Our growing timeline
From December 3 to 6th, Mehra Rimer represented B8 of Hope at the J-Street conference in Washington DC.
J-Street is a lobby working in the American political system and the Jewish community to advocate for diplomacy-first American leadership and policies that advance justice, equality, peace, and democracy in Israel, in the wider region and in the United States as well.
The presence of B8 of Hope was essentially linked to the Mid East Storytellers exhibit at J-Street. This exhibit which was produced and created in partnership with ALLMEP has now been exhibited in Jerusalem, Geneva and Washington DC and it features the portraits and stories of “our” B8 of Hope and ALLMEP peace-builders.
During the J Street conference (2000+ attendees), Mehra Rimer attended several panels where many representatives of our grantee organizations were keynote speakers and underlined the importance of the civil society’s peace-building community in the current situation.
In one of the plenary sessions, our grantee organization Parents Circles Families Forum was mentioned alongside B8 of Hope by the inspiring singer Achinoam Nini (Noa) who delivered a very inspiring speech.
Click here to view Noa’s speech.
On the last day of the conference, his Excellency Jacques Pitteloud, Swiss Ambassador in Washington DC hosted B8 of Hope and the group of our grantees representatives to learn more about our work as a Swiss civil society entity supporting the Israeli-Palestinian peace-building community. Our partners from ALLMEP were also present as well as the newly appointed US Special Representative for Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr, and USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator Megan Doherty— who is leading the strategy for the Middle East Partnership for Peace Act at USAID Middle East.
In November, Philanthropic Adventures partnered with B8 of Hope for the second time since 2020 around an educational workshop about peace philanthropy. Philanthropic Adventures is a Swiss educational platform for young people to find information, inspiration and support to take action for social and environmental issues they care about.
Philanthropic Adventures aims to democratize the concept of philanthropy and help young people define their engagement and bring change. Philanthropic Adventures and B8 of Hope offered a (free of charge) in person workshop to a group of 12 Swiss high-schoolers (aged 15 to 17) from Ecole Internationale de Genève (Campus de la Grande-Boissière & La Chataigneraie), Ecole Moser, Institut Florimont and Collège Candolle.
The workshop (in the form of an after-school activity) took place over a month and half on Tuesdays November 1st, 8th, 15th ,22nd and December 13th. The Geneva participants learned about peace philanthropy and advocacy with different facilitators from B8 of Hope and Philanthropic Adventures. It was a journey towards peace-building through the lenses of B8 of Hope while learning the skills of philanthropy with Philanthropic Adventures.
On November 20th, we hosted the Palestinian and Israeli members of Parents Circle Families Forum : Bassam Aramin and Rami Elhanan, two bereaved fathers whose stories are featured in Irish author Colum McCann novel Apeirogon. Bassam and Rami were invited to a Swiss tour and promotion of the book by the Swiss association Ina Autra Senda. We were happy to accommodate these two extra-ordinary men during part of their stay in Switzerland.
Listen to Bassam and Rami on the Swiss radio here.
November was also the time when B8 of Hope made it to the news ! Click here to read the Jerusalem Post‘s piece about Amal-Tikva and B8 of Hope’s partnership in support of 15 leading Israeli and Palestinian NGOs joining forces under the common banner of the “Build Peace Campaign”.
In early October, one of our donors and friends of B8 of Hope joined our B8 of Hope executive director Mehra Rimer and Jean-Marc Liling, our representative in Jerusalem, on a short trip to Jerusalem! Seeing the place and the people through the lenses of B8 of Hope was powerful for our friend. This is an extract of what she wrote to us :
“I was energized by the 19 peace activists whom we met. They are extraordinary human beings – intelligent, empathetic, open and curious. I was astounded by their ability to turn their legitimate anger, frustration and injustice into peace activism after all they have been through”
Mid October, B8 of Hope hosted the staff of one of its most important partners Alliance for the Middle East Peace (ALLMEP) in one of our co-founders residence in the Alps.
