Bilingualism for Peace

Language is the key to understanding one another, right? Put another way by the writer Margaret Atwood, “War is what happens when language fails.”

Hand in Hand Center for Jewish-Arab Education

Called the “Hand in Hand Center for Jewish-Arab Education,” the Israel-based organization is a network of five schools (a sixth school was burned to the ground by arsonists) where classes are taught in both Hebrew and Arabic. The Hand in Hand goal is to create 15 more schools over the next ten years.

Why are they so excited? Because they see education as a game-changer like no other solution yet advanced. One Palestinian parent living in Israel and serving on the Hand in Hand schools team explained, “The kids get to interact with each other on the human ground. They get to know each other first on a personal level. They get to know that they have so many common things.” (http://www.mystatesman.com/news/news/israel-based-educators-study-austin-schools-for-pe/nnwpN/)

A recent newspaper article about Hand in Hand’s reaction to the recent escalation in Arab-Jewish violence says that students are apprehensive about the dangers they face in simply traveling to and from school. But the article reports, these Jewish and Arab children are brave and determined “to not be satisfied by the daily act of arriving to school as a response to this period of violence, but to go out from its protective walls to initiate social and civic engagement in an attempt to end the violence.”

Read more about the bravery and commitment of the students; and follow Hand and Hand as they grow: www.handinhandk12.org

Do you know of other organizations using bilingualism to bring people together? Share here!

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