- Peres Center for Peace
The Peres Center for Peace located in
Tel Aviv, Israel, is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan, non-governmental organizationfounded in 1996by Nobel Peace Laureateand former Prime Minister Shimon Peres, with the aim of furthering his vision in which people of the Middle Eastregion work together to build peace through socio-economic cooperation and development, and people-to-people interaction. The first Director General of the Peres Center was Ambassador Uri Savir, who, together with Shimon Peres, established the organization and currently serves as President.
Through extensive communication and interaction with
Arabpartners, the Peres Center has come to understand that sustainable peace and stability can only be developed in the Middle East region through the elevation of social and economic capacities. Accordingly, the peacebuilding activities of the Peres Center focus on common Arab and Israeli social, economic, developmental, cultural and educational interests, with an emphasis on nurturing Palestinian-Israeli relations. The Peres Center designs and facilitates tangible peacebuilding projects that address these interests, utilizing cross-border, regional and international partnerships to bring these initiatives to fruition.
The Peres Center is able to implement its peacebuilding activities through contributions from governments, corporations, foundations, organizations and private individuals.
The Peres Center's mission is to build an infrastructure of
peaceand reconciliation by and for the people of the Middle East that promotes socio-economic development, while advancing cooperation and mutual understanding.
The Peres Center's peacebuilding activities are based on four main pillars: "People-to-People Dialogue and Interaction; Capacity-Building through Cooperation; Nurturing a Culture of Peace in the Region's Youth;" and "Humanitarian Responses".
The peacebuilding activities of the Peres Center fall into eight fields:
Agricultureand Water; Business and Economics; Civil SocietyDialogue and Cooperation; Information Technology(IT) Peace Projects; Medicineand Healthcare; Mediterranean 2020; Peace Education and Culture; and Sport.
Within the realm of "Agriculture and Water" [http://www.peres-center.org/Agriculture.html] , the Peres Center implements various peacebuilding programs that utilize cross-border research and cooperation to enhance crop management practices,
environmental protection, and water quality. Such joint efforts are of the utmost importance as pests and pollution know no boundaries, and geographic conditions demand the use of common aquifers and water resources.
Through the field of "Business and Economics" [http://www.peres-center.org/BusinessAndEconomics.html] , the Peres Center strives to strengthen the economic relations between Israel and the Arab world, with a focus on Palestinian-Israeli relations. A pressing need exists for a new alternative economic mechanism that serves to facilitate vital trade and business activity among Palestinians and Israelis, and with other neighboring countries. As such, the Peres Center works with the business communities of the
Palestinian Authority, Israel, Egyptand Jordanto develop integrated initiatives for the mutual benefit of all parties.
In terms of "Civil Society" [http://www.peres-center.org/CivilSociety.html] , the Peres Center's tailor-made programs target key civil society and community figures, who serve as agents of dialogue at the grassroots level, as well as agents of change that affect
public opinionand the policies of the political leadership. Such programs also engage the grassroots populations of the Palestinian Authority and Israel, in addition to pivotal academic and political circles. Such joint Palestinian-Israeli peacebuilding projects seek to change mindsets, provide a platform for constructive dialogue, and open channels for direct communication and interaction.
Within the "IT" sector [http://www.peres-center.org/It.html] , the Peres Center operates original, inventive IT platforms and IT projects in the fields of business, education, communication, and more. Multiple activities that utilize a diverse array of IT tools have been initiated to encourage an increase in the level of IT use and knowledge in the Palestinian Authority and in disadvantaged Israeli communities, and to link Arabs and Israelis through innovative peacebuilding programs. Such programs are ideal for overcoming existing physical barriers to contact. As for "Medicine and Healthcare" [http://www.peres-center.org/MedicineAndHealthcare.html] , the peacebuilding programs of the Peres Center within this field focus on the long-term development of an independent Palestinian medical system through
human resource development, support for the build-up of secondary and tertiary medical services, fair and equitable partnerships, and shared access to information and know-how. In addition, the Peres Center runs a major project in the field of Medicine and Healthcare that aims to reduce morbidity and alleviate the mortality rate among Palestinian babies and children.
The Peres Center also runs peacebuilding projects through its "Mediterranean 2020 Foundation" [http://www.peres-center.org/Med2020.html] , which is dedicated to developing a joint identity for
Mediterraneancommunities through a communication process, dialogue and collective project planning and implementation. Such a joint identity, which emphasizes a set of balances related to social, political and cultural factors, and the common characteristics of the Mediterranean communities, seeks to enhance peaceful coexistence, building on existing Israeli-Palestinian relations.
Within the realm of "Peace Education and Culture" [http://www.peres-center.org/PeaceEducation.html] , the Peres Center designs and implements an array of innovative, creative programs directed at Palestinian and Israeli children and youth. These peacebuilding projects utilize vehicles such as theater, cinema and the arts to instill values that favor peace and coexistence. Through these initiatives, participants gain an awareness of the benefits of peace on a personal, communal and societal level, become aware of cultural differences and appreciate cultural diversity, and gain an understanding of the negative effects of
stereotyping, thereby acquiring the skills to exercise caution in making social judgments.
Its “Frames of reality” project uses the social possibilities of the internet, like
photojournalism, to reach large audiences, and bring together Palestinian and Israeli professionals in artistic and peaceful surroundings.
Through "Sport" [http://www.peres-center.org/Sport.html] , the Peres Center initiates and implements a wide array of projects and programs, utilizing sport to encourage solidarity, mutual understanding, respect and interaction between Palestinian and Israeli children and youth. Sport has the invaluable ability to overcome barriers of language, politics, culture, and religion, and as such, is a wonderful tool for peacebuilding. Through the Peres Center's sport programs, young participants are able to learn values of teamwork, cooperation, and coexistence.
The Director General of the Peres Center for Peace is Dr. Ron Pundak. The Executive Board of the Peres Center is a distinguished group of individuals and community leaders from a diverse array of professional fields. These eminent individuals have committed themselves to the Peres Center's mission and activities, and play a pivotal role in the management of the Peres Center. The men and women who comprise the Executive Board are CEOs, Directors, and Presidents of various organizations, as well as scholars, academics, and world-renowned journalists. Additionally, the Peres Center has an International Board of Governors, which consists of distinguished individuals, from some 40 nations around the globe, that support and endorse the Peres Center's peacebuilding mission. Their expertise span a wide variety of fields - from sports, entertainment, Nobel Prize Laureates, top scientists, former and current statespeople, business and community leaders - enabling them to provide vital input in all areas of the Peres Center's activities.
Nobel Peace Laureate and former Prime Minister
Shimon Peresfounded the Peres Center in 1996 with the aim of furthering his vision in which people of the Middle East region work together to build peace through socio-economic cooperation and development, and people-to-people interaction.
* [http://www.peres-center.org Peres Center for Peace website]
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