USAID awards $800,000 Grant to Kids4Peace

Funding will empower youth leadership and expand the pro-peace community by 288 new families in the Jerusalem area.

Kids4Peace #ForwardTogether Walk and Youth Panel

usaid

Invitation to:  Kids4Peace #ForwardTogether Walk and Youth Panel

This Thursday, youth of Jerusalem are making change. Over the past summer Jewish, Christian and Muslim youth, participants of Kids4Peace Jerusalem, traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with 14 Congressional offices to show their support for HR 1489, a bill that would create an International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace. The bill, co-sponsored by Reps. Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.), will expand grassroots people-to-people efforts to build coexistence.

Now they are back and are eager to share their experiences from the White House and the Capitol.

This Friday, 100 Jerusalem youth, Muslim Christian and Jewish, Palestinian and Israeli, will  walk 360 degrees around the Old City of Jerusalem, co-led by professional Israeli and Palestinian guides, leading us in the path to a more peaceful Jerusalem and showing us that we are stronger together.

Partners: Tiyul-Rihleh, Kids4Peace

 

Kids4Peace Youth Panel:

Date: Thursday, 22nd of September, 2016

Time: 19:00-20:00

Location: Youth Conference – Agron Youth Hostel, 6 Gershon Agron St., Jerusalem

 

360 Jerusalem – #ForwardTogether:

Date: Friday, 23rd of September, 2016

Time: 9:00-15:00

Location: Leaving from Agron Youth Hostel, 6 Gershon Agron St., Jerusalem

About Kids4Peace:

Founded in Jerusalem in 2002, Kids4Peace is a global movement of Jewish, Christian & Muslim youth, dedicated to ending conflict and  inspiring hope in divided societies around the world.

Through a network of local chapters, Kids4Peace operates five international summer camps and a six-year, year-round program for hundreds of Palestinian, Israeli and North American youth.

We are changing the conversation — asking new questions and finding new answers to the struggle for peace, ones that are based in real relationships of trust and understanding.

Our mission is to build interfaith communities that embody a culture of peace and empower a movement for change.

About Tiyul-Riheh:

Tiyul-Rihla (“Trip” in Hebrew and Arabic) is a bi-national organization which develops educational opportunities focusing on Palestinian and Israeli historical narratives, cultures, and identities. Tiyul-Rihleh’s multi-day trips bring mixed groups of Palestinians and Israelis on tours which provide a unique opportunity for participants to learn about each other from each other by exploring the land and the history they share.

For further questions:

Mohammad Joulany, Co-Director – Email: mohammad@k4p.org, Phone:  054-692-2236

Michal Ner-David, Grants Coordinator – Email: michal.ner.david@k4p.org, Phone: 054-778-0838

Interfaith Youth Group Brings Message of Peace to Washington, DC

Youth Advocate for Israeli-Palestinian Peace at 14 Congressional offices 
UPDATE: 

August 2, 2016 – Washington, DC:

Today, 28 young leaders from Kids4Peace will take to Capitol Hill, to support US efforts to achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

The interfaith group includes Muslim, Christian and Jewish teenagers from Jerusalem and across the United States.  They will visit 14 House and Senate offices and the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

They will encourage support for HR 1489, a bill to create an International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian peace that will expand grassroots, people-to-people efforts to build peace from the bottom up.

We invite you to interview these youth tonight at 6:30pm at Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church (900 Massachusetts Ave NW).  Two participants, both named Omri (one Jewish Israeli and one Palestinian Muslim) will share their stories.
Event Information: k4p-voicesofhope.eventbrite.com
Contact: Fr. Josh Thomas, Executive Director, josh@k4p.org | @frjoshthomas | 617-717-9305

Background: This week, these leaders have been learning skills in faith-based advocacy and social action, and they have visited the US State Department, USAID, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the United States Institute of Peace.
They have met with religious leaders and grassroots activists, including alums of Operation Understanding DC.  Tomorrow they will bring their message of grassroots peace building to the White House.

 

Washington, DC, July 21, 2016 – Kids4Peace International, a fast growing interfaith youth movement, will bring a delegation of 30 Israeli, Palestinian and American teens to Washington, DC for its inaugural Global Institute from July 27-August 3.

The delegation will meet scholars, grassroots activists and policymakers on Capitol Hill, at the State Department and the White House to encourage greater investment in interfaith cooperation and peacebuilding, both in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and here at home.

“Despite the breakdown of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, and the rise of hateful rhetoric in our own country, these youth believe peace can be built from the bottom up, said Fr. Josh Thomas, an Episcopal priest and Kids4Peace’s Executive Director.

“Our societies are divided. No one is showing them a way to peace.  So they are creating it themselves. They have a powerful vision for the future, and their voices need to be heard.”

