Frequently Asked Questions
What is the mission of Creativity for Peace?
Our mission is to train young Palestinian and Israeli women to partner as leaders by transforming anger and prejudice to mutual respect, facilitating an understanding of the other, and inspiring action to promote equality and peace.
How do you achieve that mission?
Young women begin by attending a three-week summer program in Santa Fe, New Mexico. At camp they learn to speak authentically and listen compassionately, share their personal stories – often of the violent deaths of loved ones – and transform anger and prejudice into real friendships. After summer, the program continues in Israel and Palestine with year-round skill-building, practice, and mentoring.
How old are the young women in your program?
Campers are 15-17 years old. Our most senior participants are in their late 20s.
What are the participants' backgrounds?
They are Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Druze, Bedouin and other religions and ethnicities and include Palestinians from the West Bank, Gaza, and Israel as well as Israelis.
How many young women have completed your program?
We have held 19 summer programs with a total of 271 teens. Each camp consists of 16 participants, half of whom are Jewish and half Palestinian.
What are the origins of the organization?
Creativity for Peace was founded in 2003 by psychotherapist and humanitarian Rachel Kaufman, artist Debra Sugerman, and peace activist/writer Anael Harpaz. These women believed that the decades of violence and struggle between Palestinians and Israelis would never end if left to adults and governments. They felt that young women had the greatest chance of making peace in their countries, based on the African proverb, “If you educate a man, you educate a person, but if you educate a woman you build a good nation.”
What happens at the summer camp?
Each morning campers participate in a three-hour dialogue session, led by trained facilitators from Israel and Palestine, in which they learn to speak authentically and listen compassionately. Healing takes place as they share their personal stories with the “enemy.” The afternoon art program is led by professional art therapists and includes projects in all visual art disciplines that promote self-expression, release of pain, and collaboration. In addition, participants take field trips and spend many hours of social time together. They live in one house, where they are assigned bedrooms with young women from the other side. The camp experience shatters the stereotypes they have been taught and builds the foundation for leading in partnership with the “other side.”
What is the Young Leader program?
When camp graduates return home they are expected to participate in a two-year training program. This program provides in-depth training and mentoring that will result in action for peace. Young Leaders facilitate groups, organize projects, serve as spokeswomen for Creativity for Peace, and work as junior counselors at camp.
What other programs take place in Palestine, Israel and the United States?
In Palestine/Israel we work with young women at early stages of careers in politics to promote inclusivity, rather than hierarchy, in government and the social sector. We lead dialogues for high school girls who do not attend camp and hold workshops that teach emotional resilience skills to girls and their mothers. In the United States, we have established a year-round leadership program for American girls. Each year Young Leaders speak to thousands of Americans about their work for peace.
How are the campers selected?
Candidates must complete a written application, provide references, and be personally interviewed by our staff in Israel and Palestine. English-language proficiency is required. We accept young women from diverse religious, educational, and socioeconomic backgrounds with a wide variety of personalities and strengths.
Have you considered including young men?
There are a number of reconciliation programs for young men based in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and the Middle East. We have made a decision to focus on women, whom we believe have a unique capacity to achieve peace.
Where does your funding come from?
Our organization is funded by individuals and private foundations throughout the United States, Israel, and Palestine. In 2015, we received a $100,000 grant from the United States Agency for International Development. Our 2017 budget is $750,000.
What are the families required to pay?
The cost for each camper is approximately $6,000. Families are asked to pay $700 plus a modest fee for two years of follow-up training; a few full scholarships are awarded.