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Peace, Innovation and the Synergy Between Them

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Twenty-five years ago, the Peres Center for Peace was established and since then it has completed amazing work, which is unfortunately not known to the public.

I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the Center’s accomplishments, and to answer the questions of many of my friends in the field of peace activism as to why the Peres Center doesn’t promote political views or policy recommendations to end the conflict. The answer is that while Peres dedicated his career to promote a political solution to the conflict the Peres Center was established to compliment the political approach not to replace it as I will explain below.

Many think that we turned our focus to innovation because peace was too hard and too controversial. The truth is very different, we never stopped promoting peace and the addition of innovation to the mission of the Center was not meant to replace the efforts to promote peace but rather to enhance them.

In 1996, Peres founded the Peres Center for Peace as a non-for-profit NGO in order to advance his vision for a peaceful and prosperous future for Israel and across the Middle East. Finding himself in the unfamiliar position of being out of elected office, Peres sought to answer the question of how he could promote peace with other means.

Thinking innovatively as usual, and as a lesson learned from his work on the Oslo Accords in 1993 and from the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, Peres came to realize that peace could not be achieved solely from the top down and that political efforts must be complemented with a bottom-up approach that promotes person-to-person connections to build passionate constituencies for the political peace.

Seeking to promote peace in an apolitical manner, the Peres Center began connecting Arabs and Jews, Israelis and Palestinians, on the ground, building relationships between would-be strangers based on common interests and shared challenges. Through a variety of immersive programs aimed at breaking down the existing barriers to peace, the Peres Center developed unique methodologies that today remain a world-class example of impact-focused peace and capacity building.

During the 25 years of existence the Peres Center conducted projects in the fields of Medicine, education, business and the environment. The Peres Center brought more than 13,000 Palestinian children for lifesaving treatment in Israeli hospitals; trained hundreds of Palestinian physicians in Israeli Hospitals, where they specialized in medical fields that they could not learn in Gaza or the West Bank; enabled Thousands of youth, Israelis and Palestinian, Arab and Jews to connect through ‘Education for peace’ programs developed and managed by the Peres Center using sports, art and innovation; constructed a network of........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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