Peres Center for Peace
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the Israeli–Palestinian conflict
The Peres Center for Peace, located in Jaffa, Israel, is an independent non-profit, non-governmental, and non-political organization founded in 1996 by Nobel Peace Laureate and former President of Israel Shimon Peres. Its aim is to further Peres' vision of people in the Middle East working together to build peace through socio-economic cooperation and development and people-to-people interaction.
The Peres Center for Peace describes its mission as "promot[ing] lasting peace and advancement in the Middle East by fostering tolerance, economic and technological development, innovation, cooperation and well-being – all in the spirit of President Peres’ vision."
The peacebuilding activities of the Peres Center fall into the following fields: Agriculture and Water; Business and Economics; Civil Leadership; Community Programs in Jaffa; Culture, Media and Arts, Medicine and Healthcare; Social Media and Information Technology (IT) ; Sport.
Fields of activity
- Agriculture, water and the environment
- The Peres Center implements programs that facilitate cross-border research, capacity building and cooperation in order to enhance crop management practices, environmental protection, and water quality. Projects include cross-border pest management, aquaculture, crop production workshops, regional water research, joint olive oil production and more.
- Business and economics
- The Peres Center provides space for interaction between stakeholders on both sides through joint economic research (in partnership with the AIX Group), capacity-building workshops and professional networking to foster cross-border cooperation across a wide range of business fields including hi-tech, confectionery, food, textile and shoe-making and more.
Projects include private sector partnerships, regional economic research, cross-border tourism projects, technology projects, and the creation of a Palestinian business directory.
- Civil leadership
- The Peres Center designs and implements programs that engage Israeli and Palestinian civil society and community leaders, creating a strong cross-border network while providing enrichment and professional training. Programs generate dialogue channels between Palestinians and Israelis and between Jews and Arabs within Israel across professional fields.
Projects include international youth exchanges, a leadership program for young politicians and forums for public debate.
- Culture, media and the arts
- The Peres Center delivers theater, photography and arts programs that bring together Palestinian, Israeli, Jewish and Arab adults, youth and children.
Projects include a cross-border photojournalist program, an arts program for children, and a play that expounds messages of coexistence in schools.
- Medicine and healthcare
- In cooperation with the Israeli medical community, the Peres Center assists in the creation of an independent Palestinian medical system through human resource development, advancement of complex medical services and cross-border cooperation and knowledge transfer, as well as providing humanitarian medical aid to Palestinian babies and children.
Projects include a program that allows for the treatment of Palestinian babies in Israeli hospitals and a program for training Palestinian doctors.
- Social media and technology
- The Peres Center designs programs that enable the people of the Middle East, particularly young people, to engage in virtual dialogue with each other.
Projects include a popular Facebook group, dialogue curricula for school groups through computer centers and a diplomacy-based game.
- The Twinned Peace Sports Schools bring together Israeli, Palestinian, Jewish and Arab boys and girls to play together through sports. These include football, basketball, wheelchair basketball, cricket, table tennis and Australian football.
- United Nations Gold Award (Blood Relations Campaign)
- 2010 Wingate Award for Best NGO in the Field of Peace and Sport
- Ashoka Entrepreneurship Award
- 2010 Peace and Sports Award (Monaco) for Best NGO
- 2010 Global Sports Forum Barcelona award for Best Project
Peres Peace House
The Peres Peace House also contains the Shimon Peres Archives, an auditorium and conference rooms, and a conflict resolution library. Many of the Peres Center's activities, including public lectures and coexistence activities, take place within the Peres Peace House, as well as activities for the empowerment and development of the local Jaffa communities. These include legal aid services, community empowerment programs and a mentoring program for underprivileged children.
The cost of the Center was estimated at $6 million and timeline of three years. According to Haaretz, as of August 2009, the cost and building time of the Peace House have been highly underestimated. The Center was opened in December 2009. The building (2,500 sq m), a distinctive architectural landmark on the Jaffa coast next to the poor Arab neighborhood of Ajami, was designed by renowned Italian architect Massimiliano Fuksas.
