What It Looks Like to Support Reconciliation Projects in Israel/Palestine

I have to remind myself that it was only two years ago that my church hosted a meeting with a local synagogue to hear about a brand-new project in the planning. We heard about an English-speaking high school in Israel which would seek to transform the Middle East and beyond by developing a global network of young leaders who share a commitment to building a more peaceful future. Could it really happen? Would young people from around the world take a punt on a school in rural Israel to with no reputation, no past results, no recommendations?

Two years on, I still feel that initial excitement whenever I hear from one of the founding team or the incredible students of Givat Haviva International School. And I am proud that my community has played its part in building this amazing project which is punching way above its weight and bringing about reconciliation between its Palestinian citizens of Israel and Jewish Israelis, not to mention the students from other conflict zones – Armenia Kosovo, South Sudan.

The diversity of our teachers and the eclectic choice of subjects

GHIS is not your average international school, so it is hardly surprising that our teachers are often unlikely suspects. This eclectic group are expertly led by the inspirational educator and IB specialist, Yuval Dvir, who transitioned from a successful musical career to establish GHIS. Some come from backgrounds in education and others from business.

• Global Politics – the first step to changing the world is to understand it. This subject gives students the opportunity to analytical rather than emotional way and develop their ability to advocate on issues they believe in.
• World Religions – as animosity and intolerance are on the rise, this class is an engine of understanding and empathy,

• Environmental Systems and Societies – where students seek to understand THE most relevant issue of our time huge applications for other disciplines.

• Art – at GHIS visual art and theater are the perfect media to examine the central themes of identity and conflict. Our end of year exhibition received huge acclaim from all who saw it.

For more information: http://gh-is.org/

Todd Stavrakos is the pastor at Gladwyne Presbyterian Church in Gladwyne, PA