If you are a junior or senior level undergraduate student studying at a Mennonite or Anabaptist affiliated school in the U.S. or Canada, consider joining us for our annual Student Seminar this fall! The theme for our 20th Annual Student Seminar is “Palestine: A Time for Peace.”
The State of Palestine has been in a state of heavy conflict and unrest nearly since its creation. Palestine is a part of the territory created by the British Mandate following World War I (the other part being the state of Israel), which claims the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. After the horrors of the Holocaust, many Jews welcomed the creation of the State of Israel, viewing it as a potential safe haven. However, the establishment of Israel in 1948 led to the massive dispossession and displacement of over 750,000 Palestinians, to which MCC responded with physical aid and support. The conflict arose mainly because Israel also claims the territories claimed by the State of Palestine and refuses to recognize it as an official state, occupying State of Palestine since the 1967 war.
Numerous peace proposals, peace processes, and peace treaties, all outside of the formal United Nations (UN) structure, have unsuccessfully attempted to bring peace and stability to the region. Several states are now encouraging the UN to sponsor its own peace initiative.
In November 2012, the UN General Assembly voted 138 – 9 (with 41 abstentions and 5 absences) to recognize the State of Palestine as a non-member observer state. The State of Palestine is also currently recognized by 135 of the 193 member states of the United Nations. Since Israel’s occupation of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip), MCC has supported the dedicated work of both Palestinians and Israelis committed to nonviolence and to a future of peace, justice, and reconciliation for both peoples. Now, the Palestinian people are caught in the conflict in Syria, and Israel-Palestine relations have started to worsen and threaten new violent conflicts.
This year’s seminar will delve into the history and context of Palestine, MCC’s historic and current involvement, and the roles that the UN, the United States, other governments, and civil society have played in the region. The seminar will be led by MCC UN Office Staff with guest speakers from the UN, the NGO community, and from Palestine.
We are looking forward to the valuable contributions that your participation will bring to this discussion!
Due to limited space, registration will be carried out on a first-come, first-served basis with preference given to juniors and seniors and those who have not previously attended (limit 6 students per school). Please follow the link to the registration form containing details on lodging and the seminar fee.
Reservations will not be secured until the completed registration form and fee are received (no later than October 16). In late October, you can expect to receive a more detailed schedule as well as suggestions for how to best prepare for the seminar.
Please feel free to email me with any questions. You may also contact the MCC UN office and other prospective seminar attendees by requesting to join our Facebook group: MCC United Nations Seminar. We hope to meet you in New York this November!