Through the years the building was open to the use of the local Arab community and the Center promoted projects to empower local groups and individuals. The first event held at the building was a graduation ceremony of 21 women, mostly Arab who graduated from a Women's Economic Empowerment Program and received their computer technician certificates.
Over the years the center has won both negative and positive critiques. Author Witt Raczka questioned the efficacy of the organization, while Israeli peace activist Jonathan Kis-Lev praised the Peres Center for Peace in his book "My Quest For Peace".
The Director General of the Center is Efrat Duvdevani, formerly Director General of the President's House during Peres' Presidency. Her predecessor was Ido Sharir, formerly Chief of Staff to President Peres. Before Mr. Sharir, Ron Pundak served as Director General for over 10 years. The men and women who comprise the executive board are CEOs, Directors, and Presidents of various organizations, as well as scholars, academics, and journalists. The first Director General of the Peres Center was Ambassador Uri Savir, who, together with Shimon Peres, established the organization and currently serves as Honorary President.
In 2011, the Israel Tax Authority denied the Peres Center's request for tax-exempt status in Israel demanding that the organization stop funding the training of physicians from the Gaza Strip in Israeli hospitals. The demand led the organization to suspend its application for tax-exemption rather than stop the training project. In 2016, the Peres Center received tax-exempt status in Israel.
- Arab–Israeli peace-orientated projects
- Neve Shalom – Wāħat as-Salām
- Alliance for Middle East Peace
- Peace One Day
- Shimon Peres
- Valley of Peace initiative
- Architecture of Israel
- "The Peres Center for Peace - Who We Are". Retrieved 15 October 2012.
- "The Peres Center for Peace - Our Mission". Retrieved 15 October 2012.
- "The Peres Center for Peace - Agriculture, Water and Environment". Archived from the original on 12 August 2012. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
- "The Peres Center for Peace - Business and Economics". Retrieved 15 October 2012.
- "The Peres Center for Peace - Civil Leadership". Retrieved 17 October 2012.
- "The Peres Center for Peace - Culture, Media and Arts". Archived from the original on 2012-09-20.
- "Frames of Reality Exhibition Review". Retrieved 17 April 2013.
- "הריאליטי המציאותי בבית פרס לשלום". Archived from the original on 12 October 2013. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
- "The Peres Center for Peace - Medicine and Healthcare". Retrieved 17 October 2012.
- "The Peres Center for Peace - Social Media and Technology". Archived from the original on 20 September 2012. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
- "The Peres Center for Peace - Sport". Archived from the original on 12 August 2012. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
- "British MPs arrive for first cricket tour of Israel". Haaretz. 11 October 2012. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
- "Blood Relations Campaign Wins United Nations Gold Award". Saatchi & Saatchi. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- "מרכז פרס לשלום זכה באות ויינגייט לשנת 2010". one.co.il. 27 May 2010. Archived from the original on 3 February 2014. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
- "The best initiatives for peace through sport rewarded at the Peace and Sport Awards" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 January 2016. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
- "Winners of global sports forum awards". www.sportbusiness.com. 11/03/2010. Archived from the original on August 20, 2012. Retrieved 17 October 2012. Check date values in:
- "Foto Friday – Frames of Reality". 21c Israelity Blog. 15 March 2013. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
- Uri Blau (20 August 2009). "Peace Building". Haaretz. Retrieved 24 August 2009.
- Ron Friedman (18 December 2009). "Peres Center arrives alongside Ajami". The Jerusalem Post.
- Witt Raczka (2015). Unholy Land: In Search of Hope in Israel/Palestine. Hamilton Books.
- Kis-Lev, Jonathan (2015). My Quest For Peace: One Israeli's Journey From Hatred To Peacemaking. Goldsmith Press.
- e-architect (2010). "Architecture Awards, Israel, 2010 : Buildings + Architects".
- "The Peres Center for Peace - Staff". Retrieved 15 October 2012.
- "The Peres Center for Peace - Board of Directors & Honorary President". Retrieved 15 October 2012.
- "Peres Center for Peace - Training Doctors".
- Jonathan Lis (9 December 2011). "Peres Center told: Choose between Gaza health project and tax break". Haaretz. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
- "International Friends Association". Retrieved 19 October 2012.
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