Seeds of Peace: Building Peace at Summer Camp

Tamar and Suma are Israeli and Palestinian teenagers. They came together at a summer camp in Maine run by an organization called Seeds of Peace, which encourages dialog and understanding among young people to resolve international conflicts. The camp helps develop the skills and understanding necessary to build peace. (Video Transcript)

Learn More about Seeds of Peace

Each summer since 1993, at a camp in Maine, Seeds of Peace brings together 300 Arab and Israeli teenagers for a three-week program. These young people leave behind the violence and hatred that is often ingrained in their homelands to meet the “enemy” face to face.

At home, their two societies remain locked in a conflict that has pitted two people—Jews and Palestinian Arabs—against each other for most of the past century. At its heart, this conflict is a struggle for land, existence, security, justice and acceptance—by both peoples.

While at the camp, these young people—supported by trained counselors—can dare to argue with and play alongside each other. They can challenge preconceptions, share ideas and opinions, and envision a peaceful Middle East. It can be an emotional and difficult process, but it can produce surprising friendships. It can also shape the ways in which these young people think and act after they return to their homes.

Seeds of Peace was created to empower young leaders from regions of conflict with the leadership skills required to help move from a divided past to a shared future. It received grant support from the U.S. Institute of Peace and its founder, John Wallach, was a Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow at the institute in 1997-98.

Seeds of Peace, the U.S. Institute of Peace, and many other organizations work with young people in conflict zones around the world, providing them with the skills and tools to be effective peacebuilders in their own communities.

Use the Seeds of Peace Lesson Plan in your classroom.

Test your knowledge of the Witnesses with a Word Quiz.

Share your own peacebuilding story here on the site.

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