To reduce adversarial attitudes between Arabs and Jewish youth living in Israel, the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv has supported a Negotiation Project for the past 3 years in cooperation with the Amal Educational Network and the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School with the aim encouraging good communication and team work and to learn how to understand each other’s interest, think openly and creatively, build trust, and learn how to deal with conflicts as a shared problem-solving challenge. This year’s project which was funded by the Middle East Partnership Initiative brought together 350 high school students from diverse cultures, communities, and religions to learn practical negotiation skills instructed by professional facilitators using Harvard’s interest-based / joint problem solving negotiation methodology. On October 1st students from 12 Arab and Jewish schools celebrated the culmination of the year-long program and participated in a full day of workshops led by well-known experts from the U.S., Israel and Jordan, who shared their personal and professional negotiation narratives. The students were divided into breakout discussion groups facilitated and moderated by the guests. Actress, singer songwriter and activist Mira Anwar Awad closed the day with several ballads in English, Arabic and Hebrew.
The goal of the Negotiation Program is to create a network of young adults, representing Israel’s varied geographic, cultural, religious and ethnic groups, who are able to negotiate constructively, to analyze the situation critically, examine and challenge their own and others’ assumptions, listen to other parties’ needs and interests, and cooperate in seeking and developing mutually beneficial, legitimate and sustainable solutions.