One Year Milestone :
Summary of our first year 2016-2017 of activities
Our Association was registered in Geneva on May 20th, 2016 and we are happy to announce that in one year’s time we have managed to mobilize a considerable network of contacts and number of events through which we have helped the initiatives we support.
From May until December 2016, our focus was individual fund raising activities in Geneva and in San Francisco. We dedicated the funds to the main projects and core budget of Judur-Shorashim-Roots (Israeli-Palestinian initiative of dialogue, transformation and non-violence) and Taghyeer-Change (Palestinian national non-violence movement).
We supported Roots by helping them put in place a better structure and administrative support so that the activists can concentrate their efforts where they are most needed, on the ground, as well as bringing greater transparency to the use of their funds.
Taghyeer-Change was launched in Jericho in September 2016. B8 of Hope covered parts of the expenses of the launching event that gathered more than 4000 Palestinians who rallied the movement.
Throughout that period, we also met with other activists, including members of Women Wage Peace (a movement claiming a return to table of negotiations), and we traveled to Israel and Palestine to explore new initiatives.
March 2017 was the peak of our activities since our creation.
We took part in the coordination of different conferences in Geneva for different speakers from the flagship initiatives we support :
- Ali Abu Awwad (co-founder of Roots and founder of Taghyeer) participated in a panel about Israelis and Palestinians working together to pave a path for peace at the Geneva Festival et Forum du film des droits humains and at the University of Geneva Global Studies
Huda Abuarquob (regional director of The Alliance for the Middle East Peace/Allmep) and Yael Treidel (Women Wage Peace) were invited to speak about Women Wage Peace at the Graduate Institute in Geneva.
During that same month, B8 of Hope launched its first series of activities in Paris :
- Presentations about Roots were given by Ali Abu Awwad and Jean-Marc Lilling (Israeli lawyer and Roots activist) at the Ecole Jeannine Manuel, Science-Po Paris and Cercle Bertrand Lazare and the Mouvement juif liberal de France. A small fund raising evening was organized at a private home. The funds were partially allocated to essential construction work at the Karama center where Roots activities take place.
Our main event was the B8 of Hope Gala,
On March 23 at the prestigious Intercontinental Hotel in Geneva, in the presence of activists from Judur/Shorashim/Roots and Women Wage Peace, and 470 guests from the Geneva Arab and Jewish diasporas and others. The activists talked about the work on the ground. Shaul Judelman (co-founder and co-director of Roots) gave a moving description of why Roots ‘ work is needed. Huda Abuarquob (Allmep) gave her perspective on the work on the ground. Yael Treidel talked about the high light moments of the Women Wage Peace march in October.
- The Jewish and Arab Israeli singers and musicians Yael Deckelbaum, Miriam Toukan, Adam Ben Ezra and Liron Miyuhas lend their art and voice to the service of Peace and contributed to the exceptional atmosphere of the evening.
Thanks to the immense generosity of our guests, we were able to collect enough funds to help different projects of Roots, Taghyeer, Women Wage Peace and a specific Children’s program by the Peres Center for Peace. Updates about the projects are in the first edition of our newsletter.
In June 2017
- In June 2017, B8 of Hope members went on the ground to meet with the activists and follow up on the projects which we raised funds for at our gala and also to make new connections. A nice gathering was kindly hosted upon our request by Ali Abu Awwad at the Karama (Dignity) Center in Gush Etsion. Karama which is built on a land belonging to the Abu Awwad family, is becoming a hub for non-violence activities, an incubator for non-violence developments. At the gathering in June, different activists (including from Women Wage Peace) and members of other organizations (including US Friends of Roots and US Friends of Taghyeer Movement) and international and local visitors were present. This is part of B8 of Hope’s efforts to create a synergy between the initiatives and supporters abroad.
During that same trip, B8 of Hope also met with the directors of two music institutes: the Polyphony foundation in Nazareth and Keshet Eilon in the North of Israel, in the framework of a common bridge-building project carried by both institutes. The inspiring meeting, followed by a wonderful private concert given by the students of Polyphony led to B8 of Hope’s decision to sponsor substantially the budget of the bridge-building musical program.
During the summer the workshops we sponsored took place and you will find updates in
the first edition of our newsletter.
