Important Dates to Remember:

Save the Date for our Chicago Annual Benefit Evening on Sunday, 
 April 17, 2016

Save the Date for our San Diego Annual Benefit Evening on 
S unday, 
May 1, 2016

Summer Program Dates are 
July 13, 2016 - 
 August 1, 2016

Summer Program Farewell Receptions will be held in 
San Diego and Chicago on 
 July 31, 2016

Like us on Facebook
February, 2016

Hands of Peace News and Updates
Upcoming Israel/Palestine Trip
October 16 - 27, 2016
Customized for our supporters, the October, 2016 Hands of Peace Dual Narrative Tour will offer a combination  of rich historical, cultural and spiritual experiences, along with experiences that help define the current political reality. As we travel together, we will engage with people whose personal stories bring both sides of the conflict to life. This trip will challenge us on many levels, but the result will be an increased knowledge of the conflict that will provide travelers with a renewed support and understanding of Hands of Peace and the work that we do.
To learn more about this incredible opportunity, please visit our Mejdi/Hands of Peace website.

Staff Updates
Hands of Peace is thrilled to announce our newest staff member, Elias Hawila, who has been chosen to fill the new role of  Leadership Program Coordinator for Hands of Peace in the Middle East.

Elias became involved in HOP in 2004 . He currently resides in Haifa, where he is studying at the prestigious Technion (Israel Institute of Technology). He is in his last year of his medical program, doing a double degree program for an MD/PhD .

Here is what he has to say about the program:
Sometimes I think the HOP slogan of "you come to HOP wanting to change the world, you find yourself being changed" was written about me! Ever since the day that I left O'Hare airport, I was determined to incorporate what I learned and experienced into my daily life. I was an active alumni who got to be part of the XL program the following year, a chaperone for the Palestinian Citizens of Israel delegation as a young adult and in the last few years a dialogue facilitator in local HOP seminars.

I continue to search for ways to do something to change the dire situation  Israelis and Palestinians find themselves in and I think this Leadership  Program can promote that needed change and exemplify how Palestinians and Israelis can work together to make that change happen.

I'm certain that the HOP alumni have a need for positive action and I am  grateful that this Leadership Program is there to provide them with exactly what they need to work with through the training they receive, open and judgement free space to create their own projects and the resources to implement them, all under the guidance and care of their HOP staff and trainers whom they know well and trust. I know that If I were a fresh alum I would definitely be scampering to be part of this program.

I want to thank you for believing in the leadership program and the  opportunities it provides for our ever expanding pool of alumni.
Middle East Updates
Latest Seminar Update
Hands of Peace recently held our latest middle east seminar and included 47 participants (including a large group of older alumni).  We had separate programing for the older alumni, including a career choice panel+workshop and a discussion with HOP Regional Managers about the future of the older alumni community and their continued involvement in HOP.

The younger alumni attended a lecture on the second intifada by Dr. Giora Goodman, and watched a film about the Bilin struggle called  5 Broken Cameras . As always, dialogue sessions were an important part of the seminar, and an evening activity lead by the older alumni included some fun as well as some serious trust-building activities. 

The next day we held a workshop for  everyone o n leadership and how we process our reactions when we witness acts of injustice. I t was extremely intense but also a huge success and a great opportunity for the younger and older alumni to get to know each other.

Our alumni look forward to these opportunities to be together and to continue the process that they begin during our summer programs!

Launch of HOP's new Middle East Leadership Program
HOP's new Middle East leadership program will enable our alumni to move from dialogue to social action! The program will be launched with a training retreat in Israel from Friday, March 18th to Sunday, March 20th. Dedicated Israeli and Palestinian alumni (age 18 and older) will be trained by Gamaliel , a renowned US organization, in the field of community organizing. In the months following the retreat, alumni will work together in small groups to plan and implement their own community projects with ongoing mentorship from HOP staff. 

To learn more about this great new program click here.

Chicago Upcoming Events
Thursday, March 3rd 6:30-9:00pm
HOPEducation - Triangulation: Mosque Battles, Theatre, and Civic Engagement with Silk Road Rising Theatre's Jamil Khoury
Playwright/filmmaker Jamil Khoury of Silk Road Rising Theatre
introduces his latest work, Mosque Alert, and shares select video clips from the groundbreaking new play which opens March 24th. Mosque Alert explores resistance to the building of mosques in communities across the U.S. with a specific focus on two families, one Muslim, the other Christian, living in Naperville, IL. The discussion following will address questions of religious pluralism, Islamophobia, and civil rights, drawing upon local, national, and international contexts.  For more information or to RSVP, please contact  Rhonda McCarty.

Wednesday, April 6th 6:30-9:00pm
HOPEducation - Film Dialogue Night - The Promised Band
The Promised Band
The Promised Band
We are excited to introduce you to the work of filmmaker Jen Heck, who will be our special guest at this year's Chicago Annual Benefit Evening. Heck's film "The Promised Band" is due for release this spring. It features a group of women, with questionable musical talent, who form a band to navigate borders in Israel and Palestine. One cast member, Lina Qadri, is the mother of a Hands of Peace alumna. Join us for this sneak peek of the film and plan to meet Jen Heck and her partner at the Chicago Benefit Evening on April 17th.  For more information or to RSVP, please contact  Rhonda McCarty.

San Diego Upcoming Events
Saturday, February 27th 1:00pm - 6:00pm
Alumni Mural Event at 
Mermaid Mural Museum and Art Center
212 North Coast Highway, Suite F - Oceanside, CA
Join Hands of Peace San Diego Alumni at this co mmunity event to create murals centered on the themes of peace-building, understanding, and anti-Islamophobia. All high school aged youth are invited to join in creating these fabulous pieces of art.  We will present the murals as gifts to groups in our local Muslim community in March. Please join us in spreading the message of acceptance and inclusivity in our local community.  To RSVP, please contact Eileen Maurer.

Thursday, March 3rd 6:00pm
San Diego Book Club meeting - "An Improbable Friendship: The Remarkable Lives of Israeli Ruth Dayan and Palestinian Raymond Tawil and Their Forty-Year Peace Mission"
T his month the San Diego book club is reading " An Improbable Friendship: The Remarkable lives of Israeli Ruth Dayan and Palestinian Raymonda Tawil and Their Forty-Year Peace Mission ".  To join this months San Diego Book Club, please contact  Kathy Reese .

Sunday, March 6th 3:30pm - 6:00pm
HOPEducation - Film Dialogue Night - Two Sided Story
Two Sided Story
Two Sided Story
Join us on Sunday, March 6th fr om 3:30 pm - 6:00pm as we watch the fascinating film "Two Sided Story". This film follows an encounter group of 27 Palestinians and Israelis - bereaved families, Orthodox Jews and religious Muslims, settlers, ex-soldiers in the Israeli army, former security prisoners, kibbutz members, second generation holocaust survivors, non-violent activists, and more as participants bring each other into their homes and local neighborhoods as they work to overcome their differences.  To RSVP, please contact  Eileen Maurer.

Sunday, May 1st 5:00pm - 9:00pm
Save the Date for the San Diego Annual Benefit Concert to support Hands of Peace - stay tuned for details! 

If you are in San Diego and looking for a way to help, and would like to join a really fun committee, contact Kim Lande for more information!

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