Updates from Our Fellows
Sangeeta writes us about the special need for ‘Art for Peace’ in the work of the ICfC and LAIM (the Indonesian host organization) in this “Spice Island” paradise of beauty, isolation and violence:
“Our program called ‘Art for Peace’ uses the power of different forms of art to bridge communities in conflict. Our work reflects local tensions and seeks to create opportunities for different communities to work together and learn about and from each other. The process will explore the spaces between the lines of mass movement — what happens when you don’t align yourself with the community around you, when you fall between the cracks of society, when you don’t conform. During the creative process we wish to develop techniques that enable participants to reflect on the essential disjointedness of a multi-cultural society where widely differing communities share common physical space but exist in a completely different mental space. How do people live with difference? We want to acknowledge the things that both define us (a positive) and separate us (a negative). Through the artistic work we aim to find what it is that we can share and that can enable us to create a shared mental space.
Immigration and emigration, globalization and xenophobia, polarization and amalgamation, conflict and paralysis – these factors work, not only in Maluku but all over the world today, leading to fractured, increasingly segregated and fearful societies. The Art for Peace, as a method, strives to combat these destructive influences and create meeting grounds for people who are historically and/or acutely in conflict. We do this by discovering the silent voice within, by raising awareness on issues that are taboo. By creating personal involvement and responsibility within and across communities, by changing personal and community landscapes and perspectives and the stories we tell one another and ourselves.”
Oded Leshem Adomi
Oded writes us:
“As I write these lines Fajr Missiles are falling a mile from my home in Tel-Aviv and Israeli F16s are destructing Gaza. At the same time, a battle is blazing on the internet where texts and images full of hostility are fanatically distributed by both Israelis and Palestinians all in the purpose of humiliating the other and building national morale.
I live in a region of conflict, a region of a protracted and an intractable violent dispute that is devastating the lives of both Arabs and Jews in the Holy Land.
Most of the people on both sides are frustrated and hopeless, but there are exceptions. There are people who believe that a just and comprehensive solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is achievable. These Palestinian and Israeli peacemakers, together with partners from all over the world, are doing their best to open the minds and hearts of the citizens of the region to the Other’s pains and fears, their hopes and needs, in the long way to mutual recognition and conciliation.
I had the privilege to meet these brave people when I was chosen to be the coordinator for ICfC’s “Historical Conciliation” workshops lead by ICfC and the Israeli based NGO “Ossim Shalom”. In the year-and-half-long project I have worked with outstanding Arab and Jewish facilitators from “Ossim Shalom” and with the highly committed and professional staff of ICfC that were my colleagues as well as my mentors in the exiting field of peacemaking that was new for me.
Working as a project coordinator in the field of Conflict Resolution enabled me to learn a lot about the historical, cultural and political complexities of the conflict and about the depth of mutual suspicion and hostility that needs to be resolved. My successful experience with ICfC led me to continue to work in other partnership and peace projects in the region.
In these important attempts to break prejudiced attitudes and create a platform of mutual recognition, there were many moments when I thought to myself – what I see and hear now is worth researching. This is when my intellectual interests in conflicts emerged and asserted themselves as my main goals: To be a scholar-practitioner in the field of Conflict Resolution and Peacemaking.”
I am now in my second and last year of the graduate program in Conflict Resolution and Mediation in the Tel Aviv University and am seeking a PhD in the field of Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies.
No doubt, my first encounter with ICfC and its “Historical Conciliation” project was one of the main contributors to my decision to devote my attention and energy to peacemaking in my region.”