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Introducing the Givat Haviva International School!

Announcing the launch of The Givat Haviva International School (GHIS)
A Two-year Program in Israel leading to an International Baccalaureate Diploma
Beginning in fall of 2018, Givat Haviva will enroll an inaugural class of fifty students, twenty-five international, and twenty-five Arab and Jewish Israeli students between the ages of 15 and 18. The main language of the school is English, and the school has International Baccalaureate status.

We cordially invite you and your family to consider this exceptional opportunity to pursue academic studies in Israel while developing leadership skills for creating positive change in the Middle East and internationally.

We also invite you to help in spreading the word about the application process. Can you think of families who would be interested in sending their children to study at GHIS? Are you connected to any organizations who work with youth and can help us spread the news about the new school?

The idea is to build a community of new global leaders using the experience that we have gained at Givat Haviva over close to seventy years. Students need to be young people who want to be in an English-speaking international environment; who want to 'change the world'; who can be leaders of tomorrow; and who seek an excellent academic program. The more diverse, the better.

GHIS is a two-year boarding school for Israeli and international students aged 15 to 18, who will live and learn together at Givat Haviva.

Vision : To develop a vibrant and diverse community of learners who strive to achieve positive social impact and change towards a just and shared society and a peaceful world.

Mission : GHIS seeks to develop a network of committed young leaders to work together towards a shared, sustainable and inclusive society in the Middle East and globally.

Why Now – what’s the problem?

GHIS is tackling the most pressing challenge of our time - social polarization - focusing on cooperation rather than confrontation, shared societies before nationalization. At a time when global leaders are on paths of isolationism and separation, we need global leaders orientated towards collaboration and shared solutions.

A Solution?

Against this background, Givat Haviva has for decades been quietly and successfully weaving a fabric of shared society from the ground up. GHIS will prioritize specialist training in Leadership and Conflict Resolution using the recognized capabilities of Givat Haviva, winner of the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education. A broad education delivered by the International Baccalaureate (IB) will result in an international high school whose alumni have skills to facilitate real change in their home communities. We aim for 50% be Arabs and Jews from Israel and the Palestinian Authority and 50% international, including student pairs from different sides of conflict regions.

The Uniqueness of GHIS

GHIS is in Israel, one of the most exciting countries and spiritual center of Christianity, Islam and Judaism. It is both a setting for the Bible and a modern ‘start-up’ nation. Based at Givat Haviva, a rural, green campus located in one of the most diverse region of Israel, GHIS students will benefit from decades of intercultural understanding, and will become alumni of a 70-year-old center of peace with a network of international connections.

The core curriculum will be delivered by the internationally recognized IB program offering a broad and complete education. Leadership, Conflict Resolution and Social Entrepreneurship will be central as well as a respect for the Arts and training in humanitarian relief. Students will live and learn together, planning social activities with peers from as many as 30 countries. They will have the experience of becoming a member of a ‘host’ family for a two-year period. GHIS is a school which puts values before profit, whose primary motivation is to equip an international class of potential leaders with the requisite skills to make a positive impact on this new and dangerous geo-political reality of 2018.

What will emerge?  
Alumni of effective leaders able to address the underlying causes of social division at its root. They will be a diverse group, broadly educated and skilled in leadership and conflict resolution techniques for their academic, communal and professional lives post-GHIS.

We invite you to become part of this exciting journey.

Breaking New Ground, The Roadmap for a Shared Society

Over the past two years, Givat Haviva has worked with the Israeli government, civil society organizations, the media the academic community and hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens to create Israel’s first-ever "Strategic Master Plan" on shared society: The Roadmap for a Shared Society. The Roadmap represents a “people’s statement” on how to address the country’s most pressing issues: the reconciliation of divided Jewish and Arab societies, and the social/economic empowerment of Arab citizens.

70 Arab and Jewish authorities cooperated on the generation of key recommendations in the areas of education, economic development, government and governance, land use, cultural representation and restorative processes.

The recommendations were reviewed by over 160,000 Israeli citizens, and 60 concrete proposals were presented to Israel’s Knesset this past December in a conference sponsored by the Knesset Coalition for Shared Living.

This event signals Givat Haviva’s emergence as Israel’s pre-eminent thought leader on shared society. The Roadmap offers Americans an invaluable view into what shared society looks like to the Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel. We will soon announce the availability of an English translation of the Roadmap document as presented in the Knesset.

So what’s next? A consortium of NGOs are now working together to begin to chart the course for implementation of these ambitious proposals. Givat Haviva Educational Foundation is currently organizing live educational events throughout the US featuring key Israeli organizers of the Roadmap process who will share about what has already happened – and where these efforts are heading.

Earlier this month, Mohammad Darawshe, Director of Givat Haviva’s Center for Equality and Shared Society, discussed the Roadmap at the home of board member Claude Ghez in New York City.

