HER VOICE / KOLE’H / SAOUTEK, 16 - 25 AUGUST
Proposed by Olfat Haider in collaboration with Beit Hagefen and Sylvie Berkowitsch-Gassenbauer. This project has concerned a group of girls aged 16-17 recruited and selected in the schools of Haifa. They have participated in a work of dialogue for more than five months in Israel before coming to Switzerland.
Her Voice (Kole’h/Saoutek, in Hebrew and Arabic and in the feminine), her own voice, that is how they chose to call themselves, 14 students from Haifa aged between 16-17 years old. Accompanied by Olfat Haider and Raz Parker, under the supervision of Sylvie Berkowitsch-Gassenbauer, they form a multicultural team. Ethiopians, Arabs, Jews and Armenian, they chose this name so that each voice can be heard referring on the one hand to their feminine identity and on the other to their national identity. These constitute their two centers of reflection. Apart from their first and last meetings (getting to know each other and introducing themselves to the group at the beginning, then at the end, the conclusion, dreams, hopes, etc…), the dialogue program is centered on three themes : feminine and national identity, interpersonal communication and listening, the conflict (both narratives, the impact of the conflict on their lives).
In Switzerland, the group has coexisted, discovered common ground and experienced cultural differences within a third culture, ours. An "amazing" week !
For more detailed informations on the two projects, read Newsletter n° 23
BREAKING THE ICE, 27 AUGUST-10 SEPTEMBER 2015
For the sixth consecutive year, Coexistences invited a group of students from the University of Haifa for a trek in our Alps. They arrived in Geneva on 27 August, and returned to Israel on 10 September. As usual, the composition was well balanced: six Jews (three girls, three boys) and five Arabs (three girls, two boys) aged from 23 to 30. Among the Arabs, two boys were Druze, one of the girls Christian and two Muslim. A Muslim participant was unable to come at the last minute, for reasons beyond his control. Similarly to last year, the dynamics of the group was facilitated by Olfat Haider and Asaf Ron. For the record, the latter is the director of Beit Hagefen, the institution where Olfat works in Haifa. Both of them are in charge, in collaboration with the University, for the recruiting and preparation of the group in Israel, a process which started last March, marked in particular by four week-ends of camping together in the Galilee countryside.
Nadja Schmid, a low-range mountain guide, led us all along the route. Compared to other years, the relationships within the group were particularly warm and consensual, everyone showing great empathy towards the others. It was evident that the preparatory work in Israel had been well done.