Project Description

Peace and Reconciliation Project for Israeli, Palestinian and Norwegian Young Adults

Project name:
BridgeBuilders 2017/18

Location:

->Part I: Conference/camp in Stavanger Norway. For the Middle East-participants:
Educational trip in Norway including visiting churches and participating
in a special BridgeBuilders seminar.
->Part II: Camp in Wadi Rum, (Jordanian desert) and educational trip in Israel and
the Palestinian Territories for the Norwegians.

Dates:
-> For participants from the Middle East
Part 1: Norway, July 28th – August 7th, 2017
Part 2: Wadi Rum, Jordan, April 2nd – 6th, 2018
-> For participants from Norway
Part 1: Norway, August July 28th – August 4th, 2017
Part 2: Israel and West Bank + Wadi Rum, Jordan, March 28th – April 7th, 2018

Participants:
30

Ages:
20– 25

Leaders:

8

Organizers/partners:

The Norwegian Church Ministry to Israel (NCMI) – return2sender
The Evangelical Lutheran Free Church of Norway (ELFCN)
Musalaha, Israel
The Palestinian Bible Society, Palestinian Territories
Caspari Center, Israel

Objectives:
– Creating a base for mutual reconciliation between participants from the Middle East with the involvement of young Norwegians.
– Increasing knowledge and understanding of the respective counterparts.
– Educating agents for peace.

The motivation behind the project is based on a wish to involve youth in the Middle East and Norway in peace and reconciliation work. The planned conferences will facilitate encounters across cultural boundaries, where the setting and content will stimulate reflection and conversation about identity, prejudices, Christian unity and conflict resolution. Through team building and various modes of teaching we wish to educate young people and impart to them experiences and tools that can increase their possibilities and their own motivation for becoming agents for peace.

BridgeBuilders is an exchange program consisting of two main parts. The first part is taking place in Norway, and the second part in the Middle East. In addition there will be gatherings for the Norwegian group in Norway and the Middle East group in the Middle East, before and after part I and part II, in order to prepare the participants for the two encounters and help them process and follow up their experiences after the conference.

Part I – Summer 2017
10 Palestinian, 10 Israeli and 10 Norwegian young adults will meet for the first time in Norway. In picturesque surroundings and in a peaceful environment they will participate in a varied program including, teaching, team building, different activities and a spiritual fellowship. The three groups of youth will be able to share insights into each others cultures and self-understanding. By increasing knowledge and encouraging the development of closeness and mutual friendships the participants will be able to develop healthy relations to people and the conflict in the Middle East. The participants from the Middle East will also get a short educational trip in Norway before they return home, and they will also visit churches and participate in a special seminar where they will be able to share with the Norwegian public about their background and experiences in part I.

Program Overview Part I / in Norway
Day 1 Arrival
Day 2 Camp, activities & teaching “Establishing an environment of peace”
Day 3 Camp, activites & teaching “Cross cultural communication and listening”
Day 4 Camp, hike to Prekestolen & teaching “Overcoming your fear”
Day 5 Palestinian culture day, activities & teaching “Forgiveness”
Day 6 Israeli culture day, theater & teaching “A calling to reconcile”
Day 7 Norwegian culture day, tournaments & worship service “One body”
Day 8 Departure, teaching “The road ahead” and stay at host families
Day 9 Church visits, barbeque & open BridgeBuilders meeting
Day 10 Sightseeing, shopping and departure
Day 11 Arrival Middle East

Part II – Easter/Passover 2018
The three groups will meet again in Jordan, where we will pick up where we left off in our previous encounter. This part of the project is planned as “Desert-encounter” organized by Musalaha. Our experience is that the desert is the unique setting for bringing people closer to each other, and it is therefore an excellent place to work on mutual understanding, dialogue and reconciliation. The Norwegian group will in addition have an educational tour in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. On this tour they will experience some of the current situation first hand, meet believers who live in the region and receive teaching on the history of the two people and the ongoing conflict.

Program Overview Part II / in the Middle East
TBA

Our wish is that a foundation will be laid for further involvement and bridge building among youths in the respective countries and home environments. It is our belief, and our intention that the insights and experiences gained through BridgeBuilders will have a ripple effect and serve the cause of peace and reconciliation in the Middle East and Norway.