Women’s Leadership for Reconciliation

A program that provides tools to spread the message of reconciliation and peace

The program applies a hands-on learning method that provides knowledge and tools, as well as practical experience initiating and structuring projects

The activities of the PCFF Women’s Group is designed, among others, to reinforce women’s voices in the Israeli and Palestinian arenas and their involvement in promoting reconciliation and peace.

In 2020, the Forum launched the “Women’s Leadership Program for Reconciliation”. The program is designed to provide the women members of the PCFF with tools and knowledge to lead activities and projects in view of reinforcing the women and their mutual endeavors, as well as spread the message of reconciliation and peace among both societies.

Twenty Palestinian and Israeli women participated in the program that was facilitated by Uda Abu Arkub and Shiri Levins, who brought with them their years of experience in social organizations and facilitating Israeli-Palestinian groups, with a focus on the women and their role in promoting peace.

The program applied practical learning that combines the acquisition of knowledge and tools and partaking in enterprises and structuring projects. The program sessions included lectures and workshops on diverse topics such as milestones in structuring projects, putting together and working as a team, feminist leadership and more. Also, the program included uni-national and bi-national study sessions and work sessions in small groups to develop projects.

The program was launched in January 2020 with a bi-national weekend in Jerusalem. This included activities to forge team spirit, workshops on tackling resistance and a guided tour of the Old City to understand the complexities associated with the site. The encounter was exciting and empowering; it reinforced the participants’ motivation to be leaders and steer activities and projects of the PCFF women’s group.

After the outbreak of Corona, sessions couldn’t be held face to face, so the program was adapted to an online format, while maintaining the original content and objectives.

Throughout the 18-month program, the women acquired knowledge, facilitated sessions on their own, practiced speaking to an audience, worked on developing ideas for diverse activities and projects, created a work plan therefor and learned to overcome difficulties that unfolded along the way.

The highlight of the program took place in July 2021 when the leadership program participants held a session for 40 Palestinian and Israeli female members of the Forum.

The women presented the work teams and the five projects they initiated, while inviting other women to take part in the project development. It was very exciting to see the women proudly presenting how far they came and the projects they created. Now, with the help of other women from the PCFF Women’s Group, they will carry out the projects to strengthen the women’s involvement in promoting reconciliation and peace.

The excitement over the encounter that took place in Bayt Jala was palpable, after the women hadn’t met face to face for over two years due to Corona. The encounter included activities such as movement and arts and crafts to reconnect the women who hadn’t seen one another in such a long time. One of these activities included white masks that allowed the women to disconnect from patterns that control their lives and see the other as a person devoid of social, psychological and political identities. The activity also provided the women a sense of unity and reinforced the connection that allows them to work together to end the conflict.