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Organization: The Center for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation (CCRR)
The following information may be cited or quoted as long as the source is accurately mentioned and the words are not taken out of context.
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Postal address of organization/institution

PO Box 861, Bethlehem, Palestine

E-mail address of organization/institution

ccrr@ccrr-pal.org

Website address of organization/institution

www.ccrr-pal.org

Telephone of organization/institution

+970 2 2767745

PRIORITIES: All of the organization's domains of culture of peace activity

EDUCATION FOR PEACE
HUMAN RIGHTS
UNDERSTANDING, TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY

TOP PRIORITY: The organization's most important culture of peace activity

EDUCATION FOR PEACE

PARTNERSHIPS AND NETWORKS: What partnerships and networks does your organization participate in, thus strengthening the global movement for a culture of peace?

- War Child Netherlands
- European Commission
- Heinrich Boell Foundation
- Austrian Development Cooperation
- Pax Christi International
- Diakonie
- German Development Service (DED)
- School for Peace/Neve Shalom/Wahat Al Salam
- Arab Educational Institute
- Rabbis for Human Rights
- Research Institute for Innovative Education at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem

ACTIONS: What activities have been undertaken by your organization to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence during the ten years of the Decade? If you already made a report in 2005, your information from 2005 will be included in the 2010 report.

Since its establishment, CCRR has continuously upgraded its activities and programmes in the field of peace and civil society. It has enhanced the concept of peace and peace teaching in a way that is suitable to the Palestinian reality and culture providing the maximum benefits to the Palestinian society as a whole. CCRR designs its programmes and activities to serve its mission and goals.

CCRR's projects take place among two main tracks.

The first track concentrates on the relations inside Palestinian society: to increase mutual respect, encourage diverse and critical thinking, acceptance of the other and forgiveness to decrease the pressure caused by the occupation and its cruel practices.

The second track that CCRR focuses on is the discussion and analysis of the conflict in the region, searching for methods to address violence and to create just solutions based on human rights, justice, peace, equality, respect for others, and acceptance of legal rights. CCRR conducts joint projects focusing on dialogue.

Recent projects:

Current programmes and activities of CCRR include the program "Negotiating Our Future" conducted by CCRR and the Israeli School for Peace. The project is based on the common understanding of a just solution to the conflict which would guarantee the historical rights of the Palestinians and the values of justice and equality. The project foresees bringing together 30 participants from both sides for simulated negotiations unaffected by the unequal military, political, and economical balance of power. "Negotiating Our Future" is funded by the European Union.

A second project focuses on the role of women and conflict. In Palestine and the rest of the Arab world, women are often faced with conflicts in the different stages of their development. Many of these conflicts are produced by their confrontation with the values of a traditional society. With the project "Women and Conflict", CCRR focuses on women from small villages in order to provide them with tools to confront themselves with questions that they are not used to address. The project was carried out in cooperation with 15 institutions from Palestinian villages in the West Bank, namely Hebron, Jericho and Bethlehem.

Interfaith Dialogue is project born from the book "Islam and Peace", which was published by the CCRR in 2006. The authors discussed the position of peace in Islam and the defamation of Islam, nowadays used by some in order to justify military campaigns in various parts of the Islamic world. In cooperation with the Arab Educational Institute and the Rabbis for Human Rights, CCRR has launched a project to bring together clerics of Islam, Christianity and Judaism. The clerics will discuss the position of the different religions to values such as democracy, violence, the position of the others, justice and peace. Each party will provide texts showing the attitude of his own religion to these values to the other participants and discuss, clarify and offer new ideas to these texts in joint meetings. The different attitudes are collected in booklets along with the religious texts, in order to illustrate the position of every religion.

Summer Camp: In summer 2007, CCRR has proposed its first summer camp for 50 boys and girls from the Bethlehem area. The camp took place in several locations all over Palestine, aiming to allow the participants to get acquainted with some of the villages and towns from their own country to identify with them. In line with the title of the camp, "Know Your Country", they stopped every day in a different town or village and learned about the history and geography through meetings with the local society, cultural events and joint activities with other insitutions. Summer Camp is funded by War Child.

Peace education deals with the relations between the different participants of the educational system. Education and relations within the educational sphere are a major influence on the development of society. Therefore, this project concentrates on enhancing the educational system by discussing issues concerning their relationship between students, teachers, parents, school directors and social workers. Connected to this project is the "Young Negotiators Program". CCRR has been carrying out the YNP project since 2002 and has so far reached 95 schools. Comprehensive peace in Palestine is to a large degree dependent on the political situation. However, it is important to create peace within the society, to spread the importance of peace as a value. This can be achieved despite external political developments. The participants of the program receive skills and methods necessary for dealing with differences, disagreements, and conflicts in general. The trainings focus on conflicts between students and teachers and CCRR teaches how to deal with these conflicts in a civilised, human, and nonviolent way.

