This ACWAY activity focused on teaching youth about these positive examples within Palestine, what ACWAY is as a movement and how youth can be directly involved in promoting grassroots, interreligious peace in the Middle East. I gathered 39youth aged 13-17 who came to Ramallah for a cultural heritage program to learn more about their native Palestine.
On the day of the workshop, I had an engineer explain to the youth how the newly built city of Rawabi was becoming a strong model of peaceful coexistence amongst different religions (Christianity and Islam). Afterwards, I explained the work we have been doing, how it fits into the AC-WAY (meaning developing an international youth base to promote interfaith cooperation worldwide) and how internationally we can learn from each other. I also spent time explaining the model used in Rabat to train a diverse group of youth, and the sensitivities that need to be followed a well as a couple personal accounts (for example, when we celebrated a Hanukah night together – Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Christians, atheists, all in one place).
I strongly believe in the ripple effect youth can create in their communities and education centers. Inspired by the ripple effect model we learned at ACWAY, where we all got trained in one location but then held activities with other groups back home, I decided to run a two-hour informational and workshop session for youth coming to the Middle East (Palestine specifically) to learn about the positive examples of cooperation as opposed to the negative events they experience in the media. The workshop was important to also stimulate and engage the youth to become young peace ambassadors and join the international ACWAY community.