One of the foremost challenges facing culturally diverse societies is the development of capacities enabling people of different backgrounds to learn to live together. Lifelong education that nurtures intercultural competencies and embraces diversity as strength is fundamental to combating the ignorance and mistrust that are the source of human conflict.

The educational system in Israel segregates Arabs and Jews, leaving children and youth little if any opportunity to meet one another.  This lack of meaningful contact leaves Arab and Jewish children vulnerable to stereotypes about "the other" and prevents the creation of a shared and inclusive vision of society.  There is an increasing need for a system-wide program educating towards mutual recognition partnership, social justice and peaceful relations between Jewish and Arab citizens.

Givat Haviva's Education for a Shared Society Programs are rooted in over 40 years of Jewish-Arab peace education peace programming experience.  Educational programs are implemented in the formal school system for children, youth and adults in Arab and Jewish schools, with tens of thousands of participants having passed through the programs since their establishment.  Givat Haviva was awarded the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education for our longstanding work in promoting Jewish-Arab dialogue and reconciliation.


Face to Face

The Face to Face Program is a two-day seminar at Givat Haviva that brings together Israeli Jewish and Arab high school youth for a series of workshops whose goal is a lessening of mutual alienation and the creation of a preliminary basis for the formation of a joint future based on mutual respect.  This program aspires to enable each young man and woman in Israel to participate in at least one face to face encounter in conditions of equality during the course of their high school years.  We believe that this type of encounter between different national and religious groups in conflict is an essential first step towards Israel's democratic future.  The program reaches over 4,000 students each year, making it the largest cross-cultural dialogue program currently operating in Israel.  In the 25 year lifespan of this program, we have reached over 30,000 students and teachers.

The Israeli Ministry of Education has issued a call to high school principles and educators nationwide encouraging their participation in Givat Haviva's reowned Face to Face Program.  To read the full document in Hebrew, click here.

Jewish and Arab Youth Taking Social Action 

A unique follow-up track for graduates of the Face to Face Program, this initiative empowers Jewish and Arab youth to build a joint philanthropic foundation to support local NGOs addressing key challenges in Israeli civil society.  The students function as the board of the foundation, charged with the mission of jointly deciding how to distribute funds contributed by the Estelle Friedman Gervis Family Foundation.  A mixed group of Arab and Jewish young people participated in meetings, overnight sessions and site visits, culminating in the reaching of a consensus for awarding grants to three NGOs: AlManarah -- Association for the Advancement of Blind Persons in Arab Society in Israel, the Spinal Muscular Atrophe Family Association, and the Ecological Greenhouse at Ein Shemer.

"I learned to know the group of Jews that I met, and to accept them, and together we found the things we have in common -- the desire to give and to cooperate together." -- Arab student, Ein Maahal

"I learned to see the other side first of all as human beings -- not as 'enemies' -- but rather as partners in a project for the good of society.  I learned about their culture, about the differences between us and about the great similarities between us."
-- Jewish student, Ra'anana

Children Teaching Children 

Children Teaching Children (CTC) is an internationally recognized initiative that has reached over 30,000 teachers and students over the past 25 years of operation. Integrated as part of the formal or informal curriculum in Arab and Jewish schools (8th and 9th grades), CTC is a two year program which aims to forge common citizenship between divided communities through civics studies combined with inter-community encounters.  The study program is first run in parallel, comprising several weeks of uni-national sessions for both Jewish and Arab students respectively.  This is followed by bi-national encounters between the parallel classes where students engage in dialogue and raise issues concerning identity, citizenship and cooperation.

Children Teaching Children has a follow-up program called Heart to Heart, a Canadian-based program that brings twenty participants from Children Teaching Children to Camp Shomria, a summer camp near Ottawa, for two and a half weeks.  Daily activities include team-building workshops, camping trips and facilitated dialogue about the narratives, politics and power dynamics that participants face in their daily lives at home.  To learn more about Heart to Heart, check out their website here.

Enrichment Program for Teachers

Teachers have a key role to play in educating for a Shared Society.  With this in mind, Givat Haviva offers Jewish and Arab high school teachers the opportunity to enrich their knowledge and educational approach through training programs on issues relating to democracy, tolerance, diversity, inter-community relations, conflict resolution and shared citizenship.  Recognized by the Ministry of Education, these programs include academic sessions combined with study tours on critical issues facing Israel's social agenda.

Read more here about the groundbreaking Holocaust Study Program for Israeli Arab Teachers.

College Student Program: Integration of Arab Israelis in the Economy

In cooperation with the Ruppin Academic Center, Givat Haviva engages Jewish students majoring in economics and accounting in a unique program providing them with first-hand knowledge of the integration of Arabs in Israeli economic life.  Groups of approximately 50 students participate in a series of six meetings, comprised of lectures and on-site visits to Arab villages, businesses and economic centers.  For most, the program marks the first opportunity to visit an Arab village, providing them with an in-depth understanding of the social and economic reality of their neighbors, overcoming personal fears and paving the way for informed professional engagement in the future.

Communicating Peace

The Communicating Peace program responds to the growing mutual mistrust and animosity between Jews and Arabs in Israel, which is significantly bred by problematic press coverage of Arab Israelis in the Hebrew media.  By developing curricula in critical media consumption and offering workshops for our students and teachers, the project seeks to "inoculate" young Israelis against the negative influences of coverage that incites against and otherwise defames Israel's Arab minority.  Communicating Peace is a program carried out in partnership with Keshev, the Center for the Protection of Democracy in Israel, a leading organization that works to improve the media discourse and media consumption habits in Israeli society.
We view this initiative as a key strategy for strengthening democracy and social cohesion in an increasingly fragmented Israeli society.  "This project can help overcome the mutual alienation currently dividing Jews and Arabs in Israel, bringing us closer to our vision of a Shared Society for all citizens," says Dr. Ghazal Abu Raya, Program Director.
Through uni-national and bi-national workshops, the project will train over 500 high school students to read and view news reports from a more critical perspective. Through enrichment training and publication of a teachers' guide in Hebrew and Arabic, the project will advise over 100 Jewish and Arab educators on ways to transmit this subject in their own teaching.  Beyond these target audiences, the project will also reach influential policy makers and media editors.  Towards the end of the project's first year, the teachers' guide will be published and shared with educators and education officials at the Ministerial level and in local governments. 

Active Citizenship and Volunteerism

The Active Citizenship and Volunteerism program operates in the Northern Branch of Givat Haviva, based in Sakhnin.  The program aims to increase the community involvement of Arab youth of the city of Sakhnin by engaging them in the learning and practice of active citizenship through volunteerism.  Over 40 high school students will participate in an eight month curriculum including lectures, workshops, study tours and practical exercises that will provide them with the tools and framework for building and implementing volunteer programs in their communities.

Givat Haviva views this program as an effective response to the deficit of civic engagement among Arab citizens rooted in the lack of educational and community infrastructure.

"This program can help strengthen Arab civil society in Israel by training young Arab leaders to bring about social change within their communities," said Dr. Ghazal Abu Raya, Program Director and Head of the Northern Branch.