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3 IJCER 116 (2015)
Tracing the Long-Term Impacts of a Generation of Israeli-Palestinian Youth Encounters

handle is hein.journals/ijconfer3 and id is 122 raw text is: 

Tracing the Long-Term Impacts of a Generation

of Israeli-Palestinian Youth Encounters

Karen Ross & Ned Lazarus*


    Since the 1980s, thousands of Israeli Jews, Palestinian citizens of Israel and Pales-
    tinians from the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) have participated in inter-
    group dialogues, often referred to as 'encounter programmes'. In the same historical
    span, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has proved thoroughly intractable. Given this
    political reality, what has been the impact of such initiatives, on direct participants
    and the conflict context? This article assesses the long-term impact by tracing the
    post-encounter peacebuilding activity and the evolving perspectives of former par-
    ticipants in three prominent encounter programmes - Seeds of Peace (SOP),
    Sadaka Reut (SR) and Peace Child Israel (PC) - over periods ranging from a few
    years to over two decades. Data is drawn from parallel studies conducted by each of
    the individual authors, encompassing research on 899 programme alumni. The
    article presents the results of complementary qualitative and quantitative analyses
    of the long-term peacebuilding engagement of graduates of these three pro-
    grammes. The organizations profiled employ distinct methodologies, allowing for
    comparative analysis of interpersonal contact, social identity and critical theoreti-
    cal approaches. The studies found 183 alumni - approximately one in five sur-
    veyed - active in peacebuilding and social change efforts as adults, often 10 or more
    years after initial participation in encounters. Crucially, long-term peacebuilding
    engagement was more common among alumni of programmes that explicitly
    address issues of intergroup conflict and social justice, as opposed to a 'non-politi-
    cal' cultural approach. Findings illustrate the potential of intergroup encounters to
    inspire sustained peacebuilding engagement at the individual level - even in a con-
    text of ongoing violent conflict - while highlighting dilemmas imposed by asymmet-
    rical social contexts, and the limitations of micro-level strategies in effecting
    broader political change.

Keywords: encounters, Israel-Palestine, impact, peace building, dialogue.

    Karen Ross is an Assistant Professor of Conflict Resolution at the University of Massachusetts-
    Boston, and a Senior Fellow at the UMASS Boston Center for Peace, Democracy and
    Development. Ned Lazarus is a Research Fellow at the Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies at
    the University of Maryland and a Program Officer at the Israel Institute.

116                            International Journal of Conflict Engagement and Resolution 2015 (3) 2
                                                 doi: 10.5553/IJCER/221199652015003002002

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