An Internship with the Peres Center for Peace


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An outline of the roles and tasks I carried out as a project manager intern with Israel's leading peacebuidling NGO, the Peres Center for Peace (2011-2012)

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  • Lived in Israel  No need to describe country to you and difficulties of living in country  Just focus on Center and its Project Why Peres Center: Deals with a very interesting conflict Economic Programmes & Research Work Gives me a chance to learn more about Israel Overall positive experience. Using hindsight to take a more critical look at their work and efficacy.
  • It’s founding date is Important – a relic from a lost era?? Why have I never heard of the Peres Center’s Work? Change in main working partners Main Goals = Buzz Words Location in Jaffa – Was it meant to located somewhere else? Tulkarem in partnership with Arafat…! Does it fit into neighbourhood?
  • The other side of the coin – healthy scepticism Don’t agree – but can see where they are coming from “OMG. Don’t go there. All they do is organise football games” Will return to these points of criticism
  • Small Departments (2-3 person max)  limited number and size of projects. Projects done in Partnership with other NGOs Tradition of having interns (good or bad?) Lots of children and educational events at Center Outside event to bring in extra funding
  • Mention something about Yoav for the 4 th Picture. As a ‘place of call’ for people interested in the Economic side of the conflict
  • Lack of Exposure – Why?
  • Explains how the following slides’ layout will be Description of Project Main Aims My Involvement Warning Statement
  • Discuss Palestinian Refugee Article  Difficulty of working with Palestinian partners?
  • Main Development Style Projects Importance of PalTrade Necessary to have a partner for logistices Donors demand it Big enough to deal with any political pressure
  • First Meeting with EU Confidence in attending meetings
  • Anti-Israeli Sentiment in the Region: Hamas and Gaza Jordan Case Study Anti-Normalization Movement: Protests at Ambassador Hotel in East Jerusalem Experience in Ramallah while making video Anti-NGO Legislation = Center suspends its application for tax exemptions rather than comply with the conditions, which it received in writing about 18 months ago (Haaretz) Facts on the Ground = Permits
  • An Internship with the Peres Center for Peace

    1. 1. The Peres Center For Peace An Internship in the Business and Economics Department September – December, 2012 “People build peace, not just governments”
    2. 2. History of the Peres Center• Founded in 1996 by Shimon Peres • Established at the height of the Israeli-Palestinian peace optimism • To pursue his vision of a ‘New Middle East’ • Has it’s mission statement evolved in light of fluctuating peace context? (Goal Displacement)• “Israel’s leading non-profit org. promoting peace-building Israel and its Arab neighbours”• Peace-building with whom? • Regional Neighbours (i.e. Egypt and Jordan) • Palestinians • Arab-Israelis• Main Goals of Projects: • Socio-economic cooperation • People-to-people interaction • Empower people to engage actively in peace-building• Location in Jaffa
    3. 3. Peres Center: Building Peaceor maintaining Status Quo? There is no evident effort being made to change the political and socioeconomic status quo in the occupied territories, but just the opposite: Efforts are being made to train the Palestinian population to accept its inferiority… With patronizing colonialism, the center presents an olive grower who is discovering the advantages of cooperative marketing; a […] and of course soccer competitions and joint orchestras of Israelis and Palestinians, which paint a false picture of coexistence.There is no chance that the activists and administrators of the peace center will participate in the daily struggle of the Palestinian olive pickers; in the frustrating efforts to transport critically ill people via the checkpoints; or to breach the economic siege and sea blockade of Gaza. The Peres Center for Peace […] does not warn about Israels responsibility for this situation; after all, it is not a club of Israel-hating anarchists but one of respectable people, who mostly contribute to peace in the generous funding of glittering events and participation in them… Meron Benvenisti, “A monument to a lost time and lost hopes”, Haaretz, 30/10/2008
