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First Advanced Alumni Seminar!

Posted on 10th November 2011


For four days in July, Artsbridge undertook the first annual Advanced Alumni Seminar in kibbutz Nes Ammim in northern Israel. Artsbridge alumni from all three years (2008-2010) participated in the program. The students engaged in daily dialogues and workshops on a variety of topics and interacted with our distinguished guest speakers. Among the guest speakers was Oshrat, an actress from a playback theater company that incorporates both Israeli and Palestinian voices and players into live performances. This powerful form of interpretive and improvisational art allowed students to witness their own stories and emotions being acted out by their Artsbridge peers. In addition, we invited Amal Abu-Sif, the Associate Director of Academic Affairs and instructor of Arabic at KIVUNIM, to speak about her experience as an Arab woman living in Israel, as well as her work with Jewish-American students in the KIVUNIM program. Amal often speaks to tourists and students in Israel about her life as an Arab woman living in Israel. Students then had dialogue sessions around the topic of the guest speakers. Since the students were already familiar and comfortable with the Artsbridge model of dialogue, our alumni were able to engage in deeper conversation regarding the themes and concerns brought up in the workshops as well as several other topics. One of the more lively conversations during the seminar revolved around the role of gender in Israeli and Palestinian society and it's role in the conflict as a whole.


Students overwhelmingly enjoyed the seminar and expressed a great desire to engage in future advanced workshops. Further, this seminar gave students the opportunity to make new connections and build relationships with participants from other years. In addition to strengthening the Artsbridge alumni base, we can now see how this growing network is beginning to live up to our hope that youth from all sides of the conflict can continue to engage in positive and productive conversations with one another. One of the most inspiring points during the seminar was when some of the older alumni embraced the opportunity to lead the small group discussions after the inclusive dialogue, demonstrating that the Artsbridge model provides the confidence and skills necessary for these young adults to engage in difficult dialogues and constructive conversations, as well as to be leaders amongst their peers and in their communities.


We hope to provide the alumni with many more opportunities to reconnect, to build networks and to strengthen relationships, while continuing to engage in discussion and spend time together in future alumni seminars and workshops!

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