ears of Experience in Strategies for Peace M

YES PM Workshop - March 14, 2002, Tantur 9.00 - 14.00 - Click Here

The British Consul General in Jerusalem and the British Embassy in Tel Aviv have contracted IPCRI to conduct a detailed study on how to increase and strengthen the impact of future Israeli-Palestinian People-to-People initiative

The Oslo Peace Process was largely framed as a “top-down” strategy for achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The strategy was based on reaching political agreements between the Government of Israel and the PLO.  The expectation was that political agreements between the leaders would significantly change the realities on the ground and the peoples of both sides would almost automatically support the process.  Almost as an afterthought the sides added to the Oslo II agreement an annex calling for the institution of People-to-People projects as a means of strengthening peace between the two peoples.  The international community embraced the agreements and the idea of People-to-People projects. During the past five - seven years an estimated $20-$25 million dollars was allocated for funding people-to-people projects mainly through NGO’s and Civil Society Institutions in Israel and Palestine. 

In September 2000 the Palestinian Al Aqsa Intifada erupted virtually putting an end to the People-to-People projects (with several exceptions – IPCRI being one of them). Now many people, locally and internationally are asking why?  Why did the people-to-people projects cease to work when they were critically needed most?  Why did the people-to-people projects fail to produce the desired goals? Was there a strategy for funding these projects? How could people-to-people project have greater impact? Why are some activities continuing while others have ceased? Could a “best practices manual” for people-to-people project be developed?  And many more questions.

The Work

The aim of this proposal is to answer the above questions through a systematic approach involving the proponents and antagonists of the people-to-people concept.  The project will involve Israeli and Palestinian NGO’s and Civil Society Institutions, academics – Israeli, Palestinian, and internationals, the donors to the people-to-people projects, and other expert conflict resolution and conflict prevention practioners from other parts of the world.

The aim of this project is not to conduct an evaluation of the work of the many NGO’s and institutions that conducted activities conducted under the “people-to-people” heading, but rather to work together with all of those who ran such programs in order to learn together and to propose “best practices” for future work in this area.

IPCRI will be organizing a number of workshops for people and organizations that have run “people-to-people” projects over the past years.  A joint Israeli-Palestinian research team will be meeting with people and individuals in the field as well.  We will also develop an interactive web site to be used by anyone who would like to submit observations, conclusions, suggestions, etc.

In the end of the project (6-8 months) IPCRI will publish its findings.

We call upon all of those individuals and organizations, NGO’s, governments and agencies, donors and recipients to cooperate with IPCRI in this important project.  We view this as a cooperative endeavor from which all of us can benefit.

We would be pleased to receive your comments and input.