History

The Givat Haviva Educational Foundation (GHEF) is the New York City based American arm, representing and supporting the Givat Haviva Institute in Israel.  The Foundation is comprised of a community of supporters and activists who work to increase awareness of Givat Haviva's mission to create a Shared Future and Shared Society in Israel, based on the principles of equality, cooperation, empowerment and understanding.


The Givat Haviva Institute is a non-profit organization founded in 1949 by the Kibbutz Artzi Federation with a 40-acre campus located in the Wadi Ara region in central Israel, along with a northern branch in the Israeli-Arab town of Sakhnin.   The campus was instituted as the national education center of the Kibbutz Federation in Israel, dedicated to promoting mutual responsibility, civic equality and cooperation between divided groups in Israel as the foundation for building a shared future and shared society -- critical elements of a sustainable and thriving Israeli democracy.  To this end, Givat Haviva serves as a catalyst in activating divided communities to work together towards achieving their common goals, while engaging in a process of interaction, support and empowerment.  This is done through facilitating cross-community projects; leading training and capacity building activities; convening seminars, workshops and conferences to cultivate concrete ideas that foster change; and translating these ideas into action.  A leader in its field, Givat Haviva was awarded the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education in 2001 for its longstanding work in promoting Jewish-Arab dialogue and reconciliation.


Givat Haviva is named in memory of Haviva Reik, born in 1914 in Slovakia and an active member of the socialist-Zionist Youth Movement Hashomer Hatzair. Haviva later immigrated to Israel and became a member of Kibbutz Ma'anit, which eventually donated the land that Givat Haviva resides on today.  During WWII Haviva volunteered in the British Army and parachuted behind Nazi lines in Slovakia to organize the Jewish Resistance. Haviva was eventually captured and executed by the Nazis in November of 1944.  Givat Haviva was named in her honor as the embodiment of one who dedicated her life to defend human freedom.