Peaceful solutions

"Glaring regional gap between violence and peace." The world has turned increasingly into adjacent regions of conflict and peace, according to a new study. The Institute of Economics and Peace lists Syria and Iraq as the worst off. Europe ranks as the most peaceful....Click on the photo to the right to finish reading the article.

Regretfully, the stark reality is that it is virtually impossible to end wars and expect peaceful resolutions simply by effectively communicating with one another, learning to understand, and accepting each other's difference.

However, if we can begin with our youngest generation to foster quality communications, respect and acceptance of one another, we could reduce and possibly eliminate nationwide conflicts as well as personal conflicts?

Coexistence in Israel - YMCA Peace Preschool

The Rotary Club of Jerusalem works with the Jerusalem International YMCA to support its Peace Nursery School (Gan Shalom), a nursery school for Jewish, Muslim and Christian children aged 3 to 5 years old. The teachers are Arab and Israeli and the activities are in Hebrew and Arabic. Through a Matching Grant fund, the Rotary Club had provided playground equipment with safety flooring. Additionally, the club is the channel for many donations from other Rotarians to help ensure the long term viability and stability of the nursery school.

Though the parent's may be a bit apprehensive, there are absolutely no problems with the children intermingling and playing together. To instill peaceful understanding among the families of these young children, every Friday the school has an open house where, not only the parents are invited, but the entire family including siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles.

Co-existence thrives in an Israeli school

Jewish and Arab students also co-exist at the Hand-in-Hand bilingual school in Jerusalem, Israel where they learn the language of friendship and goodwill.

Below, Principal Nadia Kanana and a young teacher take viewer on a tour, in Arabic. The staff in each of the four schools in the network is equally balanced between Arab and Jewish principals and teachers.

Bilingual Jerusalem School, where Hebrew and Arabic go Hand in Hand

Every class is co-taught by teachers from both groups, and respect is the guiding principle. Lessons are in Hebrew and Arabic, and the co-teachers can divide the lesson subject or teach it together. The children, who follow Hand in Hand's motto: "learning together, living together," may look up to the adults for inspiration, but they also have learned to find their own way towards getting along and even beyond, to friendship.

Will these schools and other peace programs stop violence and conflict in the immediate future? Realistically, likely not; however, these programs and those others that promote peaceful resolutions may in time reduce the tension and conflicts. Not even in our lifetime, yet this is a beginning for better understanding and acceptance of one another. These youngsters, or their youngsters, may become future leaders in their respective countries and eventually we may have a chance of peaceful resolutions in the Middle East and elsewhere.

The bottom line is that we must begin to dialogue with one another; first, within families, then in our communities, and eventually among nations. We must begin with quality communications which includes listening to each other. Of course, we may have totally different perspectives; yet, unless we can listen to other viewpoints--no matter how ridiculous and absurd they may seem to us--we will never be able to resolve our differences.

Let's begin here and now to begin effective and meaningful communications with ourselves, our families, our communities, and eventually the world.

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