Students From the Middle East to Discuss Arab-Israeli Conflict and the Peace Process at UMass Amherst

AMHERST, Mass. - Four students from the Middle East – a Palestinian, an Israeli, a Jordanian, and an Egyptian – will talk about their experience living and working together for a month at a summer peace camp in Maine and how that has affected their views of the Arab-Israeli conflict, Thurs., March 5, at 7 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom at the University of Massachusetts. The event is free and open to the public and is wheelchair accessible.

The forum, titled, "Transforming Hatred: Sowing the Seeds of Peace in the Middle East," is sponsored by the UMass Office of Jewish Affairs and features students who have participated in the Seeds of Peace program, which has graduated more than 600 Israeli and Arab teen-agers since its founding in 1993.

It will be the only U.S. public appearance for the four students – Amgad Naguib, 19, of Cairo, Egypt; Shouq Tarawneh, 17, of Amman, Jordan; Shani Raz-Silbiger, 14, of Jerusalem; and Abdasalam AlKhayyat, 16, of Nablus, on the West Bank. They will discuss what they learned while living together, and their peace-making work when they returned home, efforts for which they have sometimes been denounced as traitors.

Larry Goldbaum, director of the Office of Jewish Affairs, says this group of courageous young people can help bring a fresh perspective to the Middle East peace process. "We need to hear from these young people who have found their way beyond the hatred and mistrust that is all around them," Goldbaum says. "Ultimately it will be their generation that will make a lasting peace – if there ever is to be peace in the Middle East."

For more information call 413/545-9642.