"Instead of assuming the continuation of the problematic and discriminatory “status quo” between us and Arabs, it is possible and feasible to propose new directions, allowing the Arab society in Israel full partnership in the decision-making process, and full political and professional representation, to the benefit of the whole of Israeli populace...

"...The Roadmap is shelf-ready for government officials in all the relevant ministries and offices. Violent protesters in Wadi Ara are a small and dangerous minority. The vast majority of Arab society needs a different and honest conversation, not racist generalizations to escalate alienation and incite the region."

Celebrating the Successes of our Fifth Annual Shared Society Conference

Givat Haviva's fifth Annual Shared Society Conference on March 30th, 2017 was a highly informative, inspiring and memorable day on our beautiful campus. The day was packed full of rousing speeches, exciting cultural performances, thought-provoking panels, and the opportunity to meet and connect with amazing people from all over the world who are working for an equal and shared society in Israel.

The focus of this year's Conference was to present our Roadmap for a Shared Society, a project made possible by the European Union with the goal of engaging 70 Jewish and Arab experts representing a broad spectrum of Israeli society to create a practical policy paper for the promotion of a shared society in Israel. The Conference served as a platform for the presentation of over 100 Recommendations in five distinct fields: Governance, Culture, Education, Economic Development and Land Use.

We also opened up the next phase of the program during the Conference - public engagement. This process involves a series of public town hall meetings, online engagement through Ynet, Israel's largest and most popular news and content website, and Bokra, Israel's leading Arabic online news source. The purpose of this outreach is to not only raise awareness of the recommendations and increase public support, but also to generate public feedback which will help formulate priorities within the recommendations.

Principals' Conference

On Nov 9, 2017, the first Regional Principals' Conference was held at Givat Haviva. The conference was the first of its kind in Israel, attended by 53 principals of Jewish and Arab schools from our region, all the directors of the education bureaus in the region, mayors, the Director of the Department for Civic Education and Coexistence at the Ministry of Education, Ms. Dana Friedman, the Arab Superintendent at the Ministry of Education in the Haifa District and others.

At the conference, Givat Haviva’s Education Department unveiled the regional educational strategy that has been operating successfully for four years, from elementary school to high school. In addition, the Department of Education presented the educational content developed in the areas of regional geography and civics. The feedback we received from the principals following the conference was very positive, and many of them who did not take part in our work in the past expressed an interest in integrating it into the next school year.

התמונה של ‏‎Yaniv Sagee‎‏.

Through Others' Eyes 2017

The Through Others’ Eyes program culminated their yearlong photography and encounter work with a three-week visit to the United States. The first two weeks the group stayed at Camp Shomria in New York, run by Hashomer Hatzair. At the camp, the youth engaged in self and group exploration through photography and camp activities, and interacted with the American Jewish campers, which widened their conception of group and community. Being away from Israel and the influence of media and their families, combined with living together had a profound impact on the Israelis. As they were in a setting that is foreign to all, they focused on their similarities rather than differences, became freer to discuss difficult political issues, and increased their cohesiveness as a group.  American Jewish campers also had the chance to become friends with Arab and Jewish Israelis and learn about the situation in Israel firsthand rather than from the news or preconceived notions.

The group also traveled to New York City to exhibit their work and share their experience in the program and message for peace and shared society in Israel. This year Through Others Eyes’ was featured in a major exhibition event at the Puffin Foundation’s Cultural Forum on Sunday, July 30th. The event included speeches by three of the youth and their Program Director – Samer Atamni. This year’s event was a major success, bringing together both new and old supporters of the program. This year was also the first time some of the photographs were sold to event attendees!

Following their exhibition, the group spent three days in New York City, participating in a number of famous tourist activities – sunset walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, dinner at Shake Shack, a visit to Coney Island and much more. Additionally the group visited the Islamic Cultural Center of New York and listened to a lecture from the Palestinian Imam about the realities of Jewish-Muslim relations in NYC. We were also lucky enough this year to have a private tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art with the theme, “Exploring Art through Cultures.” 

This year was the first year of a new tradition, bringing Through Others’ Eyes to Houston, Texas! One of our board members is a Houstonian and worked for months to raise the money to bring a small group of the youth and their program director to Houston for two photography exhibition events at Congregation Emanu El and Temple Sinai, and a youth exchange with the Houston Center for Photography’s Collaborations program. We had a wonderful time connecting with the community and forming new friendships in Texas!

Overall it was a wonderful conclusion to a year of hard work, challenges met, and new lifelong bonds formed. Upon departing the United States, the youth pledged to make their final exhibition in Israel not an end to the program –  but the beginning of their new status as Ambassadors for Peace, working together and staying connected to share the values they gained and put to use over the year and during the summer in the United States.