This year began our second year of activities with Alumni to help engage these young adults in regional environmental efforts and scale up cooperation on shared water resources. The positive impact from being involved in cross border activities and community work can be seen through the eyes of three alumni who gave speeches at the teacher’s conference this past August.
(M.S) is an Israeli alumna from Kfar Vitkin. In her speech, she explained how getting involved with EcoPeace and the GWN project was a turning point in her life:
“It all started when i was in ninth grade, a community coordinator from EcoPeace took my class to a field trip, and since then, i joined many camps and met many youth from Jordan and Palestine and learned a lot about the environment and the water problems our communities have. During my second year in the youth program, EcoPeace allowed me to join a camp in Japan with Palestinian and Japanese girls”
In the following short sentence, she movingly described her thoughts about the world she lives in:
“In our world, the vast majority of people base their entire world view on knowledge they get from their society. We have been spoon fed by our societies and we are satisfied with their descriptions. We are the result of all kinds of influences and there is nothing new in us, nothing that we have discovered for ourselves; nothing original, pristine, clear.”
And she ended her speech by expressing gratitude to EcoPeace:
“EcoPeace opened my eyes, and allowed me “to break the wall” and to experience firsthand how similar we all are as human beings”
The second speech was given by a Palestinian alumnus (O.A) from Jalamah – Jenin. Standing behind the podium he spoke about his involvement with EcoPeace:
“I have been involved with EcoPeace for six years, and it has been a great experience. I learned a lot about the environment, and what does it mean to be a “good neighbour””
“Living in Jalamah gave me an advantage because of its proximity to the border, which means dealing with our neighbours “the Israelies” on a regular basis”
He also shared with the audience his views on what should be done during times of conflict.
“When there is conflict, it means we should intensify working for peace. We have much more in common than differences. We breathe the same air, drink the same water and share the same environment”
The last speaker was an alumnus from Jordan. (E.A) from south area of the Dead Sea and has been a GWN participant for three years:
“During my first participation with EcoPeace, i was very excited, but at the same time scared because joining camps in Israel was unthinkable, but i challenged my inner fear and decided to go”
“To my own surprise, Israel did not look very different from Jordan! They have the same animals, the same plants, and very similar topography. The idea that i am visiting another country started to diminish and i felt that i am only visiting a friend or a family member who lives nearby”
And his very last statement revealed how wise he is despite his young age:
“From what i have learned from EcoPeace, i have a question to our leaders: why can’t we set aside our differences to secure a better future?