Middle East Initiative
The MBB Middle East Initiative (MEI) started in 2008. MBB received a request from Neve Shalom Wahat Al Salam (NSWAS) to assist with their program “Mediation in a Multi-Cultural Context”, being developed by their Pluralistic Spirituality Center. NSWAS is as an intentional Israeli community of Palestinian/Israeli and Jewish/Israeli families existing as a village between Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem since 1978.
Project Team Leader: Dorit Cypis
Board Liaison: Rachel Wohl
Core Project Members: 18
Reader Team: Aida Amoura, Martha Harty, Alexia Georgakopoulos, Mark Kleiman, Ran Kuttner, Johnathan Rietman
Israel Participants: NSWAS, Pluralistic Spirituality Center, PSC/Dorit Shippen, Project Leaders/ Abdessalam Najjar, Yoni Naftali, Local Palestinian and Jewish Israeli mediators
Partners: Pluralistic Spirituality Center, Neve Shalom Wahat al Salam
In October 2009, the MEI sent a team of three mediators to NSWAS to engage with Phase II of their program crafting a multicultural mediation curriculum. The MEI team observed the group of 12 Palestinian and Jewish Israeli mediators in their 3-day seminar proceedings and presented three workshops on Identity and Social Relations as approaches to multiculturalism and mediation: Leveraging Power Dynamics, Non-Violent Dialogue, and Experiencing History in the Body.
The MEI team also participated in an evaluation of the PSC mediation curriculum program and was immersed in daily engagement with the village and their long standing programs, the Bi-Cultural Primary School, the Peace School/Encounters Program, and the Pluralistic Spirituality Center.
Between October 2009 and May 2010, MBB was involved in a process of collaborative research, an action evaluation and feedback of the developing curriculum. Israeli, American and European mediators with an expertise in multiculturalism and curriculum development attended the symposium.
The MEI also accomplished several trips to Israel, a phone seminar series, an action evaluation, and maintained an ongoing relationship with NSWAS that lasted until Abdessalam Najjar's death in 2012. The MEI Project completed in 2010 and a new MBB Israel Project was initiated.