New York, June 9, 2014—The Institute of International Education (IIE) has awarded the 2014 IIE Victor J. Goldberg Prize for Peace in the Middle East to Tal Harris and Samer Makhlouf of the OneVoice Movement’s Youth Leadership Program, which mobilizes young Israelis and Palestinians to promote lasting peace. The award, which includes a $10,000 prize, was presented by the Chairman of IIE’s Board of Trustees, Thomas S. Johnson, on June 9 at the U.S. Consulate General’s cultural center in East Jerusalem.
Mr. Harris, an Israeli, and Mr. Makhlouf, a Palestinian, received the 10th annual IIE Goldberg Prize in recognition of their parallel work in training youth in the skills to organize the moderate, non-violent majority in their communities to press for realization of the two-state solution.
Mr. Harris and Mr. Makhlouf have worked in parallel across religious and cultural divides to engage more than 6,000 young men and women, primarily between the ages of 18 and 35, from major cities, small towns, college campuses, and refugee camps alike to advance the cause of peace and work toward a two-state solution. In keeping with OneVoice’s distinct strategy of parallel programming, these national campaigns operate separately but in sync, giving OneVoice legitimacy in both communities while allowing Youth Leaders to address the challenges, narratives, and disputes that are specific to their neighborhoods and political environments.
As the program has grown, so too has its ripple effect, with target audiences and partners expanding to include members of the established political community and high-level political leaders. OneVoice activists have become Members of the Knesset, local election candidates, and Palestinian Authority officials. Training includes seminars on negotiation skills, media workshops, and dialogues on final status issues. As they progress through the levels of training, Youth Leaders spearhead unique activities – from town hall meetings that build consensus for tough compromises to public awareness campaigns that pressure leaders to move the peace process forward. This program provides a critical constructive outlet for this generation’s frustration stemming from the status quo.
IIE Trustee Victor J. Goldberg said, “This award recognizes innovation, and rewards those who are courageous and committed enough to work to overcome the religious, cultural, ethnic, and political issues which divide the Middle East. We hope that the dedication shown by our prize winners will inspire others to join together across these divides to advance the cause of peace in the coming years.
“The winners we celebrate each year exemplify the kinds of action that are needed to resolve conflicts in this region and around the world,” commented IIE president Allan E. Goodman. “We are particularly pleased to present the 10th anniversary IIE Goldberg Prize to two winners, Tal Harris and Samer Makhlouf, who are working to train the young leaders who will be the next generation of peacemakers. They embody Vic Goldberg’s long-time commitment to bettering the world through international cooperation.
The Institute of International Education, a not-for-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, Victor J. Goldberg. The Selection Committee for the Prize includes leading experts from academia, the non-profit sector, and government.
About Tal Harris
Tal Harris first joined the OneVoice Movement in 2007 as a volunteer Youth Leader. By 2009, as Project Manager, he had organized 30 town hall meetings on the core issues of the conflict across Israel, and a year later, he was promoted to lead OneVoice Israel (OVI). Under his direction, the Youth Leadership Program expanded to include 10 campuses nationwide and began a valuable partnership with the National Union of Israeli Students (NUIS). Harris also co-conceived and coordinated the first-ever Caucus for the Two-State Solution in the Knesset, which in its present form as the Caucus for the Resolution of the Arab-Israeli Conflict engages more than 40 Members of Knesset from eight factions, making it the largest of its kind. Harris is a prolific writer, with dozens of pieces published in national, international, and social media and op-eds appearing in outlets including The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, The Daily Beast, YNet, Walla, and Maariv. OVI’s Imagine 2018 campaign took home an Effie Award in marketing and advertising under his management, and in 2012, Harris was elected to the Steering Committee of the Israeli Peace NGOs forum. Born in Kibbutz Negba and raised in Raanana, Harris holds a M.A. in Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University and a B.A. in Philosophy and Politics from the Open University. Beyond his focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he has extensive experience in informal education, as well as student politics. Until recently he served on the board of the largest student union in Israel, and he is currently the elected chair of Young Labor Party in his hometown. Harris is also enlisted for reserve service in the Israeli Air Force as a senior medic.
About Samer Makhlouf
Samer Makhlouf has 10 years of experience in a broad range of nonprofit and business organizations in Palestine. Before joining OneVoice, Samer worked in programming and development at At-Kasaba Theatre and Cinematheque. He continues to serve as the president of the Jifna Youth Club and as a member of the Palestinian Council for Young Political Leaders. As Executive Director at OneVoice, he has overseen great strides in the growth and impact of the OneVoice Palestine’s Youth Leadership Program, as well as the successful launch of the Imagine 2018 campaign. In addition to his work at OneVoice, Makhlouf is currently the Managing Director of Rednoses Palestine, a branch for an international organization working in Palestinian hospitals to provide psycho-social support for sick and traumatized children. Born in Jerusalem, he holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Birzeit University in Palestine. He has extensive international fundraising and nonprofit management experience, including work with the U.S. Department of State as a participant of the 2008 International Visitor Leadership Program.
About the Institute of International Education
The Institute of International Education is a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of 19 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,200 member institutions. IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government agencies, foundations, and corporations. IIE also conducts policy research and program evaluations, and provides advising and counseling on international education and opportunities abroad.
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 has served as a trustee of the International Fellowship Program, a Ford Foundation initiative for underserved populations around the world, and also serves on the Westchester County Fair Campaign Practices Committee and the board of Education Through Music, a non-profit organization running music programs for over 15,000 students in underserved urban neighborhoods.
About the Prize
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 by two individuals, one Palestinian and one Israeli, working to advance the cause of peace in the Middle East. The two individuals whose work is judged to be most successful share a $10,000 prize. The Selection Committee for the Prize includes leaders from business, academia, the not-for-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: 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; Elizabeth B. Khalifa, Executive Director of the Binational Fulbright Commission in Egypt; Kenton Keith, retired Senior Vice President of the Meridian International Center, Former Ambassador to Qatar and Director of USIA’s Office of North African, Near Eastern, and South Asian Affairs; Maisa Galal, Director of Human Resources, General Motors Egypt; and Harold Tanner, an investment banker and former President of the American Jewish Committee and head of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.