Roots Young Adult 2016-17 Report
Keys to our Future: Encounter and Empowerment
In August 2016, Roots began our first year-long program for a cohort of Israeli and Palestinian young adults from the towns around the Gush Etzion Junction, one of the recent hotspots of violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Led by a joint staff dedicated to empowering our youth, this ambitious project just completed its first year - developing a core group of ten Israelis and Palestinians between the ages of 16-21 who went through a powerful transformation. None of these participants had ever sat with someone from the "other side" prior to our project. Many of them expressed fear around their first meetings. Many of them harbored hate to the other side prior- and few believed in peace or non-violence as an option for creating a future. Today they are partners- in friendship, in understanding and in action to bringing a better future in their land.
Some of these youth will continue next year in the youth program, some are getting involved in other Roots initiatives and some will move on to the next steps of their lives be it work, higher education, national service or the army. We are anxious to apply what we learned as a staff from this pilot project and grow.
Chronicle of the Year:
(Almost all of the activities below were conceived, planned, and executed by the youth themselves- with Roots staff assisting and facilitating only when necessary)