace and not conflict. JPB is among the very few organizations who see a shared society and shared region. They help young people think of peace not war and conflicts. In the light of everything going on in Israel, Jerusalem, the West Bank and the region, this is a very important thing to continue doing. Otherwise without JPB on the ground creating a shared society, the region will not have a next generation to create peace, and will remain entangled in endless conflict.