General (Ret.) Mansour Abu Rachid from Jordan .
(photo credit: Reuters)
Some 300 Jewish and Arab high school students from the Amal educational network ended a yearlong negotiations skills workshop this week.
Ono Academic College in Kiryat Ono hosted a closing event for the program.
The program, which brought together students from communities including Tel Aviv, Nahariya, Taiba and Abu Gosh, was operated in Israel for the third year in cooperation with Harvard Law School, the Middle East Partnership Initiative and the US Embassy.
As part of the curriculum, which is conducted by Jewish and Arab instructors trained at Harvard University, highschoolers learn to help parties reach acceptable solutions through cooperative learning methodologies, while improving their English at the same time.
It aims to “provides students with knowledge and skills that will serve them in their personal, professional and civic future,” and is based on a method developed at Harvard by the late Prof. Roger Fisher, author of the bestselling book Getting to YES.
The program included a twoday training workshop for 30 teachers from Jewish and Arab schools.
This weeks’ closing event took place in the presence of Arab Israeli singer and actress Mira Awad and former ambassador to the UN Gabriela Shalev as well as international experts in negotiations.
Jim Tull, an American conflict management expert, told students how he managed to get himself out of captivity in Nicaragua through the application of negotiation methods.
“I will take away from the negotiations workshop not just the basic laws of negotiations, but also the emphasis on mutual respect and understanding of the other’s needs,” a student from Tel Aviv said.
“To our surprise, we found that we have more common things than differences, and we very much enjoyed working and learning together,” a participant from Taiba, east of Kfar Saba, said.
Dr. Rachel Tal, head of English studies at Amal who implemented and manages the project, said it is unique and “equips students with negotiation skills that will help them cope with a variety of conflicts and situations in the future.
“The negotiation program is important, especially in current times, preparing future leaders to deal with the challenges of living in the Middle East,” she said.