NEW YORK, June 23, 2009—On June 23, the 5th annual Victor J. Goldberg IIE Prize for Peace in the Middle East was presented to Nimrod Goren, Director of the Young Israeli Forum for Cooperation, and Hakam Jadallah, Director of the Palestinian Youth Forum for Cooperation for their joint initiative, Fresh Start. Their award-winning work develops the leadership capacity of young Palestinian and Israeli professionals to address conflict and find ways to take collective action for a better, more peaceful future. The Goldberg Prize was created by Victor J. Goldberg to recognize outstanding work being conducted jointly by two individuals, one Arab and one Israeli, working together to advance the cause of peace in the Middle East.
According to Mr. Goldberg, "The intent of this award is to recognize innovation and reward those who are courageous and committed enough to work together to overcome the religious, cultural, ethnic, and political issues which divide the Middle East. We hope not only to recognize significant work being conducted today, but also to inspire others to join together across these divides to advance the cause of peace in the coming years."
In the belief that young professionals can bring new vision and action to the peace process, Fresh Start prepares participants to lead for change. Their collaborative activities train these future leaders to generate movement towards peace and devise joint post-conflict agendas. Fresh Start participants take part in exercises such as Peace Laboratory simulations, conflict transformation skills workshops, "My Culture/Your Culture" workshops, and roundtables on various post-conflict scenarios. Through such collaborative activities, they seek to identify what the young professionals desire for their futures; understand the social processes that may lead to the implementation of these futures; map the different social actors that may influence this process, for better or for worse; think how to engage vast parts of the societies in such a process; and develop relevant action plans.
The Institute of International Education (IIE), a non-profit organization founded in 1919 and headquartered in New York City, created the Goldberg IIE Prize with an endowment from IIE's Executive Committee member and former Vice Chairman, Vic Goldberg. IIE's New York-based Chief Operating Officer, Peggy Blumenthal, joined Mr. Goldberg to present the 2009 winners with the $10,000 Prize at the June 23 ceremony at Talitha Kumi in Beit Jala.
The eligibility criteria state that at least one of the nominated individuals must be an alumnus of a program administered by the Institute of International Education. Mr. Goren was eligible for the Prize because of his participation in the International Visitors Leadership Program on "Conflict Resolution and Preventive Diplomacy" sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.
The Selection Committee for the Prize includes leading experts from academia, the non-profit sector, and government. Chaired by Thomas S. Johnson, the Chairman of IIE's Board of Trustees and retired Chairman and CEO of GreenPoint Financial Corporation, the committee includes: David Arnold, President of the American University in Cairo; Susan Berresford, Former president of the Ford Foundation; Peter Edelman, Co-Director of the Joint Degree in Law and Public Policy and Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center and past Board President of the New Israel Fund; Kenton Keith, Senior Vice President, Meridian International Center, Former Ambassador to Qatar and Director of USIA's Office of North African, Near Eastern, and South Asian Affairs; Serra Kirdar, Life Fellow, St. Antony's College, University of Oxford, and founding member of IIE New Leaders Group; and Harold Tanner, a New York investment banker and former president of the American Jewish Committee and head of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
According to Institute of International Education Chief Operating Officer Peggy Blumenthal, "The Goldberg IIE Prize honors outstanding collaboration by past winners and, we hope, will encourage other courageous professionals in the region to develop new initiatives which will advance the cause of peace in the Middle East. The winners we celebrate each year exemplify the kinds of joint action that are needed to resolve conflicts in this region and around the world. They embody Vic Goldberg's long-time commitment to bettering the world through international cooperation."
The Goldberg IIE Prize was first awarded in 2005 to professors Dan Bar-On and Sami Adwan, for their shared history project, "Learning Each Other's Historical Narrative" (2005). Subsequent winners included: Ibrahim Abu Shindi and Hadas Kaplan, for their Arab Jewish Community Center in Jaffa (2006); Amin Khalaf and Lee Gordon, founders of Hand in Hand: Center for Jewish-Arab Education in Israel (2007); and Aziz Abu Sarah and Lily Jaffe (2008) of Family Forum/The Parents Circle, for conducting educational activities that draw on the experiences of bereaved Palestinian and Israeli families who have lost immediate family members to the violence in the region.