ALLMEP is an international umbrella organization founded in 2006 and headquartered in Washington, DC. It supports 100+ member organizations with a variety of programs and services designed to scale their aggregated impact. Most of B8 of Hope grantee organizations and movements are ALLMEP members; therefore working in synergies with ALLMEP is essential for us.
September begun by strengthening our partnership with Coexistences.
We had the pleasure to join their seminar: ‘’STRENGTHENING THE DYNAMIC BETWEEN FACILITATORS OF THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN DIALOGUE” which took place on September 4th-13th.
Coexistences is a Swiss registered, Lausanne based association. They host mixed groups of Palestinians and Israelis that have been pursing dialogue for a while. They encourage these, to continue their important dialogue in a calmer, safer geographical space away from their home, away from the conflict zone.
Between 2006 and 2009, Coexistences hosted in Lausanne 33 such dialogue groups comprising of 15-20 facilitators each. These facilitators (of different peace-building activities in Israel and Palestine) do not necessarily know each other and have different approaches.
Via the Coexistences’ seminar, facilitators receive a unique opportunity to share their field experience & toolbox; as well as pay attention to their soft spot, their lack of a specific training they might have etc.
Throughout the 9 day event, a cross-fertilisation of diverse, rich and effective practices emerges, all the whilst each participant’s psychological need is addressed on the micro level.
Several of B8 of Hope’s grantee facilitators took part of the seminar.
The group spent some time in the mountain for an intense Coexistance session, followed by a few decompressing days in Swiss hosting families.
International Peace Day observed around the world on September 21st was unsurprisingly eventful for us at B8 of Hope.
In its occasion, we invited our friends and supporters to participate in the Geneva PeaceTalks 2022 of September 21st; an in-person event which took place at the Palais des Nations (Geneva), and which was livestreamed in both English and French.
PeaceTalks showcases the inspirational stories of people making a positive contribution to Peace. The initiative was co-founded by the United Nations Geneva Office, Interpeace and the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform – all coming together with the support of the Swiss Government.
This year marks PeaceTalks’ 10th anniversary, and we at B8 of Hope are extremely proud to be a partner of their milestone edition!
Eran Nissan (from New Story Leadership) and Wasim Almasri (from Alliance for Middle East Peace), two of our Israeli and Palestinian peace-builders whose work is supported by B8 of Hope, were among the five hand-picked keynote speakers of the event.
Click here to read Eran and Wasim’s interview in Geneva Solutions’ online media platform.
The next evening, a small private dinner was given in their honor by the B8 of Hope co-founders and team as to let our friends and supporters engage with the speakers on a more casual and intimate level.
We allowed ourselves a well deserved annual break in August as to come back fresh and energized for the remainder of the year.
Chrystelle Thiébaud (B8 of Hope’s Administrator, Internship and Special Project manager), Mehra Rimer (B8 of Hope’s Executive director, Chair and Co-founder) and David Rimer (B8 of Hope’s Treasurer and Co-founder) went all three to Israel and the West Bank during the month of July. They were joined for a few days by two of their donors as well as by two members of ‘B8 of Hope Next Gen Youth Group’.
The primary objective of the trip was to receive updates on the preparation and implementation of ‘the seven synergies project’ funded by B8 of Hope earlier this Spring.
Thereafter the idea was to meet with some of B8 of hope’s grantees as well as with other organizations (currently unfunded by B8 of Hope) but on our closest watched radar.
Last but not least – the trip allowed for a full evaluation and monitoring of funded projects by having some of its core founding members actively participating in several of the funded project activities.
The highlight of June was our Street Exhibit in Promenade de Saint Antoine in the Old Town of Geneva! This exhibit featured the portraits of the Mid East Storytellers from June 1st to 19th, 2022.
The Mid East Storytellers’ concept was launched in November 2020 by B8 Of Hope, Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP) and Pendulum – Creative Changency.
This inspiring collection of stories reflects the voices of Israelis and Palestinians, who are active members of grassroots and civil society initiatives on the ground, paving a path for a shared future based on equal rights, dignity and safety for all.
Passers-by could scan the QR codes at the bottom of each portrait and listen to each story and explore more pictures online! Click here to view the online platform.