    4. 4. Organisational StructureDepartments• Agriculture, Water and Environment• Business and Economics Business and Environment• Civil Leadership• Culture, Media and Arts• Health (“Medicine in the Service of Peace”)• Sport• Youth Dialogue through Technology• Community Programmes in Jaffa Director of Peres Center Department Director Department Director: Department Director Project Manager Project Manager Project Manager Intern Intern
    5. 5. Business and Economics DepartmentBusiness-to-Business & Market Entry Capacity Building Economic Research
    6. 6. Coordinator and Publisherof Research Work The Peace Process: Seventeen Plans in Ten Years Gaza Strip Crossings: Israeli Policies in a Broader Perspective
    7. 7. Recent and Ongoing Projects• Aix Group Research – The September Process from a Regional-Economic Perspective – The Arab Peace Initiative and Israeli-Palestinian Peace: The Political Economy of a New Era• Capacity Building and Market Entry Events – Private Sector Partnership – Partners in Business, Partners in Peace• Urban Development – Barta’a: A unique urban planning rehabilitation project• Business Coaching – Training of Trainers: A Business Course for Entrepreneurs• Tourism – One Holy Land, Two Peoples: Tourism without Borders• Business Directory – 2012 Palestinian Business Directory
    8. 8. Aix Group An Israeli-Palestinian-international economic study team. Aims: • Inform policy makers of the economic costs of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict •Provide policy makers with economic solutions towards a two-state solution. •Detail how both sides stand to benefit by improving economic cooperation. My Involvement: • Steering Committee Meetings in Ramallah and E Jerusalem • Wikipedia entry • New Website • Cataloguing Aix Group’s mentions in the media
    9. 9. The September Process from a Regional-Economic Perspective Main Points: • UN Move: An opportunity to break the deadlock • Three Scenarios: 1. Possibility for economic development 2. Unsustainability of the Status Quo 3. Worst-Case Scenario My Involvement: • Editing of paper • Attending presentation of findings to the World Bank • Drafting possible op-ed articles
    10. 10. New Aix Group Publication: The Arab PeaceInitiative and Israeli-Palestinian Peace Main Points: • Envisioning a ‘New Middle East’, post-conflict • Four Research Areas 1. Regional Trade 2. Investment and Labour Institutions 3. Cooperation in Transportation, Environment and Energy Infrastructure 4. Palestinian Refugees My Involvement: •Designing evaluation form post- •Translating ‘Foreword’ conference •Attending Steering Committee meetings • Rewriting Palestinian Refugee article in East Jerusalem and Ramallah (taking minutes) • Summarising conference discussion
    11. 11. Capacity Building andBusiness-to-Business (B2B) Projects Private Sector Partnership Partners in Business, Partners in Promoting Palestinian-Israeli Peace Economic Cooperation Increasing Capacities for Israeli- Palestinian Business CooperationFunders: Norwegian EmbassyBudget: ca. 1,2 million NIS Funders: European UnionDuration: 12 months Budget: ca. 2.3 million NISKey Elements: Duration: 24 months• Business-to-Business Program Key Elements:• Capacity Building Workshops 1. Needs Assessment Study• Exhibition of Palestinian 2. Capacity Building Training Businesses/Products at Israeli Courses Trade Shows 3. Market Entry B2B Program 4. Market Entry Public Relations Campaign Projects in partnership with:
    12. 12. Capacity Building andBusiness-to-Business (B2B) ProjectsMy Involvement:• Attending meetings with donors (Norwegian Embassy and EU representatives)• Redesigning log frame matrix• Discussing budgetary issues• Planning work schedule• Attending preliminary workshop (handicrafts)• Needs Assessment: Draft copy of ‘Terms of Reference’
    13. 13. Objective Tree: Partners in Business… Overall Objective Improved Economic Relations Specific Objectives Strengthened Improved Greater Awareness Capacities Market Entry of Palestinian Products in IsraelResults/Outputs Understanding of Stronger A newly Successful Successfully Palestinian Palestinian Improved completion of Conducted PR business needs businesses Palestinian market entry Campaign with updated product ranges events skills Associated Capacity B2B Meetings activities Needs Assessment BuildingActivities Report & Courses Israeli Market Exhibitions & Survey Trade Fairs
