Model European Union

Within its objective of stimulating dialogue within and between different groups and communities involved at different levels in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, IPCRI is currently organizing an innovative project to connect and empower International Relations students of Israeli and Palestinian Universities.

The Model European Union aims at gathering the future actors of conflict resolution in Israel and Palestine in a program that reflects “Unity in Diversity”. Indeed, we believe that EU’s values of dialogue, integration and diversity through cooperation and freedom of movement are essential attributes to reach a peaceful, equitable and sustainable resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This innovative reconceptualization of Model United Nation simulations will target young activists studying in Israel and Palestine, may they be Israeli, Palestinian or International students. Together, they will be trained in order to simulate a conference of the Council of the EU during which they will debate on collectively chosen topics.

Challenge

Israel and Palestine already comprise great diversity. Indeed, students from all over the world participate in academic programs related to conflict resolution in Israeli and Palestinian Universities. However, even though they are taught about conflict resolution, these young scholars, either nationals or foreigners, study disjointedly. Such a situation tends to impede future opportunities for dialogue and constitutes a shortfall in these programs. 

MEU is meant to complement such academic courses through the implementation of an educational program designed to foster mutual empowerment. However, the conflict implies material and psychological obstacles to bi-national encounters. Territorial separation and stigmas make constitute the main challenge to this project. Nevertheless, IPCRI’s long-established experience shows that persistent efforts can overcome such barriers.

Solution

As underlined, the lacking element in conflict resolution programs is Unity. That is why IPCRI seeks to provide the future resolution facilitators with a structure for dialogue and cooperation in order to replicate EU’s Unity in Diversity. This way, participants will be able to imagine and embody a regional organization for broad cooperation and integration in the Middle East, by replicating the European Union and discussing its issues. 

Thanks to a solid training program, participants will be provided with practical skills that will stimulate their ability to reach multilateral solutions to national issues. This extracurricular experience based on mutual empowerment should result in new connections and innovative ideas for the future of conflict transformation.

Jerusalem Belfast Forum

Jerusalem and Belfast are both affected by an inflammatory conflict with ethno-national, religious, and territorial dimensions. This conflict has affected local residents’ daily lives and impacted the political sphere at the national level. However, while the future of Jerusalem is uncertain, Belfast reached a settlement almost two decades ago, that, although didn’t solve the conflict, has transformed the situation to one of stability and dignity.

This program aims to deliver lessons from other cases of divided cities, with a special focus on the Belfast experience, to local activists in Jerusalem.   Though it does not carry the ambition of conflict resolution, this initiative could equip activists from both sides with the knowledge and tools needed to reach a consensus. 

The program aims not only to benefit the participants but also the population of Jerusalem at large. Indeed, as all participants are politically active Jerusalemites, with equal numbers from the East and the West, it is expected that this experience will engender a local inter-community partnership that will enhance mutual respect, encourage social diversity and dialogue, and inspire creative, cooperative approaches to addressing the problems in the city.

This group will gather in four meetings, followed by a four-day trip to Belfast. This trip will expose the participants to the city of Belfast and to local lessons on conflict transformation. After the trip, there will be concluding activities aimed at analyzing similarities and differences between the two cases and identifying takeaways that may be useful in the Jerusalem context, while creating a network of activists between Jerusalem and Belfast.

Regional Committees

 

Negotiations have become futile in the national scale. However, regional interactions between various communities are taking place on a regular basis across the country. As a result, a regional system of interests is created and offers a breakthrough in reaching a common understanding. IPCRI aims in creating regional track 2 committee which will negotiate the future of local sub-regions through incorporating various stakeholders. In this way, a mediation process can be created gradually and eventually confront the major issues through local agreements.

 

We aim to engage local communities in a participatory process that will expose the current interlinks between the various communities, while illuminating potential points of agreements for the future. This process will use the tools of participatory mapping, analysis of interaction and the establishment of regional committees in order to expose the connection between the different communities and identifying common principles for the spatial and urban development of the common landscape.

Media Literacy Initiative

 

The strengthening of Palestinian democracy must be seen as a key pillar of any national development or negotiated peace process. As the media serves as the “watchdog” of democracy and can become a tool for developing political pluralism, Palestinian media literacy must be enhanced in order to keep the media accountable. Moreover, as the social media is highly popular among the Palestinian population, the development of tolerant and open social media is essential for the democratization of the Palestinian political culture.

The IPCRI Media Literacy Initiative, in cooperation with MEMLI (The Middle East Media Literacy Initiative) and the University of Chicago's Center for Middle Eastern Studies, will provide a Media Literacy and Civil Discourse Program for youth living in the West Bank. Digital Citizenship and 21st Century skills will be included, to teach youth how they fit into the opportunities provided in the Human Economy and reach their highest potentials. Social and Emotional Learning will be the methodology throughout the course. Through this intensive 32-hour course, students will be empowered to evaluate the mechanisms of media construction and bias, to innovate and collaborate with one another through better communication skills and to understand the benefits of accountable social media use. At the end of the course, 80 young adults across the West Bank will graduate from the program, and 16 young adults will be trained to deliver the curriculum to other groups around the country and be paid for this part time work.

As a result, a group of agents will be empowered to better scrutinise media and its impacts, to be responsible digital citizens and to practice the values of pluralism and democratic values through increased social and emotional intelligence and civil discourse and debate both on and offline.

For more information about this project, please go to http://www.memli.org/.

Julie Gray, the Director of the Media Literacy Program, lived and worked in Hollywood for ten years, where she was a top story analyst and story editor for novels and film scripts.  A Huffington Post writer, Julie has been published as an essayist and short fiction writer in numerous publications. In 2012, Julie relocated to Tel Aviv, Israel where she directed the Tel Aviv Writer's Salon and later leveraged her considerable story analysis and teaching skills to work with a number of high tech and startup businesses to perfect presentations, and communication skills. In 2015, Julie founded MEMLI (The Middle East Media Literacy Initiative), a program to teach media literacy, civil discourse and emotional intelligence skills to youth. Through this program, youth in MENA will acquire the necessary skills to promote empathy, pluralism, democratic values and self-empowerment skills for a better future.

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