In 2009-10, OneVoice launched its newest campus mobilization campaign: Town Hall Meetings. Across university campuses, OneVoice put the most difficult “taboo” issues -- from refugees to settlements to Jerusalem -- front and center through an interactive polling process and a town hall meetings series. In massive meetings organized by students in consultation with OneVoice staff, these sessions highlighted the art of negotiation, enabling students to surface issues and break taboos, while building understanding that ending the conflict and occupation was possible. Based on a polling series developed by Dr. Colin Irwin to drive conflict resolution in Northern Ireland, the sessions combined skills-training with discussions about the final status issues, highlighting the role of the U.S. -- especially students -- in supporting the peace process.
If you are interested in organizing a town hall meeting on your campus, e-mail Rachel@OneVoiceMovement.org.
In 2007-2008 academic year, the International Engagement Program worked to strengthen and deepen our impact on campuses by fostering sustainable networks of committed OneVoice “Youth Ambassadors.” From fall 2007 to spring 2008, our North American networks engaged in four “Mobilization Days,” simultaneous initiatives to amplify the calls for an end to conflict: the International ECHO events in October 2007, a youth delegation to Annapolis in November 2007, Knowledge-Building Activism activities in March 2008, and a Global Town Hall Meeting in May 2008. These existing networks have empowered supporters to assume roles of leadership with the initiative, increase the visibility of OneVoice, strengthen the local networks, and demonstrate the commitment of the international community to conflict resolution in Israel and Palestine.
Youth Ambassadors in North America have consistently requested a much closer relationship with their Israeli and Palestinian counterparts long past the campus and community tours. Earlier this month, Israeli and Palestinian youth leaders gathered in East Jerusalem for a Virtual Global Town Hall Meeting to deepen the link between the work being done in the Middle East and the efforts of young people around the world. In partnership with Boston-based Empower Peace, Sustainable Networks in North America and high schools around the world tuned-in to this Global Town Hall Meeting in campus student centers, high school classrooms, and private living rooms, and were invited to ask questions of the Israeli and Palestinian youth leaders. Over 1200 students participated in the event. More information and the archived webcast of the event is available here.
North American students identify a basic lack of knowledge about the conflict as one of the challenges in mobilizing other students outside the region. Student leaders believe that many more would be committed to working towards an end to conflict both in Israel and Palestine and within their own communities if they had a greater understanding of the conflict. To address this, students in three Sustainable Networks designed educational initiatives that would raise awareness about the conflict and the constructive role they have to play as members of the international community.
In Washington, students screened films about the peace process in the 1990s and held discussions. Leaders in Boston hosted the Israel-Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI), a partner of OneVoice's, to speak about the possibility of and the need for a negotiated settlement in 2008. In Ottawa, students organized a training seminar with a diverse group of students that provided background on the conflict and imparted tangible conflict-resolution skills on participants.
On Tuesday, November 27th, a small delegation of OneVoice activists from the Middle East, the US, and Europe went to Annapolis, Maryland on behalf of the 620,000+ signatories to the OneVoice Mandate,and on behalf of the overwhelming majorities of Israelis and Palestinians that support negotiations towards a two-state solution.
A number of other groups in attendance on Tuesday stood in opposition to a two state solution and to the very process of peace negotiations. As the leaders pledged to a firm time table, committing to reaching a two state agreement within one year, OneVoice commits to standing by them, supporting them, and mobilizing the moderate majority of citizens in support of an end to the conflict.
To read the leaders' statements, click here.
Throughout late summer and early fall 2007 , students from Colorado to Calgary, from Scotland to Boston, from Ottawa to Washington were planning events to take place on October 18th, 2007 simultaneous with the One Million Voices Peoples' Summits to take place in Jericho and Tel Aviv on that day. We remain committed to standing in solidarity with their counterparts, average Israelis and Palestinians who want to see a sustainable future for themselves and their children and grandchildren.
We call ourselves the Echo with the conviction that the role of the international community is not to dictate a policy for others to live the consequences of on a day-to-day basis, but rather to Echo the authentic, grassroots call for action based on points of consensus between the majorities on either side.
When the One Million Voices People's Summits in Jericho and Tel Aviv were postponed, our response, the response of the OneVoice international student movement was nearly unanimous: we must persevere and show that our communities stand united in support of OneVoice’s mandate for conflict resolution in Palestine and Israel.
In Canada, a student-led gathering took place on Parliament Hill in Ottawa and garnered significant attention and support from the highest levels of the Canadian government. All five major parties in Canada’s government sent representatives to express the parties’ support for OneVoice and OneVoice Canada, and the head of the Palestinian delegation to Canada, Amin Abou Hassira, was joined by a representative from the Israeli Embassy to witness the proceedings. The statement read by students can be found here.
In Washington, DC, dozens of people from the local student and activist community were joined by students from as far away as Pennsylvania and New York for a public meeting featuring messages from Darya Shaikh, US Executive Director of OneVoice, Rabbi Scott Sperling, Imam Yahya Hendi, Dr. Tamara Wittes, AID founder Seth Green, and Derrick N. Ashong, an artist, activist, and lead singer of Soulfège. Those gathered then participated in a question-and-answer session and broke into groups to discuss future courses of identity and action for OneVoice International. The statement read by students can be found here.
In Boston, Students for Peace and Borderless Educations along with OneVoice hosted an event at the Middle East Club which included speakers highlighting a message of hope from Israel, Palestine and Lebanon as well as the comedy duo Standup for Peace, student and professional bands playing Arabic, Spanish, Jewish and American music, dancers and interactive art and peace exhibits. The meeting culminated with a statement expressing solidarity with and unwavering support of the brave Palestinians and Israelis who are working under very difficult circumstances to promote a fair and just resolution to the conflict. The statement read by students can be found here.
In Aberdeen, over 350 people gathered for a two-part event hosted by Article 12 and Constructing the Peace. The outdoor stage was well planned and presented by the young people of Article 12 in Scotland - the statement read by organizer Lynne Tammi can be found here. The event then proceeded to Cafe Drummond for a screening of OneVoice's Eye Opener video, and live performances by Mr. Gavin McGinty, Mr. Missouri, Kashmir Red, and the Vanzants. The Aberdeen's event aimed to raise awareness of the One Million Voice Campaign and to recruit more hands on activists to help us further promote the work over the coming year - both were achieved. Article 12 plans to hold further events in other Scottish cities in the coming months.
In a conflict of such global consequence, public displays of solidarity and support by those outside the region are extremely important. In joining one of the Echo events, you will have a chance to play a part in an historical change -- to unite two so-called "enemy" populations and take a stand against violent extremism.