Model European Union

As part of its objective to stimulate dialogue within and between different groups and communities involved at different levels in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, IPCRI is currently organizing an innovative project to connect and empower international relations students at Israeli and Palestinian Universities.

The Model European Union (MEU) aims at gathering the future leaders of conflict resolution in Israel and Palestine in a program that reflects “Unity in Diversity”. Indeed, we believe that the EU’s values of dialogue, integration, and diversity through cooperation and freedom of movement are essential if we hope to reach a peaceful, equitable, and sustainable resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This innovative reconceptualization of model United Nations simulations will target young activists studying in Israel and Palestine, be they Israeli, Palestinian, or international students. Together, they will be trained in order to simulate a conference of the Council of the EU during which they will debate on collectively chosen topics.

Challenge

Israel and Palestine already comprise great diversity. Indeed, students from all over the world participate in academic programs related to conflict resolution in Israeli and Palestinian Universities. However, even though they are taught about conflict resolution, these young scholars study disjointedly. Such a situation tends to impede future opportunities for dialogue and constitutes a shortfall of these programs. 

MEU is meant to complement such academic courses and ameliorate their limitations through the implementation of an educational program designed to foster mutual empowerment. Though territorial separation and stigmas present a challenge to this project, IPCRI’s long-established experience shows that persistent efforts can overcome such barriers.

Solution

As underlined, the lacking element in conflict resolution programs is unity. That is why IPCRI seeks to provide the future resolution facilitators with a structure for dialogue and cooperation in order to replicate the EU’s Unity in Diversity. This way, participants will be able to imagine and embody a regional organization for broad cooperation and integration in the Middle East.

Thanks to a solid training program, participants will be provided with practical skills that will stimulate their ability to reach multilateral solutions to national issues. This extracurricular experience based on mutual empowerment will result in new connections and innovative ideas for the future of conflict transformation.

Jerusalem-Belfast Forum

Jerusalem and Belfast are both affected by an inflammatory conflict with ethno-national, religious, and territorial dimensions. Both conflicts have affected local residents’ daily lives and impacted the politics at the national level. However, while the future of Jerusalem is uncertain, Belfast reached a settlement almost two decades ago that, although it didn’t solve the conflict, has transformed the situation into one of mutual security and dignity.

This program aims to deliver lessons from other cases of divided cities, with a special focus on the Belfast experience, to local activists in Jerusalem.  Though it does not have the ambition of total resolution to the conflict, this initiative will equip activists from both sides with the knowledge and tools needed to reach a stable consensus. 

The program aims not only to benefit the participants but also the population of Jerusalem in general. Indeed, as all participants are politically active Jerusalemites, with equal numbers from the East and the West, it is expected that this experience will engender a local inter-community partnership that will enhance mutual respect, encourage social diversity and dialogue, and inspire creative, cooperative approaches to addressing the problems in the city.

This group gathered in four meetings, followed by a four-day trip to Belfast. This trip exposed the participants to the city of Belfast and to local lessons in conflict transformation. On June 7th, 2017, there was a concluding forum aimed at analyzing similarities and differences between the two cases and identifying takeaways that may be useful in the Jerusalem context, while creating a network of activists between Jerusalem and Belfast. For more information, you can read through the summary of the project, written before the concluding forum.

**NOTE: IPCRI is now accepting applications to participate in the 2018 Jerusalem-Belfast Forum. If you are interested, please complete this online application. The application deadline is December 28, 2017.**

Pictures from the Belfast Forum (May 2017)

          

Jerusalem Community Engagement

 

Negotiations have become futile on the national scale. However, regional interactions between various communities are taking place on a regular basis across the country. As a result, a regional systems of interests are created and offer another avenue toward common understanding. IPCRI aims to facilitate more of these interactions within Jerusalem, both through our "Good Neighbors" project - a multifaceted community-organizing effort in the neighborhoods of Abu Tor/El-Thuri - and our wider "regional committees" project, which is creating regional track II committees that will negotiate the future of specific Jerusalem sub-regions by incorporating various stakeholders. The first program will advance neighborly relations based on increased mutual understanding and capacity for collaboration, while the latter will promote organic processes of mediation and dialogue, building capacity to eventually confront major issues through local agreements. 

Through both projects, we aim to engage local communities in participatory processes that will illuminate their current interlinks and point to potential areas of agreement for the future. As such, our efforts will help both Arab and Jewish citizens in Jerusalem improve their everyday lives in concrete ways, while at the same time working to build the social infrastructure and functional ecosystem for lasting peace and understanding, which can serve as a model for the region as a whole.

Peace Advocacy Fellowship

Effective advocacy is instrumental to the accomplishment of any policy program. And yet, peace organization today have virtually no presence in Israeli policymaking discourses. Among the 185 lobbies currently active in the Knesset, only one, the recently established Women's Lobby for Peace and Security, works on promoting peace. As a result, there is a marked disconnect between government policy in relation to the Palestinians and the tangible needs on the ground that present opportunities for building security, trust, and peace in the region.

In order to ameliorate this problem, IPCRI is launching a new Peace Advocacy Fellowship for Israeli activists. Through the fellowship, they will be connected with other fellows working for peace, as well as with Palestinian civil society organizations. They will also be given the tools to impact policy through effective advocacy by way of open events, mentorship, training, and publications. Fellows will graduate with the confidence and skills to more effectively promote their goals in the policy arena, as well as with an expanded network of both Israel and Palestinian peers that will allow for more effective and collaborative peace work.

 

 

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