LWI: Middle East Programmes

Palestinian-Israeli Emerging Leaders Program

LWI International Programmes

In 2008, in partnership with SFCG Jerusalem office and the Outward Bound Center for Peacebuilding, we launched a comprehensive leadership development and network building program for strategically positioned emerging Palestinian and Israeli leaders across key sectors.

In early 2009, we brought together the first cadre of leaders, six Palestinian and six Israeli young social entrepreneurs, for a nine-month pilot program. Through a wilderness expedition, two additional retreats, one-on-one coaching, and transformational skills training, participants developed a deep understanding of one another, bridging the divide through shared experiences.

Building on our experience of developing the first group, in 2010, we welcomed a new cadre of 12 emerging political leaders, who completed a similar progression of learning and bonding experiences. In Fall 2010, leaders from both groups convened in the first joint Connecting the Hub retreat, which established key connections between Israeli and Palestinian civil society and political sectors. In 2011, a cadre of 12 private sector leaders will enter the program.

Founded upon deep, personal connections initiated through outdoor wilderness expeditions and nurtured through retreats and ongoing meetings, this integrated network provides an opportunity for participants to contextualize and re-humanize the "other." Mistrust is a key psychological barrier that must be overcome for peace to occur, and this novel and challenging environment allows the leaders to build that necessary trust and empathy with the "other." The program's rigorous conflict resolution, leadership, and communication skills training further enables participants to more effectively create positive social change for the benefit of their communities and the region as a whole. The program calls upon the unique combination of SFCG's 19 years of experience in the Middle East, LWI's deep and practical approach to leadership development, and Outward Bound's 65+ years of expertise in adventure-based experiential learning.