NEW YORK, June 9, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Institute of International Education (IIE) has awarded the 2014 IIE Victor J. Goldberg Prize for Peace in the Middle East to Tal Harris and Samer Makhlouf of the OneVoice Movement's Youth Leadership Program, which mobilizes young Israelis and Palestinians to promote lasting peace. The award, which includes a $10,000 prize, was presented by the Chairman of IIE's Board of Trustees, Thomas S. Johnson, today at the U.S. Consulate General's cultural center in East Jerusalem.
Mr. Harris, an Israeli, and Mr. Makhlouf, a Palestinian, received the 10th annual IIE Goldberg Prize in recognition of their parallel work in training youth in the skills to organize the moderate, non-violent majority in their communities to press for realization of the two-state solution.
Mr. Harris and Mr. Makhlouf have worked in parallel across religious and cultural divides to engage more than 6,000 young men and women, primarily between the ages of 18 and 35, from major cities, small towns, college campuses, and refugee camps alike to advance the cause of peace and work toward a two-state solution. In keeping with OneVoice's distinct strategy of parallel programming, these national campaigns operate separately but in sync, giving OneVoice legitimacy in both communities while allowing Youth Leaders to address the challenges, narratives, and disputes that are specific to their neighborhoods and political environments.
As the program has grown, so too has its ripple effect, with target audiences and partners expanding to include members of the established political community and high-level political leaders. OneVoice activists have become Members of the Knesset, local election candidates, and Palestinian Authority officials.
Training includes seminars on negotiation skills, media workshops, and dialogues on final status issues. As they progress through the levels of training, Youth Leaders spearhead unique activities – from town hall meetings that build consensus for tough compromises to public awareness campaigns that pressure leaders to move the peace process forward. This program provides a critical constructive outlet for this generation's frustration stemming from the status quo.
IIE Trustee Victor J. Goldberg said, "This award recognizes innovation, and rewards those who are courageous and committed enough to work to overcome the religious, cultural, ethnic, and political issues which divide the Middle East. We hope that the dedication shown by our prize winners will inspire others to join together across these divides to advance the cause of peace in the coming years."
"The winners we celebrate each year exemplify the kinds of action that are needed to resolve conflicts in this region and around the world," commented IIE president Allan Goodman. "We are particularly pleased to present the 10th anniversary IIE Goldberg Prize to two winners, Tal Harris and Samer Makhlouf, who are working to train the young leaders who will be the next generation of peacemakers. They embody Vic Goldberg's long-time commitment to bettering the world through international cooperation."
The Institute of International Education, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1919 and headquartered in New York City, created the Goldberg IIE Prize with an endowment from IIE's Executive Committee member and former Vice Chairman, Victor J. Goldberg. The Selection Committee for the Prize includes leading experts from academia, the non-profit sector, and government.
About the OneVoice Movement:
OneVoice is an international grassroots movement that amplifies the voice of mainstream Israelis and Palestinians, empowering them to propel their elected representatives toward the two-state solution. The Movement works to forge consensus for conflict resolution and build a human infrastructure capable of mobilizing the people toward a negotiated, comprehensive and permanent agreement between Israel and Palestine that ends the occupation, ensures security and peace for both sides, and solves all final-status issues in accordance with international law and previous bilateral agreements. The 1967 borders form the basis for the establishment of an independent, viable Palestinian state, with permanent borders and any modifications to be agreed upon by both parties. The Movement recognizes that violence by either side will never be a means to end the conflict.
SOURCE The OneVoice Movement