Hands of Peace
Hands of Peace is an interfaith organization that empowers young people to raise their voices as leaders of change. Through the power of dialogue, Palestinians, Israelis and Americans partner to pursue peace, equality, freedom and justice. Hands of Peace believes the future depends on the leadership of the next generation.
Each summer Hands of Peace brings a group of Jewish-Israeli, Palestinian Citizens of Israel, and Palestinian teenagers to Chicago and San Diego for a 19-day, dialogue-based experience with one another, as well as with a comparable number of American teens from Jewish, Christian, Muslim and other faith backgrounds. Our program teaches team-building and leadership skills, helps the participants learn about different cultures and religions, guides them in learning about the conflict from different points of view, and encourages them to take action to incorporate peace-building into their personal lives.
Because Hands of Peace is a dialogue-based program, there are dialogue sessions almost every day. During these structured sessions, which are led by professional facilitators, the participants get to know each other, share their personal stories about the conflict, hear how the conflict has impacted others, explore complicated and painful issues from many different angles, and discuss their ideas about what could bring about peace, equality, and justice.
The Summer Program also provides American host families with an extraordinary opportunity to build strong, long-lasting relationships with teens from the Middle East, and learn about the conflict on a very personal and powerful level. Each year, about 30 local host families at each site are involved.
A critical component of the HOP experience is the Alumni Club, and the ongoing activities it provides for Middle East and American participants. The Middle East Alumni Club keeps participants connected in a variety of ways: quarterly retreats for all participants from all years of HOP, uni-national meetings for each delegation, and service activities. Click here for a video overview.
Throughout the year, Hands of Peace holds educational events for our American parents and adults supporters. We also hold occasional gatherings for our Israeli and Palestinian parents. Events include guest lectures, film dialogue nights, holiday parties and fundraisers, and community service projects.
As a dialogue organization, Hands of Peace intentionally exposes our supporters to speakers and films that offer diverse perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Following each film or presentation, adult supporters share their feelings and viewpoints with one another in small group discussions facilitated by HOP staff and volunteers—thus simulating the intensive dialogue experience that our teenage participants undergo. Click here for a list of upcoming events in Chicago or San Diego.