After the participants return home from the summer camp, they ideally maintain ties to Seeds of Peace through regional initiatives, where they exercise their new knowledge of dialogue and mediation. The hope is that the participants, who are referred to as “Seeds,” sow peace among their communities at home.
Mahmoud Jabari attended the Seeds of Peace International Camp in Maine five years ago. It changed his life.
Jabari’s mother originally encouraged him to apply for Seeds of Peace. At the time, he had set up what he calls a “magazine” on a wall at school, where he posted news clips that reflected both the Palestinian and Israeli perspectives. His mother, who speaks Hebrew, helped him to translate the Israeli news.
The school didn’t like it, Jabari explained to Dowser, but he struggled to defend his freedom of speech.
“I always wanted to hear the other side’s story,” he said. Watching Israeli news was the first step toward that, but it wasn’t enough. So he applied to Seeds of Peace to attend its camp.
“It was my first experience meeting Israeli peers. I had read many books to try to learn more about the history of the conflict. So I was filled with what I had read,” said Jabari of the experience.
At first Jabari found himself insisting on the Palestinian perspective’s correctness over the Israelis’ views at camp.
“But over time – this is one of the benefits I got from Seeds of Peace -- I discovered that these were not just soldiers, settlers, tank drivers,” he said. “These were people similar to me. We have common dreams. I was seeing people differently than I did in the media.”