Frequently Asked Questions
What is the mission of Creativity for Peace?
Our mission is to train young Palestinian and Israeli women to partner as leaders by transforming anger and prejudice to mutual respect, facilitating an understanding of the other, and inspiring action to promote equality and peace.
How do you achieve that mission?
Young women make a commitment to a two-year Young Leader training program that begins with a three-week summer intensive in Santa Fe, New Mexico, followed at home by six seminars focused on academic-style learning -- on subjects such as gender, opposing narratives, visioning and project management – and hands-on practice in their communities.
What are the backgrounds of these young women?
Girls begin in our organization when they are in high school. Our most senior participants are in their early thirties. They are Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Druze, Bedouin and other faiths and include Palestinians from the West Bank, Gaza, and Israel as well as Jewish Israelis. American high school girls are Anglo, Hispanic, Native American and other ethnicities. We accept young women from diverse religious, educational, and socioeconomic backgrounds with a wide variety of personalities and strengths.
How many young women have taken part?
We have held 21 summer camps with a total of 302 girls. Each camp consists of 16 participants, half Jewish and half Palestinian. Our two-year Young Leader training program was established five years ago and has graduated approximately 60 girls.
What happens in the Summer?
Girls take part in an intensive, three-week process that focuses on dialogue and therapeutic artmaking. Dialogue, led by professional facilitators from Israel and Palestine, trains young women to speak authentically and listen compassionately, allows them to share their experiences of living in conflict and violence, and lays the groundwork for building trust and understanding. The art program, directed by certified art therapists, includes projects in all visual art disciplines that promote self-expression, release of pain, and partnering to achieve common goals. In addition, participants take field trips and spend many hours of social time together. They live in one house, where they are assigned bedrooms with young women from the other side. Communal living provides opportunities to practice resolving conflict.
What is the Young Leader program?
When girls return home, they are expected to attend six weekend-long seminars that build skills and provide mentoring that results in action for social justice and peace. As they become more proficient, Young Leaders facilitate groups, organize projects, serve as spokeswomen for Creativity for Peace, and work as junior counselors at camp.
What other programs take place in Palestine, Israel and the United States?
In Palestine/Israel we have worked with young women at early stages of careers in politics to promote inclusivity, rather than hierarchy, in government and the social sector. We have organized dialogues for high school girls who do not attend camp and held workshops that teach emotional resilience skills to girls and their mothers. In the United States, we have established an ongoing leadership program for American girls. Each year Young Leaders speak to thousands of Americans about their work for peace.
How are the participants selected?
Candidates must complete a written application, provide references, and be personally interviewed by our staff in Israel and Palestine. We require English-language proficiency and leadership aptitude.
What are the origins of the organization?
Creativity for Peace was founded in 2003 by psychotherapist and humanitarian Rachel Kaufman, artist Debra Sugerman, and peace activist/writer Anael Harpaz. These women believed that the decades of violence and struggle between Palestinians and Israelis would never end if left to adults and governments. They felt that young women had the greatest chance of making peace in their countries, based on the proverb, “If you educate a man, you educate a person, but if you educate a woman you build a good nation.”
Have you considered including young men?
There are other, similar programs for young men based in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and the Middle East. We choose to focus on women, whom we believe have a unique capacity to achieve peace based following resolution 1325 of the United Nations we dedicate our work to women, believing that they will lead the change.
Where does your funding come from?
Our organization is funded by individuals and private foundations throughout the United States, Israel, and Palestine. Our 2019 budget was $708,000.
What are the families required to pay?
The cost of the two-year Young Leader training is approximately 9,000 per teen. Families are asked to pay $1,000. Several scholarships are awarded each year based on financial need.