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Building Peace
Through
Sharing Stories

JERUSALEM STORIES
Building Peace Through Sharing Stories

Carol Grosman, Director

www.jerusalemstories.org; cgrosman@actcom.co.il
972-2-563-0134 / 972-54-7472-564

An Innovative New Tool for Conflict Transformation

An Innovative New Tool for Conflict Transformation In recent years in both the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the broader conflict between parts of the Arab and Western worlds, fear and mistrust have gained more ground than hope and understanding. Aiming to turn this tide, Jerusalem Stories harnesses the power of personal stories and portrait photographs to promote empathy between people, a critical component of sustainable peace. Jerusalem Stories enables people to develop a human perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It does this by presenting the deeply moving experiences of a broad variety of Jerusalem residents whose rich lives have been profoundly affected by years of violent conflict. In these stories and photographs it is possible to see oneself and the “other.”

Our vision is to provide the following program components throughout Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and the United States:

  • A series of interactive educational programs.
  • A book of personal stories and photographs to be sold commercially and donated to select community organizations in North America, Europe and the Middle East.
  • A storytelling performance creatively presenting both the unique and universal elements of these stories.
  • A story-based dialogue workshop teaching the skills of constructing and sharing personal narratives.
  • A photography exhibit with accompanying written narratives.
  • A newspaper series in Israeli and Palestinian local newspapers
  • The development of peace building tools, sharing the Jerusalem Stories methodology and lessons learned with the wider conflict resolution community through publications and presentations
  • A website combining photographs, stories, information about the project and links to relevant programs.

Since November 2002, Carol Grosman, a writer, storyteller and conflict resolution practitioner, and photographer Lloyd Wolf, have interviewed and photographed a wide range of Jerusalemites focusing on their experiences living in Jerusalem during the recent years of conflict and the connection they feel for this extraordinary city. The project is now seeking partners to support the completion of the interviews and photographs and to assist in the creation of the project components listed above.

Jerusalem Stories: A Potent Tool

Photographs and stories have the ability to move people deeply, making them transformative tools for social change. Personal stories enable readers and audiences to step into the shoes of the “other,” imagining their world. Portrait photographs make these people real, showing their undeniable humanity. Together, these mediums open audiences to new perspectives in a way that intellectual discourse does not.

“Jerusalem Stories” humanizes the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by shining a spotlight on the daily struggles and triumphs of ordinary people rather than the political leaders and violence in the headlines. By sharing what the city means to her residents, “Jerusalem Stories” vividly demonstrates how people from so many backgrounds can have authentic ties to this extraordinary place.

Sharing Jerusalem Stories in the Middle East and Abroad

We intend to use “Jerusalem Stories” in a broad range of Israeli, Palestinian and American organizations and communities including: peace and conflict resolution projects, schools, religious communities, interfaith initiatives and organizations promoting arts and culture. We have already received strong interest from important potential partners and in the coming months, we will continue to develop many more of these relationships, broadening our range of potential implementation.

Some ways in which we may use this material include:

  • Within peace education programs in Israeli and Palestinian schools.
  • As a tool in Arab-American - Jewish-American relationship building initiatives.
  • To promote dialogue between Christians, Jews and Muslims internationally.
  • In partnership with conflict resolution graduate studies institutions, developing, teaching and disseminating a methodology of narrative peace building to be used internationally.

“Jerusalem Stories”: Years of Experience in the Making

This initiative is a unique collaboration between an academic, a storyteller / conflict resolution practitioner, a senior management professional and an acclaimed photographer. Together, we draw on extensive networks of relations in Middle East diplomacy, conflict resolution, civil society, academia and the arts.

  • Carol Grosman (Author and Director) is a writer, storyteller and conflict resolution practitioner. She has written and performed stories for peace initiatives, religious communities, cultural venues and schools in the US and Israel. Her conflict resolution work has focused on the Middle East, the Balkans, US inner cities and Christian Jewish relations.

  • Dr. Jessica Senehi (Evaluator) is one of the leading scholars exploring the new field of storytelling and peace building. She is the Associate Director of the Arthur V. Mauro Center for Peace and Justice at the University of Manitoba.

  • Richard Eisendorf (Senior Director) is a Senior Program Manager of Freedom House. He brings 15 years of hands-on peace building experience in the Middle East.

  • Lloyd Wolf (Photographer) is an award-winning photographer.

Funding

Past and present donors include: Dorot Foundation, United States Institute of Peace, Palestine Investment Fund, Alan B. Slifka Family Foundation, NY Jewish Communal Fund and private individuals. We are seeking your partnership in this important effort to build the atmosphere of empathy and understanding needed to establish lasting peace.

© 2004 Jerusalem Stories Project   |   email us at info@jerusalemstories.org