RAHAT, June 22, 2011—Amal Elsana Alh'jooj and Vivian Silver received the Goldberg IIE Prize for Peace in the Middle East in recognition of their efforts to promote peace and development within the Jewish and Arab society in Israel. Specifically, their initiatives to train and empower the Arab Bedouin community of the Negev with a particular emphasis on the crucial role of women in the process of community development, through the Arab-Jewish Center for Equality, Empowerment and Cooperation (AJEEC).
The ceremony took place on Tuesday, June, 21 at the Peace Tent (AL Sa’ada) in the Arab Bedouin city of Rahat. The event was hosted by IIE in cooperation with the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.
Andrew Parker, the U.S. Embassy Consul General gave opening remarks. Mr. Victor Goldberg, initiator of the Goldberg IIE Prize for Peace and an IIE Trustee, and Ms. Peggy Blumenthal, senior counselor to the president at IIE, presented the award. The event was attended by more than 200 people including distinguished guests, Mr. Faiz Abu Sehiban, Mayor of Rahat, members of the international diplomatic corps, and national and regional policy makers.
Amal Elsana Alh'jooj pointed out how this prize is especially significant because "while I have received prizes in the United States and Europe, this is the first time that I have the honor of having my work celebrated here, together with my family, friends and my people." She continued by emphasizing her pride in the Arab Bedouin of the Negev. "My people are strong. We are part of the solution and not the problem."
Vivian Silver eloquently summed up the meaning of this prize for her and her co-executive director and co-awardee, Amal Elsana Alh’jooj. "In a sense we are a microcosm of what our two peoples could potentially be—open to each other's cultures, respectful of our differences, working for a better world for both our peoples."
See past winners of the Goldberg IIE Prize for Peace in the Middle East
Goldberg IIE Prize for Peace in the Middle East Selection Committee