I am writing to share some of the highlights of 2011 with you. I hope you will take a few minutes to read about our progress, which is possible because of your support.
To begin here is a story from Nancy Clayman, our Middle East Director, which illustrates the miracles of peacemaking that take place at Creativity for Peace:
|Gathering of 2011 campers, Jerusalem, January 7, 2012|
"There had been a heartfelt discussion at the gathering about checkpoints. Both Silvi and I felt that many of the girls weren't really focused... But when I called one of the girls from the West Bank to make sure she had gotten home, she told me that when the minivan took her to the checkpoint, all the Jewish and Palestinian girls living in Israel who were in the car got out, escorted them to the checkpoint, and asked the soldiers to please take care of them."
Last year our senior young leaders expressed their desire to step up to higher levels of responsibility. Consequently they now serve on a steering committee that advises staff on young leader policies, procedures, and programming. They also have screened 2012 camp candidates.
|Fairuz (05), Maya (06), and Baraa (06) lead a young leader meeting In Umm al-Fahm, Israel in December|
In order to more widely disseminate our reconciliation methodology, we held our first-ever dialogue facilitator training workshop in Israel with 15 participants and a senior young leader assisting. Young leaders organized a home group meeting in Ramallah, which was attended by 21 Palestinians from Israel and the West Bank. Session topics included religion and marriage; the role of young people in political and social change in the Middle East; and the teachings of Nelson Mandela. Home group meetings are an opportunity for Creativity for Peace campers and young leaders to share common concerns in their native language.
We also became an official nonprofit in Israel and significantly elevated our visibility among allied organizations and individuals in the region.
With new procedures for camper recruitment in place, we attracted 16 charismatic young women to our 2011 summer program in Santa Fe. As always the transformations were powerful, as when introverted Miriam began taking risk after risk - speaking English, expressing her deeply felt emotions, and reaching out to build friendships with Jewish girls.
"Peace is a word that I have heard a lot in my life. The concept is not new to me; maybe because I lost hope in it. How can we talk so much and nothing changes? But camp has motivated me to work for the things I believe in. It gave me back hope."
- Maya, Jewish Israeli
"Now I can deal with the Israeli people without being afraid or worried. I can say what I think without fear, as I did in dialogue. I can use art to express my feelings."
Creativity for Peace's new summer event, "Feast for Peace," was a great success, attracting over 200 guests and donated Middle Eastern delicacies from 11 chefs and restaurants. Joan Kafri and her teenage dancers and the Albuquerque band Sadaqah provided entertainment. An expanded Feast for Peace event will return this summer.
|Joan Kafri and campers at Feast for Peace in August|
The public learned about Creativity for Peace through an editorial in the July 15 issue of the New Mexican and a feature story produced on EuroNews, a European news service, as well as 20 other public, media, and community group appearances. Three of our young leaders gave talks in Albuquerque, Denver, and Boulder, inspiring people wherever they spoke.
|Sivan (05), Aya (06), Muna (08), and Zoey (08) at Congregation Bonai Shalom, Boulder in August|
Chef Emily Swantner generously donated her time to lead a cooking class at the home of Jane and Bill Buchsbaum. Fourteen aspiring chefs made scrumptious Middle Eastern dishes and dined on the patio against a backdrop of a glorious Santa Fe sunset.
Finally, we were one of 27 entities from around the world honored with a special citation from the Threshold Foundation in Germany, sponsors of the International Bremen Peace Award, which honors organizations and individuals for exemplary commitments to justice, peace, and integrity of creation. Thanks to supporters Joa Dattilo and Jane Oakes for nominating Creativity for Peace.
Board of Directors
|Emeritus board member Elizabeth Martin and board president Libby Pattishall|
In 2011, Libby Pattishall assumed the leadership of our board, succeeding Joyce Salhoot, who served with dedication for three years. Libby has worked with Creativity for Peace since 2007, first as our (volunteer) volunteer coordinator and later as a board member. She brings passionate energy, grace, and intelligence to her new position.
|New board members Beverley Byers-Pevitts and Rob Elliott|
Beverley Byers-Pevitts is president emerita of Park University, a playwright, writer, and editor, and a lecturer on women's leadership issues. Rob Elliott is a retired river outfitter who guides four weeks a year on the Colorado River in Grand Canyon. He has served on the boards of numerous environmental and community organizations, many in Arizona.
Join us for our camp open house on Sunday afternoon, August 5 and our second annual Feast for Peace public event, featuring the food, music, and dance of the Middle East, on Tuesday evening, August 7. Details are forthcoming.
Thank you for partnering with us to prepare young women to be the future leaders of Palestine and Israel. Thank you for being a peacemaker.
|Abigail and Miriam, 2011 camp|