Shadi Abu Awwad
A 27-year-old resident of Beit Ummar and one of the leaders of the Roots youth group. Shadi studied graphic design for two years at Al Ahliyya Amman University in Jordan and in the past has worked as a building contractor. He is the recipient of a Roots scholarship and is a university student in Bethlehem.
Born into a family that took a major leadership role in the First Intifada (Palestinian uprising), Shadi was imbued from a young age with deep Palestinian patriotism and activism – and with hatred for Israelis. He was still a child when his family underwent a major transformation and became leaders of the Palestinian movement for reconciliation with Israel, and he grew up with the hope that peace is possible and the determination to struggle to achieve it.
Shadi is invested in Roots because he believes that Roots provides a model for a solution to the conflict and for the type of connection that both Israelis and Palestinians desire: "The moment you pass through the gate and step into Merkaz Karame you are in a different world, a world in which all of us respect each other, love each other, and accept each other."
In his work with the youth group, Shadi facilitates shared encounters and experiences among Palestinian and Israeli teenagers, building a new generation of leaders who can confront the real problems between their communities while acknowledging each other's humanity.
Shadi’s unassuming leadership ability, deep insight, quiet charisma and winning smile have helped the Roots youth group becoming one of the shining stars of the Roots Initiative.