By expressing their hopes and fears early in the program, participants open themselves to a more free and honest dialogue that isn't blocked by self-censoring. Airing their preconceptions allows them to turn off their internal dialogues, come into the process with a clean slate and really hear what others are saying.
Peace it Together 2011 has just moved to the University of British Columbia! A lot of ground was covered over the past 10 days in Pemberton, BC, through trust building exercises and facilitated dialogue. As a result, a strong feeling of community has developed among the participants.
A few days ago, Mahmoud Jabari, a participant in our 2008 program, sent this letter of support to the 30 Israeli, Palestinian and Canadian students currently involved in the Peace it Together program.
After 6 full days of dialogue, participants broke off into small groups yesterday and were asked the question “what do you most want people to know about what has been personally challenging for you in the conflict?”
It was a difficult experience for most, as they listened to painful memories and stories told from perspectives that many of them had never heard before. As a way of debriefing this exercise, participants were given quiet time to write poems, or Haikus, which were then shared with the group.
Here is a small collection of their poetry.
lost ones taken by angels
stones that mark our lives
and still, hope
amidst an uncertain future
and a cruel world
smiles and love rise above
all that seeks to conquer our will
Through a series of dialogue sessions and trust building exercises, the 2011 participants take the first steps in getting to know each other. This is the first in a series of short videos that we'll be sharing with you from this year's Peace it Together program.