- B8 of Hope introduced also The Forest Trust / Earthworms – a Swiss foundation specialized in ecological issues – to the Karama center where a “greening project” has been initiated as part of the non-violence developments that the center would like to promote.
- Ali Abu Awwad and Jean-Marc Liling were back in Paris for more presentations about Roots. They were invited by Le Monde Festival to take part in a panel – the link of their full intervention is under our media section. Ali and Jean-Marc spoke also at Ecole Jeannine Manuel, The American Graduate School and Sciences-Po Paris. They also visited an under-privileged vocational school in the suburbs of Paris where they spoke to educators about antisemitism and islamophobia and their words were very impactful and the example they set through Roots, was inspiring to their audience, in the context of France’s integration issues.
Ali Abu Awwad and Jean-Marc Liling were back in Paris for more presentations about Roots. They were invited by Le Monde Festival to take part in a panel – the link of their full intervention is under our media section. Ali and Jean-Marc spoke also at Ecole Jeannine Manuel, The American Graduate School and Sciences-Po Paris. They also visited an under-privileged vocational school in the suburbs of Paris where they spoke to educators about antisemitism and islamophobia and their words were very impactful and the example they set through Roots, was inspiring to their audience, in the context of France’s integration issues.
Thanks to our networking efforts, singer Miriam Toukan and musician Idan Toledano (both involved in peace work respectively with Women Wage Peace and Combatants for Peace) were invited to perform at the Ecole internationale de Geneve, La Grande Boissière, on the occasion of the International Peace Day.
These same efforts also enabled the Cartooning for Peace Foundation, founded by French cartoonist Jean Plantu, to meet activists in Israel and Palestine with the aim of collaborating on a potential cartooning project on the ground.
The earlier June trip, which also included an inspiring meeting with members of Combatants for Peace at their headquarters in Beit Jala, resulted in the screening of the multiple award-winning film Disturbing the Peace in the beginning of October in Geneva.
- Disturbing the peace is about former enemy combatants – Israeli soldiers from elite units and Palestinian fighters who have joined together to challenge the status quo and say « enough. » The film reveals their transformational journeys from soldiers committed to armed battle to nonviolent peace activists, leading to the creation of Combatants for Peace.
Combatants for peace have the potential to capture the public’s imagination and shift the conversation from the inevitability of conflict, to the possibility and process of establishing lasting peace. This organization was nominated for this year’s Nobel peace prize.
We organized six screenings of the documentary which were followed by a panel with two members of CFP, one Israeli, Chen Alon and one Palestinian, Sulaiman Khatib, as well as film director and producer Stephen Apkon and producer Marcina Hale, who answered questions and talked about their personal experience. 1000 participants (including high school students) from Geneva and region were present at the different screenings which took place at the Ciné 17, Ecole internationale de Genève campuses of La Grande Boissière, La Chataigneraie and Nations and the Institut Le Rosey Concert Hall. The screenings and panels led to a significant fund raising for CFP activities on the ground.
End of October
- Ali Abu Awwad and Huda Abuarquob (regional director of Alliance for the Middle East Peace) were invited to the Essaouira Jewish-Arab music festival where they were heard in different panels. Thanks to our connections in Morocco, we opened a window for them among a new public in the Arab world.
B8 of Hope was in Paris again in support of Women Wage Peace representatives Marie-Lyne Smadja and Amal Rihane who participated in a panel on the occasion of a commemorative event organized by La Maison Itshak Rabin at the Marie du 20ème arrondissement. Huda Abuarquob’s and Joel Braunold ‘s (director of Allmep) presence in Paris in November was a nice occasion to connect and exchange notes about Allmep and B8 ‘s work.
We will end the year by bringing Ali Abu Awwad to Switzerland again, where he is coming for work sessions with the B8 of Hope team. He will also participate in a panel in the Zurich Human Rights Festival on December 7th.
- Our work and our friends work in promoting our initiatives resulted in different media coverages:
- A nice article by Julien de Weck in the Tribune de Genève about B8 of Hope.
- Ali Abu Awwad and Shaul Judelman got a full page in Le Monde, a very sharp article by Piotr Smolar.
- A small documentary by Stephane Amar was shown in the evening news on RTS
- The Israeli channel i24 interviewed Ali Abu Awwad in Paris in September.
- Both Ali Abu Awwad and Huda Abuarquob were interviewed separately by France 24.