UNIVERSITY AND PALESTINIAN EDUCATORS PLAN TOGETHER


Prof. Gabriel Salomon, Dean of the Faculty of Education, and Prof. Lya Kremer-Hayoun of the Department of Teacher Training met this past January with Palestinian Authority educators in a picturesque French town on the Swiss border to plan joint school projects on co-existence and tolerance between Israelis and Palestinians. The meeting was sponsored by the Geneva Foundation and the University of Geneva's Humanitarian Action Program.

Salomon and Kremer-Hayoun, whose research and activity have been directed in part at education for peace, were members of a six-person steering committee that included Bir Zeit and Bethlehem University lecturers. In all, some 30 Israeli and Palestinian educators took part in the week-long planning session.

Professor Salomon summed up the meeting, saying, "We left with a feeling of mutual respect and a desire for close cooperation both at the academic level and at the level of educational work in the field."

The gathering had been intended to familiarize pedagogues on both sides with their potential partners in developing an overall project entitled, "To Live Together." The educators were to design several activities--action-research projects, in the parlance of the profession--based on lessons they drew from a review of the field and how they viewed future needs.

In the end, four mixed Israeli-Palestinian working groups, or teams, were formed to prepare curricula and auxiliary educational aids. These materials, it is hoped, will help pupils in Israel and the Palestinian Authority to reduce stereotypes that each side has of the other and to cope with "living together" as neighbors. Each team is expected to present a detailed proposal for implementation in the field. If selected, the project will be funded by Swiss foundations.

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