What if Benjamin Netanyahu, Mahmoud Abbas and Barrack Obama had the opportunity to meet in their youth?
What if over the course of their adolescent years these world leaders got to know each other on a personal level?
What if they spent significant amounts of time together playing games, sharing conversations over meals, and learning about each others’ perspectives on family, faith and the problems in the world?
Would there be peace in the Holy Land today if these influential men were given the chance to be friends when they were young?
There is an amazing organization that is giving these opportunities to the leaders of tomorrow. Kids4Peace is an empowering youth movement that seeks to create change. Since 2002, the organization has been providing opportunities for Israeli, Palestinian, and North American kids to connect in deep and meaningful ways. The purpose of this interfaith organization is to “end conflict and inspire hope in Jerusalem and other divided cities around the world.”
Kids4Peace is currently operating in Jerusalem and ten North American cities. Students begin in 6th grade and continue on for six more years. They also have the opportunity to attend international summer camps in the USA and Jerusalem. The significant time commitment of Kids4Peace fosters long-term relationships among participants.
Through a variety of activities kids develop a greater understanding and respect for those that come from different cultural, religious, and political backgrounds than their own. Games and projects are used to promote friendship in the beginning. As time goes on, trust is developed, and the conversations go much deeper. Topics include war, prejudices, racism, religion, and hopes for peace in the future. These important dialogues allow the kids to view the world through another lens.
In the midst of conflict, hope for peace is still alive. That hope is coming from children who are empowered through their experiences in this innovative program.
“Kids4Peace broke the wall of hate in my heart.”
“When you understand and respect my religion, you understand and respect the deepest part of me.”
“The young nervous girl I was at 11 has become a person who is much more aware and outspoken about injustices brought about by uninformed and misinformed prejudices.”
“We are kids, but we can send the message of peace to other kids, and in the end we will find peace. Peace begins with children and fills the whole earth.”
Your word promises a coming day when peace will reign throughout the world.
“The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child shall lead them.” (Isaiah 11:6)
We know the child You spoke of is Jesus. But we ask, through the power of Your Holy Spirit, You might allow today’s children to lead us as well. Thank you for those who are training our future leaders to think differently. Help these children speak out for justice and act in love. We pray You will abundantly bless all efforts to build the bridges of peace and reconciliation and bring change to our hurting world.
In the name of Jesus – Prince of Peace,