About the Institute of International Education
The Institute of International Education (IIE) is a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. Its expertise enables institutions and individuals to build capacity in their home countries and regions. IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for 20,000 students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from governments, foundations, corporations and individuals. These programs include the Fulbright Student and Scholar programs and the Humphrey Fellowships, administered on behalf of the Department of State in cooperation with Fulbright Commissions around the world, as well as over 200 other training and scholarship programs. IIE conducts policy research and provides counseling on international educational opportunities abroad. The Institute of International Education has a network of 20 offices worldwide, over 1000 college and university members, and more than 5,000 volunteers.
About Victor J. Goldberg
Victor J. Goldberg retired from IBM in 1993 as a corporate vice president after a 34-year career at the company. Mr. Goldberg received both his undergraduate and his M.B.A. degrees from Northwestern University. He joined the Board of Trustees of the Institute of International Education in 1979, is a member of its Executive Committee and served for 13 years as vice chairman of the Board. He is a trustee of the International Fellowship Program, a Ford Foundation initiative for underserved populations around the world, and also serves on the National Council of the American Jewish Committee and the boards of Education Through Music and the Scarsdale Foundation.
Vic Goldberg and IIE's COO Peggy Blumenthal are available for interview upon request.
About Fresh Start
Fresh Start is a joint initiative of two all-voluntary organizations, the Young Israeli Forum for Cooperation (YIFC) and the Palestinian Youth Forum for Cooperation (PYFC), launched in 2004 by the nominees – both founding Executive Directors of the their organizations. The Goldberg Prize winners – Nimrod Goren and Hakam Jadallah – are the first Executive Directors of these organizations. They are also the initiators and the direct managers of the Fresh Start initiative. Both organizations are run by and comprised of young leaders and operate on a purely voluntary basis by people driven solely by inspiration and dedication to a peaceful future. YIFC and PYFC, both members of the US-based Alliance for Middle East Peace, carried out numerous activities within their own societies, developed wide local and international networks, and positioned themselves as credible and influential NGOs. In parallel, they developed Fresh Start, an effective action-oriented cooperation strategy. The Fresh Start initiative is local, and takes place mostly within the region, through uni-national activities in Israel and the PNA and through joint activities conducted in neutral venues along the Green Line. Fresh Start emphasizes the "return home" of the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue and locates itself physically within the conflict to symbolize self-determined solutions.
About Nimrod Goren
Nimrod Goren is the Executive Director of The Young Israeli Forum for Cooperation (YIFC). Previously, he worked at the Harry S Truman Research Institute for the Advancement for Peace, the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies and the Levtzion Center for Islamic Studies. He is involved in several policy-oriented and civil society initiatives promoting Israeli-Arab peace, amongst them the Israeli-Syria Peace Society, the Alliance for Middle East Peace, the Israeli-Palestinian Peace NGO Forum, and an UNESCO program fostering Israeli-Palestinian academic cooperation. Nimrod has participated in 2004 in the US State Department's International Visitors Program on "Conflict Resolution and Preventive Diplomacy" and will spend the 2009-10 academic year at Syracuse University as part of the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship program. He is about to complete his PhD dissertation on "The role of external incentives in conflict resolution: the cases of Israel and Turkey" at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and holds a BA in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies and Psychology and an MA in Contemporary Middle Eastern Studies, both from the Hebrew University. His publications deal with US policies towards the Israeli-Arab conflict, incentives in conflict resolution, Turkey-EU relations, and the role of civil society in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
About Hakam Jadallah
Hakam Jadallah is the Founder and Executive Director of the Palestinian Youth Forum for Cooperation (PYFC), established in 2004 as a response to the urgent needs of youth in the Palestinian community. He is an experienced professional who has worked across all areas of conflict resolution. He is a member of organizations such as Friends Without Borders, the Palestinian Peace Coalition, and the Alliance for Middle East Peace. He joined with a group of young Palestinians with expertise in cross-cultural exchange and international volunteering to establish PYFC, in order to fill the gap in services available to the youth sector and play a key role in youth development. PYFC works to empower youth with skills to make positive changes in the society; recognize and respect cultural diversity; and work with young people in neighboring countries to achieve peace based on justice and equality. Previously, he was a brand manager with Unilever Palestine, a sponsorship and event manager with the Palestine Telecommunications Company JAWWAL, and a public relations officer with Birzeit University, where he worked on the international student orientation and International Summer Camp.