THE VISION PROGRAM:
Conflict Transformation Fellowship Program for Jewish and Palestinian University students in the former Yugoslavia
For the second year in a row, a unique effort to bridge communities in conflict will take place as more than a dozen Jews and Palestinians from the Middle East and the US will travel to the former Yugoslavia for a month long conflict transformation program aimed at de-exceptionalizing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, framing it using the lens of comparative conflict analysis.
From June 27 through July 23, 14 Jews and Palestinians from Israel, Palestine, and the United States will visit Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Croatia to engage in this four week conflict transformation program. Ranging in age from 19 to 27, these university students were chosen based on their commitment to generating a movement of youth that will change the status quo of conflict in the Middle East.
During the academic year that follows the summer experience, students will participate in fall and spring weekend retreats, activities designed to continue the work that began while in the Balkans.
Staffed by Jews and Palestinians from Israel, Palestine, and the United States this fellowship program’s goal is to engage in a critical process of self and communal reflection as a tool for understanding how participants’ identities are practiced in their daily lives. Through this process we aim to (a) empower participants to heighten their self-awareness, paying particular attention to their political self, (b) develop their critical thinking, and (c) examine how such thinking manifests itself in Jewish-Palestinian, Israeli-Palestinian, Jewish-Israeli, and intra Jewish/Israeli/Palestinian relations.
A Jewish student from last year’s Vision Program said, “As challenging as this was, I was forced to look at issues within myself and the greater conflict that I would have never dealt with in another setting… these are the very issues that needed to be dealt with.” Said another Jewish student, “This experience is priceless.”
“It has really made me think about myself, my life, my future, and what I want to do to help in the fight for human rights,” said a Palestinian participant from the 2006 program. “This was one of the most productive summers of my life,” said another Palestinian student.
The Vision Program is one of two flagship programs of Abraham’s Vision, a social change organization working to empower Jewish, Muslim, Israeli, and Palestinian youth ( http://www.abrahamsvision.org ).