Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Daily Pilot, October 20, 2008

UCI students report on Israel-Palestine conflict http://www.dailypilot.com/articles/2008/10/20/topstory/dpt-uci10212008.txt

UCI mentioned:

UC Irvine student leaders from Islamic, Jewish, Christian, Druze and unaffiliated religious backgrounds took a joint trip to Israel and Palestine this September, after 18 months of planning and $60,000 of fundraising.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Beyond Stereotypes


So by now you are all aware of my journey to Israel-Palestine. And many of you have asked me how it was. When asked this I don't know where to begin, so many amazing things happened there. And the question remains, after seeing all that I saw, experiencing all that I did, where do we go from here? Well, I just might finally have an answer to that question. Please join me and my fellow Muslim, Jewish, Druze, Christian and other students who embarked on this all important journey to recap where we have been and where we go from here.

Thursday, October 23, 2008
6:30pm - 8:30pm
UCI Student Center ~ Crystal Cove Auditorium
Pereira Dr & W Peltason Dr.
Irvine, CA
View Map

This event is free and open to anyone. So invite your friends (and foes). I know I have lots of events going on but if you attend just one, make this it. This is truly one event for the books and it would mean so much to me to have you there. Call me if you have any questions or issues getting there. The invitation is attached. Please feel free to pass this along, even if you aren't sure someone would come, you never know.. this is a conflict that touches us all.

Lots of Love,


"...Human conversation is the most ancient and easiest way to cultivate the conditions for change – personal change, community and organizational change, planetary change. If we can sit together and talk about what's important to us, we begin to come alive. We share what we see, what we feel, and we listen to what others see and feel.... I believe we can change the world if we start listening to one another again. Simple, honest, human conversation. Not meditation, negotiation, problem solving, debate, or public meetings. Simple, truthful conversation where we each have a chance to speak, we each feel heard, and we each listen well."
-Margaret Wheatley

Monday, October 6, 2008

A letter from a friend in Israel

My Dear Friends,

It was only a week and a half ago that we greeted you with Ahlan WaSahlan and Salam Aleikum, with everyone landing in this country with preconceived notions, fears, ideologies from which we have grown and been shaped. We are the product of our environments, and yet, somehow, because of who you are, you transcended your environment, and the people I have grown to love and know over these last few weeks are people I am proud to call my friends. From the cool breezes wandering the alleyways of Aida refugee camp to the heights of the Ariel settlement in Samaria, you have broken every stereotype, and crossed every line people vow not to cross because of ideology for the sake of education and the vision and hope for something better.
We cannot afford to hate. We cannot afford to become stuck in our ideologies. We must always transcend. We must cross borders both in reality and in our minds and hearts to find mercy and constructive humility. Mercy knows how to forgive, and humility reminds us we are no better than the man/woman standing next to us, and we are all on our own path trying desperately to do right. Bitterness blinds us to be able to see PEOPLE. Please, help people not to become bitter, bitterness chokes hope. When I see you all dancing without inhibition, when I see you, especially some of you that have suffered so deeply in your lives dance, laugh, throw your hands up in the air, I find such freedom. Freedom is a state of mind. It is a daily choice no matter what our circumstances. Freedom is hope. No matter how bleak, because hope sets all captives free.
I encourage all of you not to forget. Not to forget that this place is layered, complex and very real. I encourage you to help others you know that didn't get the chance to come to learn how to research and widen their perspectives. For every one thing they hear or read, to fact check with many sources, to always get another angle another perspective. Because without that, we are irresponsible. Most people are not able to make such dramatic paradigm shifts from so many miles away. You are now, life-long Ambassadors. You are now, in your community, your circle the voice for "the other". Whichever voice is the one not heard in your community.
Most of all, remember the PEOPLE you met. Every time you see the news, every time you hear the soundbite. Close your eyes and remember the PEOPLE. See Avihu the crazy, funny settler guy that made you laugh by sharing his transformation. Remember Usama from Bethlehem standing the balcony speaking about his hopes for his unborn child. Remember Yuval the young Israeli soldier on the beach with sand between his toes. Remember Nazeer from Aida quietly graceful during Iftar meal. Remember that the reason why conflict is so complex is because people are not simple. Emotions are not simple. And memories have a long shelf-life. We are all human after-all.
I hope and pray that whatever perspective you came with, you saw into the eyes of the other to understand and never take anything at face value.
I love each and every one of you. Truly. And you always have a friend and a place to turn to here. Whether to have a place to crash if you come back, or just to e-mail with millions of questions. Lets generate ideas and things we can do together to keep the momentum! I already have billions of ideas spilling over!!!!!!!!!!!!! I miss you guys so much, and am trying to get to Irvine soon to see all of your cute little faces!!!!!
And now as we end, I leave you with a Lehitrahot......a "see you soon" because since you had the courage to face reality in person, this place will always somehow be home for you, a part of you. And I know I will see many of you again soon. Lets become the answer through being the responsible voice.
All My Love and Respect,
Shannon M. Shibata
The Centre for New Diplomacy