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20 · JULY · 2015

Students from IBEI learn about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on site

IBEI, in cooperation with DIPLOCAT and the Peres Center for Peace organises an educational program for international visitors

Six students from the Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals (IBEI) went to Israel and Palestine in a visit organised by the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (DIPLOCAT) in cooperation with the Peres Center for Peace and in the framework of the Yala Young Leaders Program. The participants were in Israel and Palestine last week, from 13-17 July, where they met with Ambassador Uri Savir, co-founder and President of the Peres Centre for Peace and founder of the YaLa Young Leaders Program, as well as with peace activists and community leaders from both Israel and Palestine in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Ramallah.

In visits dually guided by Israelis and Palestinians, the group got a first-hand insight into the historic aspects and current political, social and economic reality of the region. The trip was also an opportunity for personal exchanges and dialogue with the young leaders who had come to Catalonia in July 2014 from Israel, Palestine and other areas of the Middle East to exchange views on peace building and conflict resolution.

The six participants evaluated the visit as a very useful experience which allowed them to accurately understand the conflict resolution and peace-building efforts in Israel and Palestine and to extrapolate the findings to other situations. All students take part in IBEI masters programmes in International Relations, International Security or Public Policy Mundus Mapp, and were selected by IBEI and DIPLOCAT after a selection process including academic works on the Middle East peace process.

The Peres Center for Peace is an independent non-government organisation founded by the Nobel Prize Laureate and former President of Israel Shimon Peres. It promotes Peres’ vision of peace building by facilitating cooperation between existing groups in Israel and its neighbours (particularly between Israelis and Palestinians) as well as between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel. Its mission is to promote lasting peace in the Middle East by fostering tolerance, economic and technological development, cooperation and well-being.

The YaLa Young Leaders program, as one of the initiatives of the Peres Center for Peace and YaLa Palestine, was founded in May 2011 and is with 1 million members the leading pan-regional peace and economic cooperation movement in the Middle East and North Africa. It fosters dialogue and change by bringing together young leaders from the region and strengthening their sense of community and accountability, in cooperation with universities such as Harvard and Michigan, sports clubs such as FC Barcelona, a member of the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia, and companies such as Microsoft.

The objective of the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia is to strengthen the relationships between Catalan institutions and civil society and the rest of the world using public diplomacy tools. The International Visitors Programme is a key tool in public diplomacy to strengthen personal, professional and institutional relations between the civil societies of different countries.