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Abstract

This paper describes the design, implementation, and lessons from a case study in transforming two university classrooms into what we call an international “peace incubator.” In the besieged Gaza Strip, opportunities for normalization of relations with Israel are almost non-existent, and there is very limited desire or personal capacity among the student population of Gaza to do the work of peace-building. A semester-long videoconference class linking IUPUI and Gaza University students sought to address this deficit by developing a model for building ties of friendship and cooperation. West Bank peace activist Juliano Mer Khamis once spoke of a coming Third Palestinian Intifada (or uprising) that would be mounted through art, music, poetry and film. Inspired by his dedication to long term peacebuilding, we set about opening a channel of communication through our classroom experiment to allow the students to see beyond the negative stereotypes and allow friendship and understanding to flourish. Our experiment was designed to not only promote trust between US and Palestinian faculty and students, but to also creatively endorse Mer Khamis’ strategy for peace-building, and giving voice to those struggling to be heard.

Author Bio(s)

Ian McIntosh earned his PhD in anthropology at Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Australia in 1996. Before joining IUPUI in 2004, he was the managing director of the global indigenous rights group, Cultural Survival Inc., and also the assistant director of the Armenia Tree Project in Yerevan, Republic of Armenia. He teaches classes on truth and reconciliation, and leads IUPUI's strategic university partnership with Moi University in Kenya. His main research interests include Australian Aboriginal reconciliation, pilgrimage and peace-building, and envisioning peace and prosperity in the Middle East. Contact: imcintos@iupui.edu

Jamil Alfaleet earned his PhD in political science at the Institute of Arab Research & Studies, Cairo, Egypt in 2010. He began teaching at Gaza University in 2011 as an instructor of political science and international relations. He teaches courses in human rights and negotiations simulations, as well as regional integration. He is also Director of International Affairs, and also of Quality Control. His main research interest is in historical dialog, and converting intractable conflict into relationships where peace is celebrated. He has produced a number of documentary films in Gaza to highlight the challenging economic situation. Contact: dr.jamilalfaleet@hotmail.com

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