Since October 2006, CCRR has a youth group. The group consists of 20 Palestinian teenage boys and girls, who meet at least once a week. The group is involved in different CCRR programmes assisting where needed and learning about CCRR's mission and activities.

Since 2003, CCRR has regularly published the Tree of Hope magazine, 3 to 4 times each year. Each issue focusses on a different topic related to CCRR's mission and the subject of conflict resolution. Participants of the different programmes, the youth group, and CCRR's trainers and staff write the articles.

Accomplished programmes and activities:

School violence: a project of CCRR together with the Research Institute for Innovative Education at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. CCRR conducted this workshop in 2006 for 20 Palestinian and Israeli school principals. The workshops enabled the school principals from both sides to share their techniques, models and skills of curbing violence in the wider educational context.

The Media Program was run jointfully by CCRR and the School for Peace. It sought to study how journalists deal with conflict, how the media affects the political conflict, and how the conflicts affects journalists. During joint workshops, Israeli and Palestinian professionals discussed subjects such as neutrality, objectivity, loyalty, and identity, as well as the nature of the tasks of the media and journalists.

The idea of the project "Islam and Peace" was to establish a network of Muslim sheikhs to meet regularly over a period of 8 months discussing the subject of Islam and peace. CCRR organized meetings for a group of sheikhs from the Bethlehem and Hebron areas and facilitated discussions about the values of peace and nonviolence in relation to the Quran. The outcome has been published in a book on the subject in both English and Arabic and is being distributed in the region and abroad.

The Young Politicians Program is a program conducted by student leaders from 10 Palestinian universities. Student's political factions play a central role in Palestine and many leaders of modern political parties have been council leaders during their university years. Fifteen student leaders from each university participated in a 30 hour training course including discussions about leadership, communication and way to deal with conflict. The project was completed in summer 2005 with a conference in Rammallah attended by all the participants, guests from the universities and the Ministry of Higher Education.

Together with School for Peace, CCRR prepared a workshop on the role of history in conflict. In the workshops, teachers from the Palestinian and the Israeli side met to discuss the impact of the way history is taught, the way history is used and misused, and how the way history is taught can help de-escalate the conflict to build a just peace.

PROGRESS: Has your organization seen progress toward a culture of peace and nonviolence in your domain of action and in your constituency during the second half of the Decade?

CCRR has contributed to a more united Palestinian community by bringing the opportunity to learn about just peace and nonviolence. According to CCRR, progress is made in reaching out to marginalized groups involved in the conflict to transform the ideas and thoughts about certain values. CCRR has been succesful in their contribution to a prospering and nonviolent Palestine by empowering marginalized groups to participate in the decission-making process that affects their lives. Believing that reconciliation is a long-term goal, we are working to turn the culture of violence into a culture of nonviolence.

OBSTACLES: Has your organization faced any obstacles to implementing the culture of peace and nonviolence? If so, what were they?

The biggest obstacle the CCRR faces in conducting its activities is the occupation. Many times the restriction of movement between the Palestinian cities caused the delay of workshops. In general, the occurrance of events such as assassinations, kidnappings, home demolitions or attacks inside Israel can affect the general mood tremendously. If the political situation becomes worse, it could affect the learning process as participants might be more suspicious towards the concepts of peace and nonviolence.

PLANS: What new engagements are planned by your organization in the short, medium and long term to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence?

After the success of the summer camp organized in 2007, CCRR has decided the renew the experience with the same concept in coming years. CCRR will remain active in the educational sector, especially through its Young Negotiators Program and will expand its activities to more schools during the coming years. The program is evaluated constantly and improved according to experience from and identified needs by the participants and trainers. Based on a very positive feedback received from the participants in the project "Women and Conflict", CCRR has recognized that gender is an important factor in its activities. Therefore, CCRR is exploring the possibility to enlarge its focus to more countries in the Middle East. CCRR also plans to further develop its activities with religious leaders, both by facilitating the exchange among Islamic sheikhs and by promoting dialogue structures through the ongoing interfaith project.

GLOBAL MOVEMENT: How do you think the culture of peace and nonviolence could be strengthened and supported at the world level??

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Organization: The Center for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation (CCRR)

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