Hands of Peace empowers Israeli, Palestinian and American youth to raise their voices as leaders of change Through the power of dialogue, Palestinians, Israelis and Americans partner to pursue peace, equality, freedom and justice. Hands of Peace believes the future depends on the leadership of the next generation.
Since 2003, Hands of Peace (HOP) has held an annual 19-day Summer Program in Chicago and a year-round, community-service intensive Alumni Program in the U.S. and in the Middle East. In the summer of 2014, Hands of Peace launched a second Summer Program in San Diego. Funds from Rotary International will support Year Seven of this successful Summer Program which promotes world understanding, leadership, and global citizenship among San Diego, Israeli, and Palestinian teenagers and adults.
In the San Diego region, Rotary has been an important partner in the growth and impact of Hands of Peace on these young leaders. Rotary members have served has as Hands of Peace Board members, volunteers and host families. Hands of Peace staff have been spoken at many area Rotary Clubs, particularly during Rotary Peace Month in February. Hands of Peace community members have attended Rotary fundraising and service events, and participate in the Pathways to Peace Forum each year. One of the youngest Rotarians ever, Marin Grillo, granddaughter and daughter of Rotarians, was a Hands of Peace participant last year!
HOP's 2020 San Diego Summer Program will bring together approximately 45 American, Israeli, and Palestinian teenagers (age 15-17) for intensive daily dialogue sessions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, identify, conflict resolution and youth leadership. The dialogue sessions are led by professional facilitators from the Middle East - one Israeli and one Palestinian in each small dialogue group. The youth build skills in communications, conflict resolution and leadership as they complete educational and community service activities.
Activities for 2020 will include a mural-painting project, a film-making project, a non-violence workshop with Azim Khamisa (a celebrated non-violence and restorative justice activist), and a Border Exchange with students from Tijuana. Our program also engages more than 1,000 San Diego community members throughout the year, including volunteers, local families who host our Middle East participants, staff members, and partner organizations.
Hands of Peace fills a vital need that is not addressed by other organizations serving the San Diego and international communities. We offer American teenagers and adult volunteers a powerful global engagement experience that enables them to become personally involved in promoting conflict resolution in their home communities and abroad. Our participants examine the multiple narratives of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, reflect on the role of the United States in world affairs, explore related issues in their home communities, develop advanced communication and listening skills, and form lasting relationships.
Likewise, Hands of Peace fills a vital need in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by humanizing the "other" and evoking compassion and understanding in a time of ongoing conflict. Prior to the Summer Program, many of our Middle Eastern students had never met an individual from the other side of the conflict outside of a military checkpoint. Through Hands of Peace, these students build meaningful, personal relationships with individuals from the other side. They learn about other narratives that they have not heard before and come to see their common humanity.
Through this grant, Rotary International will help train global leaders of the future and promote world understanding and co-existence within our diverse San Diego community and abroad. Specifically, support will fund the following activities and expenses during the 2020 San Diego Summer Program:
For clubs that wish to directly sponsor an Israeli, Palestinian or American teenage participant, they can do so for $3,500. This is our greatest need, as all of the participants receive scholarships to cover the costs of the program above the minimal tuition that their families pay.
For clubs that want to sponsor specific activities within the summer program, they can consider:
Low and high trust-building High Ropes Course (teens face fears together and build trust, camaraderie, and communication skills in the process) $2,000
Student-Directed Films Project (teens create powerful two-minute films about conflict resolution, identity, interaction with "the other")
$500 per film; the teens break up into two groups and create five videos for a total of $2,500
Culture Night (participants cook traditional meals and perform skits)
Kosher/Halal meals during the Summer Program (heavily discounted by local restaurants)
$1,000 for four meals
Border Exchange (Bus transportation, park permits, lunch and snacks for all-day workshop at the border during which Hands of Peace participants engage in a dialogue with students from Mexico)
$2,000 (includes transportation, lunch, the park permit, and snacks)
Peace-Mural Painting Project (supplies for large scale murals done by small groups in collaboration with local artists)
Religious Diversity Visits (Bus transportation for visits to a church, synagogue, and mosque in which students learn about diverse faiths and how they can coexist peacefully)
$1,500 (each trip is roughly $500)
Guest Speaker Workshop Stipends (with a non-violence and restorative justice expert, with music, creative writing, music and dance professionals for a variety of approaches to teambuilding and expression)
Professional Facilitator Stipends (for four professional Israeli and Palestinian facilitators who lead intensive daily 2.5 hour dialogue sessions throughout the 18-day summer program
$6,800 ($1,700 stipend per facilitator)
Any additional funds contributed above the total amount of the grant will go to additional enriching program activity expenses.
The goals of the Hands of Peace San Diego Summer Program are to:
1) Nurture and inspire empathetic future leaders and provide teen participants with the tools to work towards peace in their home communities.
2) Educate participants and volunteers in conflict resolution and mediation and deepen their understanding of diverse cultural and religious perspectives.
3) Foster global engagement and demonstrate the power that human connection and dialogue have to break down barriers.
Rotary Club members have the opportunity to take an active role in the July 2020 Summer Programs by attending activities, volunteering their time, hosting international students, and attending the Farewell Celebration. Club leaders are invited to attend a special reception to hear from second year participants and see firsthand the impact of Rotary's support.
We would additionally like to note that Hands of Peace Founder Gretchen Grad has been awarded two awards by Rotary International: 1) The Willie Frankel Award for Harmony and Understanding from the Rotary Club of Wilmette, and 2) She was named a "Paul Harris Fellow" from the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.
In addition, Hands of Peace Executive Director Rick Rosenfeld is a former executive with The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International in Evanston. Rick managed Donor Services and Recognition from 1988 through 2004, during the peak of the original Polio Plus fundraising campaign.
In District 5340, club members from Carlsbad, Chula Vista Sunrise El Camino, Del Mar/Solana Beach, Encinitas Coastal, Encinitas Inland, La Jolla Golden Triangle, Poway-Scripps, San Diego Coastal, San Diego Downtown, and San Diego E-Club involved in this program via hosting teens, volunteering at events and attending and supporting activities and events. We currently have three supporting Rotary clubs in the Chicago area as well.
Thank you, Rotary, for prioritizing peace and world understanding in your mission and in your District Grant to Hands of Peace.