About Us

The Education Center is the home of student researchers, journalists, and academics seeking to bring grassroots perspectives of peacebuilding to the forefront of popular and academic discourses about Israel-Palestine. We research the dynamics of civil society peacebuilding and create educational materials for public education. 

Such public education aims to transform engagement with Israel-Palestine from a lens of perpetual conflict—which exacerbates demoralization—into a lens of ongoing peacebuilding processes—which promotes active, constructive solidarity with the local activists who work daily for a nonviolent future.

Projects

Our theory of change is simple: When people recognize the massive potential of civil society peacebuilding efforts, they will be motivated to support ongoing grassroots peacebuilding. Through our education programs, we hope to inspire and galvanize university students, faith communities, and professionals of every discipline to recognize that peace is what people do.

Our mission is to broaden public and academic discourses on Israel-Palestine to include and center civil society peacebuilding efforts, both past and present.

We are always looking for new researchers, educators, and academics to join us. Send a note of interest to our Director of Education Center Leah, leah.r.field@vanderbilt.edu.

  • Our Fellowship curriculum orients our Fellows to the field of civil society peacebuilding in Israel-Palestine, in preparation for their volunteer work. 
  • Researchers in our Education Center are working with academics to develop a broad curriculum about civil society peacebuilding in Israel-Palestine that will, in part, be available for public use on our website. Educators in human rights and Middle East studies will be able to easily connect to the full curriculum. In the future, we hope to establish academic partnerships through which the study and research of civil society peacebuilding in Israel-Palestine directly consults the field of organizations that comprise it and promotes public education about civil society peacebuilding. 
  • The Education Center is working on a literature review to summarize the important literature in the field of civil society peacebuilding in Israel-Palestine, with an emphasis on people-to-people programs and uni-national initiatives. This literature review will act as a foundational resource and baseline for future Education Center materials. The purpose of the literature review is to create a strong base of knowledge and set of research questions that will orient the Education Center in all of its future projects, especially the civil society peace curriculum. 
  • The Education Center writes profiles detailing the history, vision, and work of civil society peacebuilding organizations in Israel-Palestine. These profiles serve to amplify the efforts of these grassroots organizations and broaden the academic discourse on Israel-Palestine to include civil society peacebuilding. By studying these civil society organizations and their theories of change, fellows, educators, and others can gain a deeper understanding of conflict transformation in Israel-Palestine. 
  • The Education Center supervises several independent research projects conducted by Embodying Peace Fellows. These projects include the development of curricula, research on Arab-Israeli identity, collecting and celebrating Palestinian artwork, and more. 

Our Typology of the Diversity of Civil Society Peacebuilding Work

(this list is not exhaustive)

Anti-Occupation

Anti-Occupation activism aims to bring an end to the violent and discriminatory systems that uphold the occupation. It includes nonviolent direct action, demonstrations, and cultural resistance efforts.

Coexistence Education

Coexistence Education entails promoting mutual understanding and a reality of shared society between Israelis and Palestinians, or Palestinian-Arab citizens of Israel and Jewish Israelis, through binational education. Coexistence Education programs bring students from different groups together for school, extracurricular activities, summer camps, and other educational programs.

Community Development

Community Development entails supporting Palestinian communities, either as a part of regional, national, or local initiatives, toward achieving the development goals of local residents. It includes youth development, women’s empowerment in local leadership, and political activism.

Development Infrastructure

Development Infrastructure Organizations support the economies of marginalized communities in Israel-Palestine. Economic development supports human rights by providing people with their basic needs and reducing infrastructure inequality.

Environmental Activism

Environmental Activism promotes shared environmental interests as a way to overcome distrust and build solidarity between Palestinians and Israelis. It focuses on water security, sustainable development, and climate change through the lens of a shared environment.

Human Rights

Human Rights entails working to secure and expand human rights protections through domestic and international advocacy efforts. Their activities include monitoring and documenting human rights violations and lending such evidence for individual cases as well as broader campaigns.

Interreligious Dialogue

Interreligious Dialogue entails facilitating dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians through the lens of their religious traditions. These programs occur between clerical and lay people alike. Activities include prayer circles, education programs about other traditions, and inter-clerical dialogue circles to promote peace-seeking leadership on the local level.

Legal Advocacy

Legal Advocacy entails working within a legal system to defend and advance human rights. Their activities include researching the legal dimensions of civil and human rights violations, providing legal aid to individual cases, and challenging laws that violate human and civil rights in court.

Medical Aid

Medical Aid entails providing Palestinians with access to healthcare opportunities. It also promotes policy change that will increase medical resources and access to Palestinians.

Peace Entrepreneurship

Peace Entrepreneurship entails programs that train Palestinians and Israelis in the skills of entrepreneurship and promote joint ventures.

Peace Journalism

Peace Journalism entails supporting peace and human rights by publicizing civil society peacebuilding efforts and raising public awareness about ongoing injustices in Israel-Palestine.

Reconciliation

Reconciliation entails the process of healing the effects of violent conflict through inter-communal dialogue and story-telling. The emphasis is to transcend cycles of violence and promote a mutual understanding that it is not only possible but necessary to reconcile with one’s enemies and advocate for a political solution that is responsive to the particular trauma and suffering of each party.

Shared Society

Shared Society entails advancing the vision of an Israeli society built upon equality, mutuality, and trust. These programs focus on bridging the divisions and inequities between Jewish and Palestinian-Arab communities within the state of Israel on the local and national political levels.

Women’s Leadership

Women’s Leadership aims to simultaneously support the achievement of peace and women’s rights. These organizations seek to amplify the underrepresented voices of women in the peace movement and promote women’s leadership in political activism focusing on peace and human rights issues.

Youth Transformation

Youth Transformation entails facilitating encounters between Israeli and Palestinian youth in order to break down dehumanization and stereotypes of the other.

Profiles