"Friendship Village" is an International Seminar Center for guiding young people toward living in a multi-cultural environment. The essence of its mission is - respecting the "other" and learning about him or her, the same time to recognize and to build what is in common between people coming from different cultural, national, religious or ethnic background, especially those who share common social frameworks or live within the boundaries of the same country. Education for peace and democracy is a logical conclusion of multi-culturalism.
The Friendship Village focuses on education for inter-cultural understanding, respectful coexistence inter-cultural and inter-faith cooperation, based on real equality, tolerance, democracy and peace. In the Friendship Village young Israelis, Jews and Arabs are educated through varied educational methods, to live in a multi-cultural society, based on peaceful co-existence and cooperation for the benefit of all its components. The proposed Center, when built, will use for education and understanding between all cultural, religious and ethnic groups in Israel and in the whole Middle East. The Center will also be an important base for education against racism, discrimination and anti-semitism.
Friendship Village focuses, in its current projects, on work with young Israeli leaders: Arab and Jewish young educators, teachers, students for education - with emphasise on women - are educated, using various educational methods that foster coexistence and cooperation for the good of the entire Israeli society. These ideas will be spread, through the informal educational system (youth NGO-s), as well as through the formal educational system all over Israel. In addition to work with Israeli young leaders, young people from countries where ethnic, national or religious tensions and conflicts exist, will come to the Friendship Village to receive a basis for understanding the culture, character, needs and interests of the groups that are involved in conflicts in their countries. The Center will prepare agents for social change, who will transfer the message to thousands of youth who live in Israel, in the Middle-East and all over the world.
The Friendship Village will be built by those who support the idea of coexistence and will operate through the support of sponsors and institutional funding, as well as the profitable use of the facilities located at the Center site (lodge, classrooms, printing). The facilities will be operated by a permanent staff who will live in the village.
The approximate cost of the Project will be $ 2.200.000 over the course of five years.
The hundred year conflict between Jews and Arabs in the Middle - East can't be understood merely in political terms. Underneath the Israeli - Palestinian struggle for the same piece of land lies a much deeper and much darker level of conflict between two different cultures: the Arab and the Jewish cultures. The long and bitter struggle between these two cultures are accompanied and characterized by deep alienation, mutual fear, mistrust, hostility and hatred on both sides toward each other.
Up to date almost every effort toward a peaceful solution of this problem has been made only on the political and economic levels. As stated in our motto, although these factors are important, we believe that no lasting peace can be established without educating the involved peoples toward this goal. Support of the great majority of the people, involved in the conflict is crucial to the realization of a lasting peace. Creation of such widespread support requires a deep change in present norms, values and beliefs of these peoples that will actually bring a "culture of peace" to our region. A "culture of peace" means not only prevention of war, but rather a real reconciliation.
One of the most important factors, too often neglected by decision makers in the creation of "culture of peace" is education. Several NGO-s in Israel are involved in education for peace, for non-violent solution of conflicts, for coexistence and cooperation but non of them really focus exclusively on these issues, therefore their impact on the public is rather limited. An exception is the "Re'ut-Sadaka" Jewish Arab youth organization that expertise just in this message and spread it over all Israel. The "Friendship Village" will use as a center for this sort of activity.
The more intensive and widespread are the peace and coexistence activities in Israel, the greater is the need for a center that can use as a base for them. In response to this need was born the idea of establishing such a center: the Friendship Village.
The "Friendship Village" will be an International Center to Education for Peace and Multi-Cultural Society.
The activities that will take place within its framework will concentrate on several aspects of these goals, as expressed in its name;
1 - To educate young Israelis, Jewish and Arab, as well as Palestinian and other youth that live in areas of cultural, national, religious or ethnic conflict, toward a life of coexistence built on mutual respect and cooperation based on true equality.
2 - To educate for a pluralistic, tolerant and democratic society, in which every component will be able to keep and nurture its national and cultural identity.
3 - To educate against violence, racism and aggression.
In addition to these educational goals, the Center will deal with the following subjects:
1 - The three circles of the Middle - Eastern conflict:
a - The conflict between Jewish majority and Arab-Palestinian minority inside Israel.
b - The Israeli - Palestinian political conflict.
c - The Jewish - Arab cultural conflict.
2 - The national, religious and ethnic conflicts over the Middle - Eastern societies and abroad.
1 - To offer seminars, workshops and courses to Israeli and non Israeli youth organizations, and academic institutes, that encourage intercultural and inter-religious dialogue, including personal and cultural acquaintance, trust building process, teaching peaceful conflict resolution methods and introducing ways of living together and cooperating beyond cultural, ethnic, religious and racial barriers.
