Peace-ing it together
At 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 20 Israeli and Palestinian women ages 15 to 20 share the stage at the James A. Little Theater on the campus of the New Mexico School for the Deaf (1060 Cerrillos Road). After almost three weeks at a summer camp in Glorieta — where they engaged in workshops, art classes (including drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, and photography), dialogue sessions, field trips, and other collaborative activities — the women present readings about their lives, their camp experiences, and their struggles to find common ground with one another in New Mexico while political and ideological conflicts continue to simmer in Israeli and Palestinian territories.
The camp in Glorieta is run by Creativity for Peace, a nonprofit whose mission is to foster understanding and build leadership skills among young Palestinian and Israeli women and to promote peace among them in the hopes that they will pass the lessons they learn on to their own communities and families. Campers’ writings were workshopped by Ariane Mahmud-Ghazi, a local licensed social worker who has previously mentored for Creativity for Peace.
Besides the camp, which was established in 2003 and has served some 150 young women, the nonprofit’s programs include year-round summits of former campers in the Middle East, communication and leadership training (including public speaking), and academic scholarship opportunities.
“At camp, they learn to speak authentically and listen compassionately,” says Creativity for Peace executive director Dottie Indyke. They “share their personal stories — often of the violent deaths of loved ones — and they become friends.”
As part of the Aug. 3 performance, 19-year-old violinist Leticia Gonzales accompanies the readings. The University of New Mexico music major joined Creativity for Peace in 2009 for a “girls circle,” an outreach opportunity that brought campers and young New Mexico women together for an informal discussion.
Tickets for the reading are $15 at the door on a first-come-first-serve basis (cash and checks only), $10 for ages 12 and under and seniors. A public reception follows. Call 505-757-6752 for information.
Creativity for Peace campers, 2009