    14. 14. Palestinian Business Directory Goals: “Encourage trade and improve relations between the two sides [and to] improve accessibility of Palestinian Businesses to their Israeli and international partners” My Involvement: • Meeting with partners (principally IPCC) to discuss content and design • Editing ‘Introduction’ • Extensive proof-reading • Working with publishers during final editing
    15. 15. Tourism Without Borders One Holy Land, Two Peoples: Tourism without Borders • An “impartial” tourism portal/map • Challenge the presentation of Jerusalem as “unilateral city” with tourists “experiencing only the Israeli or Palestinian perspectives and attractions”  ideally present tourists with a “more whole experience” My Involvement: • Attending meeting with designers and local tourism specialists. • Coordinating meetings • Suggesting content
    16. 16. Urban Development Project of Barta’a A Divided Village between Israel and the Palestinian My Involvement Authority: • Meeting with partners “The conceptual idea is to M.A.P. to discuss urban transform the valley from a development symbol of conflict and • Adding elements to cooperation to a common conceptual plan space representing environmental sustainability, • Visit to Barta’a with business cooperation, and possible donor peace”
    17. 17. Other Activities 50 Reasons to say “Yes” to a Managed the Palestinian State @perescenter (Palestinian Israeli Twitter account Peace NGO Forum) General General learning administrativeabout Israel, tasksPalestine and the conflict
    18. 18. Importance of Networking
    19. 19. Political Barriers to Cooperation? Anti-Israeli Sentiment in Region Anti-Normalization Movement Anti-NGO Legislation Facts on the Ground
    20. 20. Israeli-Palestinian Peace and Israeli Public Opinion To what extent do you believe that negotiations between Israel and the Israeli public opinion support to Palestinian Authority will lead to peace the Oslo process 1994-2010* between Israel and the Palestinians in the coming years?* 2% 10% 35% Strongly Believe 22% Somewhat Believe Somewhat Disbelieve Strongly Disbelieve Dont Know/Refuse to Answer 31%* Data from The Israel Democracy Institute, 2011
    21. 21. Case Study:Peres Center Projects in Jordan •Anti-normalization sentiment is strong • Very hard to find partners and projects (especially if cooperation becomes public) • Unofficially they would like to cooperate • Focus on universal, day-to-day concerns such as environment, water management, energy etc. (under the radar, avoid politics) • Explore cooperation through universities and research institutes, particularly under the guise of EU initiatives. •Hard to publicize programmes as Peres Center programmes
    22. 22. Internship Experience Negatives:Positives:+ Learnt about Israel, Palestine and conflict. − Was it true development work? + The Arab side of Israel − Chopping and changing between projects + East Jerusalem to Ramallah − No ownership of a single project+ Met with many different actors − Lack of actual field work + Local NGOs, International donors, academics, − Department was between projects Palestinian partners − Disconnect between the office and reality…?+ Working relationship with colleagues (Development from afar/armchair development) + Felt part of the team and that my work was − Travelling between Jerusalem and Jaffa appreciated and valuable − Language Issues + Valuable source of knowledge+ Used skills from Glocal + e.g. Log Frame, budgets+ Gained an understanding how a large professional NGO works+ Found my level in ‘development’ work The Peres Center as an NGO: + ‘Project Management’ as a skill? − Style over substance? − Legitimate questioning of project’s effectiveness − Is the Peres Center helping (inadvertently) maintain the status quo? − Apolitical NGO? − See points in rasied in “A monument to lost time and lost hopes” article
    23. 23. Theoretical ApproachPoster Project:• Detailed description and analysis of ‘Partners in Business…’ projectFinal Paper:Overarching theme = Conflict Resolution and/or Management through cooperation in economic, business, or trade.• What’s the Angle? – How does an NGO from the ‘occupiers’ cooperate with those who are the ‘occupied’? Should this be left to an INGO? – Is economic and business cooperation more relevant post-conflict or can it be a driver of peace? What do other conflicts tell us?• Which Region? – Focus solely on Israel/Palestine? – Or branch out to other conflict areas?
    24. 24. The End