UMass Amherst Sponsors Palestinian-Jewish Dialogue for Peace in Middle East on Dec. 3

AMHERST, Mass. - Najat Arafat Khelil and Reena Bernards, co-founders of the Palestinian and Jewish American Women''s Dialogue Project in Washington, D.C., will give a talk, "A Palestinian-Jewish Dialogue for Peace in the Middle East," on Wednesday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m. in Memorial Hall at the University of Massachusetts. The event is free, open to the public, and wheelchair accessible.

Founded in 1989, the dialogue project brings Palestinian women and American Jewish women together to build support for peace efforts in the Middle East and to discuss the many complex issues that divide the two communities. The group has organized national conferences and in 1993 sent a delegation to Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza to visit women''s centers and speak with political leaders and community groups. Speaking teams from the dialogue project talk to audiences in synagogues, churches, universities, and political gatherings in both the Jewish and Arab communities.

Reena Bernards lives in Washington, D.C., and is a trainer in conflict resolution, leadership and organizational development, and diversity. Najat Arafat Khelil, a native of Nablus who now lives in Potomac, Md., is also a trainer in leadership, organizational development, and conflict resolution.

The event, sponsored by the UMass Office of Jewish Affairs and the Everywoman''s Center, is part of a year-long series of dialogues on conflict arising from race, religion and ethnicity. The first was held Nov. 4 and was titled, "One By One: Descendants of the Third Reich and the Holocaust in Dialogue."