From the 22nd of June to the 1st of July, twenty four participants, ages ranging from 17 to 29, from eight nations engaged in different service activities in Israel and Palestine, (Beer Sheva, Bethany, Tel Aviv and Julis) as well as engaging in dialogue with local university students. Several local participants joined for short periods of time.

International Youth Leadership Middle East Peace Initiative (IYL MEPI)

From the begining of June 2008, an international group of youth leaders, has been planning of the 36th and 37th IYL MEPI, under the guidance of YFWP (Youth Federation for World Peace), Israel’s secretary general Hod Ben Zvi. The director of the projects was Adriel Trombin from Luxemburg supported by: Joshua Lorenzana (Philippins), Keiko Ikeda (Japan), Natalie Nylen (Sweden) and Chigozie Ahunanya (Malta). Having clearly divided their responsibilities, they focused on finding local partners and participants, while their international partners tried to find participants for the projects. The name IYL MEPI has only recently been branded in order to create a sense of continuity in the projects carried in Israel and Palestine, both for UPF (Universal Peace Federation) and the YFWP.

The projects started with an orientation about their purpose, and a tour of Jerusalem.

The first project took place in Beer Sheva, in the south of Israel and was coordinated by “The Forum of Lay Leadership” They interacted with Ethiopian children and carried on some restoration work around the town. They also met with Israeli students in Ben Gurion University and presented the vision of the Global Peace Festival.

The second project took place in the Palestinian town of Bethany, where the volunteers worked with school children. They talked about the UN Millennium Development Goals, and held discussions on various topics.

Next day, the group travelled to Tel Aviv, where a service group from Tel Aviv university joined them. Together they participated in a service project in the south of Tel Aviv and organised an interfaith round table.

They visited Bethlehem and then they moved to Julis, a Druze village in the north of Israel, for the final part of the project lasting three days and bringing Christians, Moslems and Druze youth leaders together. During their stay in the village, the volunteers took part in different activities i.e. cleaning a holy place, decorating the walls of the village, etc.

The project ended with a much-deserved trip to the Dead Sea.

Click here for the full report (pdf file)

*MEPI is a project of the Universal Peace Federation. The project was first launched by UPF in 2003 and continues to develop and expand. Recently it joined forces with YFWP to develop international youth leadership programs focusing on peace projects in the Middle East.

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