Building Bridges: Discussing the Realities of an Israeli-Palestinian Peace
By Andrew Mayo and Martin Stanberry
Hosting a conference on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict was hugely important for Southwestern University and the student body in particular. Raising campus awareness of the complexities of the conflict and the prospects for peace was of critical importance for gauging our success. With funding from the King Creativity Fund we were able to bring Ibtisam Barakat, author of Tasting the Sky, to provide an informed opinion regarding the realities of peace for this volatile conflict. We received positive responses from both the faculty and students who attended her lectures. Many in attendance were shocked to realize how little they actually knew about the realities of the conflict. As far as tangible measures of success goes, we sold 50 copies of Ibtisam’s book at the event, indicating student interest in learning beyond the lectures provided. We have also received emails from students asking for ways to get in touch with the speakers so they may continue their dialogue and exploration of the issue. Both Ibtisam’s book reading and lecture were recorded by members of the audio/visual department at the A. Frank Smith Library. These records will serve as an important resource for future members of the Southwestern community.
There were also benefits stemming from the conference which went beyond raising awareness. Many students and professors alike were impressed by the fact that the initiative for the event originated with two students, something which seems all too uncommon at Southwestern. If we wish to promote greater activism from our students then we must set an example. I believe this conference acted as such an example and reminded students that there are resources and faculty ready to help make their ideas a reality. We certainly couldn’t have accomplished our dream without the help of the King Creativity Fund and are grateful for the opportunities they have provided us.