Friendship Village
International Center for Education for Peace and Human Rights in a Multi-Cultural Society
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Woman Educators for Peace, Democracy & Human Rights

The purpose of the proposed project is to prepare a constituency of young Israeli Jewish and Arab female education students and professionals to impart values of human rights, democracy and equality throughout the Israeli school system. In cooperation with Emeq Yizre'el Academic College, Oranim Academic College and Gordon College for Education, the project includes fifteen one-semester long academic courses, including fourteen sessions that are four academic hours each. In these courses a total of 300 participants (150 Jews, 150 Arabs) will develop an enhanced understanding about their own and group identity while learning to teach important liberal human values, such as democracy and equality to their current and future students.

The project will focus also female self-awareness and encourage women empowerment through a unique and dynamic dialogue approach in which issues such as growing racism and the anti-democratic attitudes and violence pervasive in Israeli society are addressed. Participants of the course will learn methods for peaceful conflict resolution and reconciliation as inter-ethnic and cross-cultural dialogue emerges. In this framework, students of the courses discover common ground for cooperation on the basis of mutual respect and can later impart these values in their own classrooms and communities.

1.  The problems to be addressed

1 – Despite that Israel is regarded as a successful democratic society – in fact, the only one in the Middle East - the already generation-long occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip together with growing oppression of the Palestinian People persists. In this context a militaristic attitude, reverence for power and a growing contempt for democratic institutes and values necessarily emerges – incubating in a climate of stagnation.

The deterioration of basic liberal values, like democracy and respect for human rights in Israel is accelerating, particularly over the last decade, and most significantly among the younger generation. Researches indicate a growing tendency among teenagers toward xenophobia, racism and anti-democratic values. Preparing female students in their roles as professional educators to promote liberal values among the young is one of the most efficient and effective ways to thwart these tendencies and encourage change.

2 – Women have a key role in social and institutional developments in every society. In Israel they account for almost 80% of employed teachers with an extremely high ratio to men particularly in the elementary school system. In the Arab school system (the two systems are totally separated in Israel) women make up approximately 60% of the personnel (in elementary schools about 85% women, in high schools approximately 50%).
Although Israel is regarded as a developed, democratic country, women still struggle for equal rights in almost all arenas of public and private life. While the struggle is prevalent in liberal, open minded parts of the Jewish and the Palestinian societies, in the traditional parts of them – which is still the great majority –the struggle is still in its preliminary stages.

Friendship Village projects respond to the belief that progress is positive and that liberal values of tolerance, respect for human rights, democracy, and pluralism can be learned. Informed educators in the classrooms are in the best position to impart these values, though the process depends upon the assimilation of these values by the teachers themselves. Educators devoted to imparting these values can make a critical and significant different in society and the key purveyors of social change.

Detailed Description of the Project:
Woman Educators for Human Rights, Peace and Democracy focuses on gender and group identity using tools that encourage female empowerment. This includes:

1 – Encouraging dialogue between Israeli Jewish and Arab women. Through open discourse, participants can begin to develop and understand the other in their mutual quest for common ground upon which to build a prosperous and peaceful society in Israel and throughout the region.

2 - Mobilizing groups of young women to combat racism and build mutual respect and understanding between Israel’s two main national communities.

3 - Teaching female education professionals to impart liberal values of human rights and democracy will have a strong impact on today’s youth. As most of the educating personnel in Israeli schools and social centers are women, they have greater access to the younger generation.

Project’s Goal
The goal of the project is to create a countrywide team of young Israeli Jewish and Arab women educators who will promote the struggle against racism and prejudice in the Israeli school system. The project will focus on combating the growing racism and violence in Israeli society through peaceful conflict resolution, education for liberal values of human rights and democracy, and will emphasize women and minority empowerment.

a) To prepare Israeli Jewish and Arab women teachers and education students to know, understand and respect differences between their cultures, to recognize and nurture what is in common between them and to educate about the intolerance and discrimination pervasive in their respective societies.
b) To emphasize a unique approach to inter-ethnic dialogue that presents- as primary- the interests of women in society and their roles as purveyors of social change. Women empowerment is vital to long-term social change.

c) To enable project graduates to employ methods for imparting important human values and to encourage dialogue and peaceful conflict resolution efforts among students and colleagues in their respective schools.

    d) To encourage interpersonal relations and cooperation among women teachers as well as with educational institutes between national communities.

