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Making friendship work for peace

CARLSBAD — Hands of Peace, a Carlsbad-based interfaith coexistence program, invites the community to be part of its Summer Program at Pacific Ridge School from July 6 through July 24 and get to know Israeli, Palestinian, and American teenagers.

These teens have all chosen to participate in this challenging experience that aims to build bridges between teens divided by conflict, culture, geography and history. Most of the Middle East teens are meeting “the other side” for the first time. Most of the American teens have never met someone from the Middle East, and all are hoping to learn how to work together to bring about positive change.

Founded in 2003, Hands of Peace develops leadership and peace-building skills among Israeli, Palestinian, and American teenagers. All participants come on full or partial scholarship, and many have experienced violence and loss as a result of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The annual program includes intensive daily dialogue sessions led by professional facilitators as well as educational activities and visits to a church, synagogue and mosque. Following the program, the group runs a year-round Alumni Club Program in the U.S., Israel and the West Bank that serves the courageous young leaders who are challenging stereotypes among their family and friends, staying in regular touch with the “other side,” and launching grassroots peace-building initiatives in their home communities.

The program’s activities will include:

July 9 – Teambuilding and ropes course at UCSD

July 9 – Sand sculptures competition at Sea Grove Park

July 10 – Drama workshop with the Old Globe Theater (using theater as a tool for self-expression)

— July 12 – Culture Night (Students cook and perform dances and skits for each other)

— July 15 – Lunch and water balloon toss with Kids for Peace, a Carlsbad-based non-profit that aims to cultivate every child’s innate ability to foster peace through cross-cultural experiences.

— July 17 – Concert with Ami Yares (using music as a tool for coexistence)

— July 22 – Soccer, basketball, and hula hoop (using sports as a tool for coexistence)

— July 23 – Farewell banquet at Temple Solel