Palestine Summer Encounter 2009

Palestine Summer Encounter is a one to three month service learning and cultural immersion program in Bethlehem, Palestine. Participants study Arabic in and outside of the classroom setting, live with a Palestinian host family, volunteer and meet with both Israeli and Palestinian peacemakers.

The April 23rd registration deadline for the Palestine Summer Encounter program is rapidly approaching. We encourage anyone hoping to join us this summer to apply as soon as possible to reserve their spot in the program.

There will also be some exciting changes this year:

1) We are now awarding a limited number of needs-based scholarships in the amount of $1,000. Info. and the scholarship application is at:

These scholarships are still available! Please encourage anyone you think might be interested to apply.

2) We’re extending the academic focus of the program beyond Arabic. Participants will now also be able to participate in academic tracts like Nonviolence, Theology and the Land and the Politics of the Region. These tracts can be taken instead of, or in conjunction with, the arabic class.


a) Print out flyers

b) Post it to your profile
On your profile page next to “update status” click on “Post Link” and then add this URL:

We are also running a parallel volunteer program in Syria this summer. More info. at:

Thanks guys! Keep in touch.


Peter Ryan
Middle East Fellowship

(714) 529-1926

So be Good for Goodness Sake…

This past Friday Santa Clause stood in solidarity with and attempted to go where fewer and fewer Palestinians are able to go, their own farm lands in the southern hills of the Beautiful little town called Bethlehem. For the second year in a row, taking time away from his main work in this very busy season, Santa decided to come to Bethlehem to support the farmers in reaching their land in order to maintain it and plant it… For the second year in a row (as happens every week when Santa is not there), the Israeli soldiers barricaded and prevented the villagers from reaching their land.

Santa Clause in the village of Masara handing candy to the children south of Bethlehem

Barbed wires were placed on the main road leading to the farming lands and soldiers with heavy guns stood in a line pouting the whole time at the Palestinian farmers, their international and Israeli friends, and of course… Santa…

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First Reflection: From Palestine to the Jungles of Colombia, the Solution is One

Sami Awad from Holy Land Trust, Saskia Breithardt and Andrea Regelmann from Tamera in Colombia

I just returned from an incredible experience. From the 25th of September to the 10th of October and for the first time in my life I traveled to Latin America, more specifically to an incredible area in the north of Colombia, where the absolute beauty and tranquility of God’s creation and the majesty of Mother Earth become one. It is also a place where those commitment to be agents of peace clash with those who are addicted to greed, power, control and violence, and who are willing to destroy everything in their path in order to fulfill their craving.

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When Settlers get Abusive, Israeli Soldiers Attack the Abused, but the Sun Shines on All

On Thursday the 16th of October, hundreds of Israeli settlers / squatters gathered in a Palestinian hill known as Oush Gurab located in Beit Sahour (Shepherd’s Filed). This location was used for many years as an Israeli military outpost. Palestinians who live in its vicinity recall daily the violence and terror they experienced from Israeli soldiers stationed there. When the location lost its strategic advantage to the illegal separation barrier, the Israeli military evacuated the location. They no longer had to be in the middle of a Palestinian residential area, they can move to the other side of the prison walls now. After the evacuation, Palestinians returned to Oush Gurab and began working on numerous humanitarian and recreational projects including a children’s hospital and an outdoor activity park.

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Empowered by Nonviolence

Text of interview published in

Sami Awad


When I talk about nonviolence, and when I discuss nonviolence with people, the first word that comes to mind related to nonviolence is the word empowerment.  And this is, for me, what nonviolence is all about.  It is to empower individuals, empower families, empower communities, empower nations to deal with issues of injustice and oppression that they face in their lives on a daily basis.  It is both a strategy of resistance, and also a strategy for moral and ethical growth within society.  As a Palestinian, for example, living in this land, nonviolence becomes a core value for me because it is how we as Palestinians need to deal with oppression and resisting the injustice that we are facing, to be empowered not to be victims of the circumstances, not to give in to the circumstances but to deal with them in direct and effective ways.  The power of nonviolence is for me also creates a situation where barriers are broken down between nations and between peoples, and even again within individuals themselves and the things that they go through in their own personal life.  Nonviolence does not threaten the other, does not threaten the existence of the other but threatens the structures of injustice that are created that prevent that relationship from developing between you and those who are doing injustice to you.  And the result of engaging in nonviolence is not in the fact that it stands on resistance one, nonviolence is powerful because it goes beyond resistant. It goes to creating the future that you seek with the other.  And this is where equality becomes important—nonviolence really creates that foundation that premise where you can build that relationship of mutual trust and respect with those who have treated you unjustly that is founded on equality between you and them.

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Global Oneness Interview…


The challenge is to create a common thread of values where Jews, Christians, and Moslems begin to see that what is common between them outweighs, tremendously, what makes them different from each other.

Sami Awad
in The Core Essence





Sami Awad is the Executive Director of Holy Land Trust (HLT), a Palestinian nonprofit organization which he founded in 1998 in Bethlehem. HLT works with the Palestinian community at both the grassroots and leadership levels in developing nonviolent approaches that aim to end the Israeli occupation and build a future founded on the principles of nonviolence, equality, justice, and peaceful coexistence. Continue reading