The IIE Victor J. Goldberg Prize for Peace is Awarded to Leaders of New Pathways to Peace Program at Kids4Peace
JERUSALEM - June 28, 2017— The Institute of International Education (www.iie.org) today awarded the 13th annual $10,000 IIE Victor J. Goldberg Prize for Peace in the Middle East to Sarah Stone and Montaser Amro, an Israeli and Palestinian who have joined together to lead a new Pathways to Peace program through Kids4Peace. The ceremony was held on June 28th at America House in Jerusalem, with remarks by Chris Hodges, Public Affairs Officer at the American Consulate, and Thomas Genton, Counselor for Press and Cultural Affairs at the American Embassy.
The award recognizes outstanding work being conducted jointly by two individuals, one Jewish Israeli and one Muslim Arab, working together to advance the cause of peace in the Middle East. The award is a symbol of the power of international education to bring people together across cultures to solve shared problems.
Kids4Peace recently announced its new mandate to broaden its focus from interfaith education to empowering a movement for change, and created the new Pathways to Peace program to engage youth and families from neighborhoods not previously engaged in peace efforts. As co-directors of this program, part of a greater USAID-funded initiative called Interfaith Jerusalem, Sarah and Montaser worked together to create a brand new curriculum to prepare Israeli and Palestinian youth to be influential leaders for peace within and between their communities.
In the first year of the Pathways program, Sarah and Montaser are already halfway to their goal of bringing 288 new families with 6th and 7th grade children into the six-year sequence of Kids4Peace activities. The goal is to advance an agenda for visible peace in Jerusalem and celebrate the religious diversity of the city – marked by reduced violence, increased social cohesion and equitable treatment for all its residents – which they view as a key step toward peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Together with a third Co-Director, Ismat Othman, they lead a team of 24 experienced Muslim, Jewish, and Christian educators from the kids’ neighborhoods and communities in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Ramallah who bring the young people together for youth meetings each month. The program also includes larger events like a movie night, sports day, and community iftar, which help the youth practice being together in public as a pro-peace community. The parents meet in parallel programs with professional facilitators to share family stories, discuss challenges in Jerusalem, and learn strategies to support their children in the midst of conflict.
Kids4Peace takes a long-term approach that combines dialogue and activism. Pathways to Peace offers youth and their families a year-round program of interfaith dialogue, leadership development, and conflict resolution skills, that engages young people throughout their high school years. It is funded through USAID's Conflict Management & Mitigation program.
Their goal is to build deep and lasting relationships that are strong enough to resist the disappointments of failed peace talks and the extreme rhetoric of anti-peace groups. According to Sarah Stone, "We are working together because we want the youth to have what we have - a relationship grounded in respect, in joint responsibility, in honesty, curiosity, understanding, and action."
Montaser Amro commented, "Our friendship is based in the fact that we both feel a lot of responsibility to change the realities we live in, we work together, we understand each other, as friends, as colleagues, a Jewish Israeli and a Muslim Palestinian. Our joint responsibility and friendship are the core of our work with the youth.”
Victor J. Goldberg, a retired IBM executive and longtime Trustee of IIE, created and endowed the prize in 2005, and has travelled to Jerusalem each year to present the prize. Mr. Goldberg said, "This award recognizes innovation, and rewards those who are courageous and committed enough to work together to overcome the religious, cultural, ethnic, and political issues which divide the Middle East. Sarah and Montaser have become powerful forces for change. We hope their dedication will inspire others to join together across these divides to advance the cause of peace in the coming years."
Montaser is a Palestinian Muslim entrepreneur and activist from Hebron. Trained as an engineer from the Palestine Polytechnic University, Montaser now builds bridges between people at Kids4Peace. Montaser joined Kids4Peace 5 years ago as a Muslim Advisor. He later served in multiple positions in the organization working with the youth and within the larger community of Kids4Peace. Last summer, Montaser was a fellow at the Our Generation Speaks program at Brandeis University, and currently is working on "Qual.IT" a social startup he founded, which aims to reduce unemployment among IT graduates in Palestine.
In addition to co-directing the Pathways to Peace North chapter with Montaser Amro, Sarah is the Kids4Peace Youth Director, and is responsible for curriculum development and educational programming for the organization's youth programs (ages 12-17) in Jerusalem. She is a trained dialogue facilitator and has conducted research on education policy and on reconciliation projects in Jerusalem and abroad. She has a BA in Middle East Studies from Columbia University in New York, and has completed coursework in the same field at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She is in progress towards an MPA in Urban Policy, specializing in Education Policy, from the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. Sarah is dedicated to informal education in divided societies, and in bringing youth together to learn, grow, and create change in their realities.
About the Institute of International Education
The Institute of International Education (IIE) is the leader in providing international education strategies and program services. We work with policymakers, educators and employers across the globe to prepare students and professionals for the global workforce and equip them to solve the increasingly complex challenges facing our interconnected world. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of 18 offices and affiliates worldwide, and over 1,300 member institutions. Visit www.iie.org.
The Institute of International Education awards the IIE Victor J. Goldberg Prize for Peace in the Middle East annually to recognize outstanding work being conducted jointly by two individuals, one Muslim Arab and one Jewish Israeli, working together to advance the cause of peace in the Middle East. The two individuals whose work is judged to be most successful in bringing people together and breaking down the barriers of hatred toward "the other" share a $10,000 prize. The Selection Committee for the Prize includes leaders from business, academia, the not-for-profit sector, and government.
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 director of Education Through Music which puts music programs in inner city schools; a member of the Advisory Committee of J Street; and chairman of the Westchester County Fair Campaign Practices Committee. He previously served as a trustee of the International Fellowship Program, a Ford Foundation initiative for underserved populations around the globe; president of the Scarsdale Foundation; chairman of the Scarsdale Planning Board; member of the Board of Governors of the American Jewish Committee; and trustee of New Alternatives for Children, Westchester Reform Temple, the Mental Health Association of Westchester, and the Westchester Non-Profit Loan Fund.
Founded in Jerusalem in 2002, Kids4Peace is Jerusalem’s largest and most diverse interfaith youth movement, touching over 500 teens and parents each year. Kids4Peace’s six-year, year-round sequence of activities guides young people through a process of personal transformation and skill development, preparing them to be leaders and activists for peace within and between their communities. Its mission is to build interfaith communities that embody a culture of peace and empower a movement for change. www.k4p.org , www.k4pjerusalem.org
Kids4Peace Jerusalem: Michal Ner-David, firstname.lastname@example.org, +972-54-778-0838
Consulate General of the United States: Adam Sigelman, SigelmanAH@state.gov
Institute of International Education: Sharon Witherell, email@example.com