The delegation includes Jewish, Christian and Muslim youth from Jerusalem, Boston, Seattle, Vermont and Connecticut.  These young leaders will speak on behalf of more than 500 youth who participate in Kids4Peace programs around the world. These programs equip youth to be peace leaders, who build bridges with those who are different, resolve conflicts nonviolently, and raise their voices for justice and peace in the world.

“These teenagers are a symbol of hope,” Thomas said. “They are proving that religion, culture and conflict do not need to divide us.  With their leadership, a new generation can emerge where cooperation, equality and justice are the norm.”

After the program, Israeli & Palestinian youth will return to Jerusalem and continue their activism through year-round community projects and town hall meetings with local leaders.  American participants will learn about the U.S. role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and how to take action on issues of discrimination, inequality and division in their own communities.

Kids4Peace is a member of the Alliance for Middle East Peace, a coalition of more than 90+ organizations working to bring together Israelis and Palestinians to advance a just and sustainable peace.  

The July 1 report of the Middle East Quartet called for Israelis and Palestinians to “foster a climate of tolerance, including through increasing interaction and cooperation in a variety of fields – economic, professional, educational, cultural – that strengthen the foundations for peace and countering extremism.”  

Kids4Peace operates after-school and summer programs for youth age 12-18, through a network of local chapters and an overseas office in Jerusalem.  Activities include team building, dialogue, leadership training, and learning about diverse religions and cultures.

Contact

Fr. Josh Thomas, Executive Director, josh@k4p.org | @frjoshthomas | 617-717-9305
Kids4Peace International | k4p.org | @Kids4Peace

Raising our Voices – A Message from Kids4Peace


In painful times, it can be hard to find words.

Together Peace is PossibleWe weep.  We pray.  We don’t know what to say or do.  The violence spreading across Jerusalem has filled the streets with suffering and fear.  It can leave us paralyzed and speechless.

As a community of Palestinians and Israelis, together with friends from around the world, we feel the pain of both sides like almost no one else. 

We have learned to trust and respect and love each other.  We cling to our common humanity, our hope for peace, our rejection of violence, and our bedrock commitment to see the holiness – the image of God – in every human person, even our enemy.

This is a blessing and a burden.  

We cannot repeat the simple slogans of our own side.  We cannot demonize the other.  We know that violence will lead only to more suffering and pain.

But we also know that the violence we see now is part of a larger reality of hopelessness and despair.  The lack of security, equality and justice for all the people of Jerusalem is fueling hatred, inciting extremism, and taking us further from the peace we long for.  And most painfully of all, we see children – children so much like our K4P youth – caught up in this cycle of suffering.

We are angry.  We are afraid.  But we will not be drawn into a death spiral of blame and retaliation.

 We must offer an alternative.  

In the face of so much fear, where even to leave our homes is a matter of life and death, we feel called to take leadership in building a new future. The future begins now, as we come together – to talk, to cry, to pray, to listen, and to connect deeply and honestly with each other’s lives.

To understand how the conflict is destroying Palestinian and Israeli families.  To sense the fears and struggles at the root of our pain. To face the evil committed by our own side, not only by the other.

To take responsibility for our future. 

 


Step One: We will talk with each other. 

1) Over the coming days, Kids4Peace staff and parents will meet – in person and virtually – to reconnect with our sisters and brothers across the lines of conflict.  It will be hard, but we are ready.

2) Next week, no matter what, we will launch our fall youth programs as planned.  More than 120 young peacemakers are scheduled to meet each other to speak, learn, act.  If it is safe, we will gather all in person.  If it is not, we will meet online, on Facebook, in homes, or wherever we are able.

Nothing will be cancelled.  We will not be defeated.  
We will find a way forward together.

 


Step Two: We will join with our partners in other peace organizations to loudly and powerfully raise our voices in the community – to mobilize for real change. 

While we long for an end to this round of violence, we also cannot return to the status quo.   Division, despair, hatred, fear, injustice – this cannot be our future.

Our young adults will take the lead, through the Dialogue to Action Initiative, our latest effort to put our values into practice through nonviolent social change.

All of us will be working – night and day, heart and soul – in a sustained campaign to influence our peers and our political leaders, and to put forward a vision of the future which reflects our values as Christians, Jews and Muslims, and people of goodwill from all backgrounds, in Jerusalem, and around the world.

We will redevelop our educational programs, to equip youth with skills for advocacy, organizing and nonviolent action – as well as compassionate listening and dialogue.

We will increase our commitment to know – in detail – the reality of the other side, and to take seriously our responsibility to each other.

We will raise our voices.  

One by one and all together, to empower a movement for change.

And we will need everyone’s help to move forward – to work, pray and give more boldly than ever before.