2 - To advance the idea of multi-cultural society. To prepare a cadre of young leaders, who will become agents of social change, by implanting ideas, norms and values of respectful inter-cultural relationships and cooperation, through long term seminars and courses.
3 - To prepare educational programs and develop curriculums on this subject which will fit to the cultural needs of the Israeli and the Palestinian societies.
4 - To host multi-cultural youth groups from other countries abroad. To develop educational curriculums according to needs and in cooperation with interested organizations.
The City Council of the Galilean town of Shefar-Am (located on halfway between Haifa and Nazareth) donated two acres of land for establishment of the "Friendship Village" .
The elementary financial needs to construct the "Friendship Village" will be raised through fundraising efforts, from foundations, Israeli and international governmental sources and from private donors.
The Project will require approximately $ 2.200.000 from external investments, over a period of five years. It can be started with an initial investment of about $ 800.000.
In addition to Governmental support and fund raising efforts our goal is to maintain the "Friendship Village" as a self supporting, economically mostly independent project within six years of its establishment.
This goal will be achieved through the following means:
1 - Income from activities: When the "Village"'s facilities will not be occupied by its own activities, the services of the Center will be offered to other organizations who are closely related to its ideas. The Center will support itself by collecting payment for services rendered.
2 - Productions and services: From the onset of the "Village''s establishment various enterprises will be initiated in order to raise money locally. Profits from these enterprises will support its activity.
Proposed profit - making initiatives will include political tourism, eco-tourism, print shop, educational toys, agricultural hot-houses etc.
The Friendship Village will contain four sections ; Seminar Center
School for Coexistence
1 - Seminar Center:
Will serve as an educational center of short term (up to one week) seminars and workshops for youth from Israel and abroad. Will include accommodation for 120 students (3 - 4 person a room) and 20 facilitators (2 person a room), 5 classrooms for group discussions ( according to needs of 15 - 30 students in each group ), hall for general assembly (room for 150 people), dining room and kitchen for the same number of people. Basic services, such as laundry and local clinic will also be included in this section as well as the Village office.
2 - School for Coexistence:
Will use as a study center for small groups of students (up to 15 ) who will stay in the Village for long term courses. Will include two small classrooms ( for 10 students each ) and a workroom, connected to the library.
3 - Facilitators' Center:
Will use as a study center for all the Village; for preparation of seminars and courses, for curriculum development and for team sessions. It will include a library, computer center, photocopy machine, a small printing shop.
Actually it will be one building with a central library, an office room, 2 computer rooms containing 2 - 3 computers each and a bigger room for printing shop.
4 - Living Quarter:
Will use for accommodation of the Village and the auxiliary income generating branches' permanent staff.
The buildings will serve 4 - 6 singles ( a one room + kitchen + bathroom apartment for every one ),
6 - 8 volunteers ( one room for every 2 volunteers + bathroom and kitchen . for every couple of rooms )
( optional ) 3 - 5 families ( 3 room apartments for every family)
1 The first year will be devoted for fund raising, for detailed planning of site, for negotiations with the local and the national authorities, in purpose to get all the necessary permissions to start the structuring of "Friendship Village". All this work has to be done by one full time employee and one more employee in half time work, to care for the administration and publishing the Project over the Country.
2 The "Friendship Village" NGO will start to run educational programs from the first year already. For funding these programs, additional fund raising effort will be done. As long as the "Friendship Village" will not be ready to absorb the educational programs' participants, these will be hold in temporary sites. The purpose is, that toward the end of the Projects' second year, when the site will be ready for fluent (although not yet full capacity) activity, it will be already known among the interested educational Organizations, Authorities and NGO-s, so it will be able to run educational programs on the site, from the very beginning.
3 To run the Project, a permanent staff of four is necessary:
A General Director (Projector): coordinating work with local and national authorities. To work with Contractors. To coordinate the team work.
B Administrational Coordinator: running the office, organizing educational programs, treasurer.
C Educational Coordinator: running the educational side of the programs, to work with . temporary employees, such as counselors, lecturers etc. To prepare new counselors. To prepare
D Organizational Coordinator: House holding, running the kitchen and dining room, care
4 Running cost: the Educational Programs will have a separated account from the investment's. Expenses and income balance has to leave a marginal profit of about 6 8 %. In addition to educational programs, the site is planned to use as a basis for additional, income generating activities, such as "Alternative Tourism" and printing business. These small businesses will donate 10% of their profit to "Friendship Village". Fund raising to subsidize the educational activity, will be kept on.
Total cost: 2.2 million U.S.$ spread over 5 years