To: John kerry, United States Secretary of State
Re: Our support and sympathy
We are group of Arava Institute graduates that work with the Youth Environmental Education & Peace Initiative (YEEPI), which is a peace education program that was established and operated in Israeli high schools thanks to the support of USAID. Through this program, we are educating Arab and Jewish pupils; essentially creating bridges of peace between Jews and Arabs in Israel. We also have recently started working with school in East Jerusalem, and within our team, we have a Palestinian-Jordanian and a Palestinian.
We are the YEEPI Leaders.
In our understanding, many Jewish Israelis and Palestinians are scarred and sore. We all have histories full of blood and pain. Unfortunately, too many of us are walking through the foothills of time while looking back to the past instead of looking ahead.
One of the most important things that we (the YEEPI Leaders) teach our students is the ability to look into the future and envision a new reality; a better reality. We teach the pupils that, along with being practical, dreaming is a fundamental, central element to bring about change.
Our heroes are those who can turn a “foreigner” into a friend; those who can change ”oddness” into familiarity; and those who can let us be made into instruments of peace.
We seek brotherhood, cooperation, and trust among all people.
The ability to believe and to create a new reality is exactly what allowed us to make the decision to study at the Arava Institute. The ability to believe and to dream allowed us to build relationships, respect, and familiarity between us; and later between all of us and our families.
The ability to dream a new reality was a key tool for establishing The Youth Environmental Education & Peace Initiative.
On behalf of hundreds of high school students, dozens of schools staff members, and a large group of alumni of the Arava Institute that are engaged with YEEPI, we would like to support you and to let you know that many eyes and hearts would like you to continue your efforts.
The way of peace is the only way.
May we have peace now.
Please carry on with your work!
The YEEPI Leaders team:
Gonen Sagy, Shaya bonshtain, Liad amir, Nairooz Qupty, Noa rimer, Vera Saulino, Liel Maghen, Sharon Asaf, Mustafa Ali, Amber hill, Ismail arar, Ohad Dreimer.
The Youth Environmental Education & Peace Initiative
The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies