International Journal of Conflict Engagement and Resolution

Article

Tracing the Long-Term Impacts of a Generation of Israeli–Palestinian Youth Encounters

Keywords encounters, Israel-Palestine, impact, peace building, dialogue
Authors Karen Ross en Ned Lazarus
Author's information

250138 Karen Ross
Karen Ross is an Assistant Professor of Conflict Resolution at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, and a Senior Fellow at the UMASS Boston Center for Peace, Democracy and Development.

250140 Ned Lazarus
Ned Lazarus is a Research Fellow at the Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies at the University of Maryland and a Program Officer at the Israel Institute.
  • Abstract

      Since the 1980s, thousands of Israeli Jews, Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinians from the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) have participated in intergroup dialogues, often referred to as ‘encounter programmes’. In the same historical span, the Israeli–Palestinian conflict has proved thoroughly intractable. Given this political reality, what has been the impact of such initiatives, on direct participants and the conflict context? This article assesses the long-term impact by tracing the post-encounter peacebuilding activity and the evolving perspectives of former participants in three prominent encounter programmes – Seeds of Peace (SOP), Sadaka Reut (SR) and Peace Child Israel (PC) – over periods ranging from a few years to over two decades. Data is drawn from parallel studies conducted by each of the individual authors, encompassing research on 899 programme alumni. The article presents the results of complementary qualitative and quantitative analyses of the long-term peacebuilding engagement of graduates of these three programmes. The organizations profiled employ distinct methodologies, allowing for comparative analysis of interpersonal contact, social identity and critical theoretical approaches. The studies found 183 alumni – approximately one in five surveyed – active in peacebuilding and social change efforts as adults, often 10 or more years after initial participation in encounters. Crucially, long-term peacebuilding engagement was more common among alumni of programmes that explicitly address issues of intergroup conflict and social justice, as opposed to a ‘non-political’ cultural approach. Findings illustrate the potential of intergroup encounters to inspire sustained peacebuilding engagement at the individual level – even in a context of ongoing violent conflict – while highlighting dilemmas imposed by asymmetrical social contexts, and the limitations of micro-level strategies in effecting broader political change.

Please sign in to access the article



Did you receive an activation code but no access yet? Please activate your code here.

Forgot your password? Request new password.

Purchase access

You can purchase online access to this article. You will receive 24 hrs access @ € 17,50 (excl. VAT).

24 hrs access € 17,50 (excl. VAT)

Activate your code

If you have an access code, please activate it here.