Work plan

5 one semester-long academic courses are run as a joint enterprise of Friendship Village and partner Colleges.

Each Course will include the following chapters:
1 – The Socializing Process and Creating Gender Roles in Different Human Societies.
2 – The Development of Personal, Gender, Group and National Identities.
3 – The Psychological and Sociological Phenomenon of Egocentrism and Ethnocentrism
4 – Xenophobia and the Fear of Strangers: Built in or Human Nature?
5 – Violence in Society (particularly against women): Aggression-Encouraging Factors vs. Aggression Blocking Factors.
6 – Stereotypes and Prejudice: Ways to Change Them.
7 – Educating for Multi-Culturalism: The Impact of Different Educational Factors in the Relation to the "Other".
8 – Israeli Society: Its Structure, Impact and the Conflict with the Palestinian People.
9 – Feminine Power: The Place and Role of Women in Society, Religion and Culture.
10 – Encouraging the Internalization of Values: Friendship and Fraternity. Accepting the "other", tolerance, equality and peace.
11 – Exploring Models and Projects Abroad. Building understanding between people of different cultural background.
12 – The Implementation of New Projects: Promoting Jewish-Arab Peaceful Coexistence and Cooperation.

These issues will taught throughout 14 weekly sessions of 4 academic hours each. In the sessions, the following scheme will be used: 2 hours of lecture by lecturer of the College, or external one, 2 hours dynamic workshop to discuss over and elaborate the issue that has been presented in preceding lecture. The workshop will run by "Friendship Village" expert facilitators.
Please be reminded that the project is "modular;” each course is independent, with the number of courses pending funds raised.

5 - Evaluation plan
1 - Every activity will be followed up by consultation of College coordinators and Friendship Village facilitators. Conclusions will be applied in following activities.
2 - During the activity feedback papers will be submitted. These papers will be elaborated on by the coordinators subsequent to the project’s completion.
3 - When the project is completed, a feedback session and questionnaire will give proper picture about the project's success in imparting its message to the young female teachers.
4 - In cooperation with Emeq Yizre'el College a one yearlong follow-up program will study the efficiency of the project's graduates in impacting their pupils.
5 - Evaluation will be completed by the Project Coordinators.

6. Schedule
October 2010 - August 2011
October 2010 - February 2011 : running the Project (one semester)
February – June 2011 : running the Project (one semester)
July 2011 :  - Summer Training Program
August 2011 - Summing up, evaluation.

7. Staff
Educational coordinators will be two professional facilitators that run this year's project too:
A - Revital Yonai (40) - graduate of Newe Shalom, 7 years experience in facilitating multi-cultural workshops in Adam Institute and Givat Haviva.
B – Raimonda Mansour (49) -M.A. in Education and Criminology. Graduate of Newe Shalom as well. 8 years experience in facilitating multi-cultural workshops in Adam Institute & Newe Shalom.
          Four more facilitators will be needed to run the Project. Most of them have been involved in the Project since October 2005.
Our staff is comprised of professional facilitators. For their preparation several short meetings and a one daylong seminar will be sufficient. Project Coordinators have led the Project for several years, and they have a thorough knowledge of methods for running it.
Partner colleges provide a faculty member to act in the capacity of project director responsible for all academic aspects of the project and its accomplishments.

8. Plan for disseminating
Cooperation with the Partner Colleges has a vital importance in disseminating methods of implanting values of human rights, democracy and peaceful conflict resolution into the Israeli school system. Emeq Yizre'el , Oranim and Gordon Colleges are important sources of young teachers in Israel. With the continued success of the project, cooperation with the above and additional institutions will be strengthened and encouraged.