VISION, MISSION, & STORY
Jerusalem Peacebuilders (JPB) vision is a Jerusalem and a world where Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Druze live together as sisters and brothers in dignity, equality, and peace.
Jerusalem Peacebuilders (JPB) is an interfaith, non-profit organization with a mission to create a better future for humanity across religions, cultures, and identities. Integral to that mission is the belief that the future of Jerusalem is the future of the world. To that end, JPB promotes transformational, person-to-person encounters among the peoples of Jerusalem, Israel, Palestine, and the United States.
JPB’s interfaith programs focus on uniting Israelis, Palestinians, and Americans and providing them with the opportunities, relationships, and skills they need to become future leaders for peace. A passion for peace drives our mission and partnerships power our program.
JPB had its genesis on the 10th anniversary of the terror bombings of Sept. 11, 2001. Having served for some time at St. George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem, JPB founders Reverend Nicholas and Dorothy Porter had become convinced that these attacks made the timeless call for peacemaking in the Holy Lands even more urgent. Rather than duplicate efforts already underway, the Porters approached an international organization with a shared vision, and partnered to provide a specialized youth leadership camp for American, Israeli and Palestinian. They held the first Leadership Program in Brattleboro, VT in July 2011.
Following the success of the first program at Acer Farm, JPB co-founder Stuart Kensinger was inspired by the idea to create a multi-year peace education program. In the fall of 2012, JPB successfully integrated a Houston-based beginner peacebuilding program with teens entering the program at age 14. Seeing a growing gap in opportunity due to only working with teens during the summer months, in 2016, JPB launched a series of in-school leadership and peacebuilding courses in Jerusalem-area schools. In the summer of that same year, JPB decisively extended its reach and kicked off an adult peacebuilding program called EXCEL.
During 2017, JPB further expanded its operations by hiring additional staff and increasing its portfolio of in-school programs in the Holy Lands. In Houston, JPB developed its domestic presence and programming by connecting with several local schools, faith communities and nonprofit organizations. 2018 witnessed a banner year for JPB, successfully inaugurating the fourth summer youth institute and the strategic positioning of both domestic and international staff.
In 2019, JPB experienced the sudden and tragic loss of our friends and founding directors, Stuart and Angela. While their deaths were a great shock to our community, we nonetheless persevered and held a record five summer institutes, including our re-geared EXCEL Institute the UK. Meanwhile, our in-school programs expanded to over twenty schools across the USA and the Holy Lands.
JPB now oversees a robust four-year, year-round program cycle of in-school and summer programs in the USA and Holy Lands. Offering summer institutes at successive levels in Texas, Connecticut, and Vermont, each program runs over the course of two weeks and provides participants with leadership and peacebuilding skills, dialogues, service-projects, presentations by guest speakers, and interfaith learning. Participants enjoy frequent field trips and outdoor recreational activities. Delicious home-cooked meals are prepared by a faithful cadre of volunteers. The success of our program relies on the family atmosphere, the carefully selected small group of participants, and the emphasis on religion and faith as a path to reconciliation. In joining JPB, these young people are immersed in a life-changing experience that they will never forget.
Participants in the JPB program are an extraordinary group of dedicated young people. This dedication is evident in their avid desire to acquire the tools that will allow them to shine as leaders in forging a peaceful society in Jerusalem and across the Middle East. Today, we continue to create spaces for Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Druze teens to come together and envision a future of peace. Our participants are as determined as ever to make the prospect of peace a reality and our staff are dedicated to seeing each participant grow into their calling as leaders and peacebuilders.
Strong leadership is required for the peace of Jerusalem. Our Jewish,
Christian, Muslim, and Druze participants explore the possibilities for peace and develop themselves as leaders for that peace.
~ The Rev. Canon Nicholas Porter