During the Global Citizenship Conference 2013 of the Melton Foundation, that took place in Bangalore, India, some of the Foundation fellows were introduced to the professors from the Arava Institute of Environmental Studies. Interacting with them, inspired the creation of Project Narratives.
The Arava Institute is a leading environmental studies and research program in the Middle East, located in the Kibbutz Ketura in Southern Israel. The Institute’s mission is to advance cross-border environmental cooperation in the face of political conflict among students from Jordan, Palestine, Israel, and abroad. This cooperation follows the belief of “Nature knows no borders”. While the Arava Institute offers students an exceptional opportunity to learn from leading professionals, the students are able to form friendships and develop skills that enable them to lead the region and the world in solving today’s most pressing environmental challenges. In line with the Arava Institute’s mission to generate capacity-building for conciliation and cooperation, all students and interns participate in a weekly Peace-building Leadership Seminar. Students engage in dialogue exploring issues of culture, religion, identity, coexistence, and the current political situation, while developing competencies in intercultural understanding and empathy.
Project Narratives collaborated with The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies for developing the first documentary portraying people from Israel and Palestine telling their stories of how daily life is affected by the conflict. They were pivotal to connecting with potential interviewees for the film. We thank all the students and alumni from Arava who shared their personal stories or who supported the project in any other way. Our special thanks also to Abby Lutman from Arava: her dedication to support the Narratives team made the project move forward in huge steps.