Give from the heart this #GivingTuesday!
Our mission is now being realized in ways we could have never imagined, and we are so grateful. Enabling this growth is the generosity of donors like you, as well as the energy and vision of people we’ve never met from all over the globe who are making the Euphrates movement their own and turning 'Others' into brothers. We're excited to share our 2016 Organization Review with updates of progress from the past year.
Your investment will help us reach our goal of 100 Chapters worldwide!
From Seattle to Sudan, from Brussels to Berkeley, our 20 (and counting) Euphrates Chapters around the world are building bridges and inspiring transformation in their communities. Consider these examples:
- Our two Chapters in India, New Delhi and Kolkata, have put on events at their universities to help students find common ground between the Middle East and India, and aim to bridge the Hindu-Muslim divide. The Kolkata Chapter hosted a peace concert for its inaugural event, bringing local musicians and a theatre production company together to raise awareness about Euphrates. The leaders of these two groups stay in close touch with each other and have started a Facebook group, Euphrates-India, to spread the vision wider!
- Our newest Chapter at St. Lawrence University in New York recently attended the Middle East Institute’s 70th annual conference in Washington, D.C. amidst a busy fall of activities. In September, members hosted campus-wide activities on the International Day of Peace, with interactive art pieces and photo campaigns, and handed out white bows for students to wear in support of world peace.
- On our Middle East trip this fall, we met in person with our Chapter leaders in the Palestinian Territories and Jordan. Yasmeen Ishtay, based in Amman, recently completed a Master’s degree in Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution and gave several lectures to local students about the importance of achieving inner peace in order to practice peace on a larger scale. Both Chapter leaders were able to share ideas with our group about the way they bring Euphrates to their part of the world.
Transformation is at the core of each of our programs. We believe that if you have an encounter with the ‘Other,’ and listen to him with the intent to understand, you open yourself up to deep change. We aim for this kind of experience each time we lead groups abroad, and once again our latest group plunged itself into the midst of a region seething in conflict (and smelled the tear gas to prove it).
- Participants listened with open minds and hearts to the stark narratives of every side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, even when they found this task extremely difficult and painful. They found unlikely partners—from Jewish settlers and neighboring West Bank Palestinians to former Palestinian militants and Israeli soldiers—who are overcoming differences and working together to resolve their problems.
- Participants also discovered a softening in their own attitudes towards their ‘Other,’ and found that by accommodating competing narratives, they not only opened up space for others to do so, but were inspired to do that back home in the domestic political discourse as well.
- As an added endorsement to the Euphrates approach, we learned that a practice Euphrates pioneered in 2011, a “dual-narrative” tour spending time with both Palestinians and Jewish community members in Hebron (the place of highest tension and conflict), has now been adopted by other peacebuilding groups and tours as a way to better understand both sides.
Our last day of the trip was spent with our 2016 Visionary of the Year, Nousha Kabawat, an inspiring young Syrian-Canadian woman who created Project Amal ou Salam (Project Hope and Peace). This network of peace-building and empowerment schools and workshops for displaced Syrian’s being housed in Jordan, Turkey and certain parts of Syria has served over 6,000 refugee children to date. We spent the day with her and the schoolchildren in Jordan, and were able to witness the difference she is making for so many who have lost everything save their will to live, and the hope for a better life. Our Euphrates award aims to shine a light on, and directly aid, her worthwhile efforts; and they deserve every bit of attention it can bring.Even with all of this, we have only just begun. With your investment, we are ready to fan these flames into a full-fledged, world-wide wildfire. We ask you to help us meet several ambitious goals for the next few years:
- 100 Euphrates Chapters by 2018, a five-fold increase.
- Increase our awards and support to changemakers and visionaries.
- Expand our Middle East trip offerings, from a single itinerary to three unique opportunities for travel and learning.
- $1 million budget by fiscal year 2018-2019, a four-fold increase, to build capacity for expanded programming.
In this season of Thanksgiving, we give thanks for you, our community of support who help light the path of peace and hope. We hope you will continue the journey with us.
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