In the evening of June 9th, B8 of Hope team gathered on site with members of B8 of Hope Next Gen youth group, in presence of Orson Ophir, our intern and talented graphic designer of this exhibit. Click here to see the pictures of the event!
May begun with a joint memorial ceremony – a dual affair taking place in parallel locations: Tel Aviv (Israel) and Beit Jalla (West Bank). B8 of hope co-sponsored this most inspiring peace event which Mehra on her side attended as part of her due diligence.
The event which took place on May 3rd brought a moment of union to both bereaved Israeli and Palestinian parents; a moment for them to mourn their loved ones together.
Although afar, the miracles of technology gave the impression to be in one and the same room as the people mourning on the other side. A total of 200 000 participants joined this hybrid ceremony, either in presence in Tel-Aviv and Beit Jalla or virtually through different channels (Zoom, Youtube and Facebook).
Click here if you have missed it.
From May 17th-19th, B8 of Hope hosted Sally Abed and Alon-Lee Green from Standing Together for a series of fund-raising dinners.
Standing Together is a grassroots people’s movement which mobilizes and organizes Jewish and Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel locally and nationally. They work on campaigning for peace, equality, and social justice in order to empower citizens of Israel and transform its society.
At B8 of Hope we know we are fighting the right fight : the only fight that makes sense. We try to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.
Sally Abed and Alon-Lee Green stood together – representing the entire pool of B8 of Hope grantees (and not only their own movement). With bravery they presented and allowed us to join them from here (in Geneva) to STAND TOGETHER with them, behind them and in full support to an awe inspiring community of Israeli & Palestinian peace-builders.
We would like to thank our generous donors in Geneva for making it possible for B8 of hope to continue its support to the current pool of 20 + Israeli and Palestinian initiatives. Each initiative paves the path for a better shared future based on equal rights, peace and security for all in the region.
We are thrilled to have received the support and encouragement from our Arab friends across different Middle Eastern countries, from our Jewish friends whether Sephardic or Ashkenazi, from our International expats friends (ranging from Sweden to Ecuador including an exceptional Ukrainian donor who lives a conflict of her own and yet still finds time and place to support B8 of Hope) and last but not least from our Swiss friends.
Geneva is a rainbow of tolerance. During Standing Together‘s presence in Switzerland, and despite tragedies on the ground, we had a glimpse of hope. The message we all took home was powerful.
That said, the Palestinian and Israeli victims of the recent cycle of violence were in our thoughts throughout these functions. We can’t imagine what their families are going through; our hearts and prayers were and are with them.
Sadly, this was a busy time for our grantee organization Parents’ Circle Families Forum (PCFF), an association of 600 + Israeli and Palestinian families who have lost a loved one to the conflict and work together. From gatherings in Israeli and Palestinians home to school presentations, they encourage others to choose reconciliation over revenge so that no other family faces the tragedy they have been facing. When cycles of violence take place, their role is even more essential and needed.
Robi Damelin, PCFF’s spokesperson was invited to speak at the UN Security Council during their session on May 26. Please click here to watch her very powerful words.
At the end of May, the experts of Amal-Tikva (a Jerusalem-based organization dedicated to capacity building for non-profits focused on peace-building) came to Geneva to helping us « rethink » B8 of Hope through their excellent Field building 360.
The exercise of redefining our goals and how to achieve them in a more efficient way was an eye opening experience ! We are done with module 1 and looking forward to module 2 and the implementation of the changes we need to make.
An inspiring time in Geneva with Meredith Rothbart, Ariel Markose and Basheer Abu Baker !
Sadly the beginning of spring saw an eruption of deep tension and violence in the region. Unsurprisingly this coincided with a time of festivities for the 3 religions: Easter, Pesah and Ramadan.
B8 of Hope fully supports and promotes the message of our partners Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP). We continue to work for our region of interest by promoting a respectful coexistence based on equality, dignity and security for all.
Speaking of ALLMEP, April was in fact a time to meet our partners in Washington DC. The meeting was a preparation of the Mid East Storytellers’ exhibit that is due to take place this December during the J-Street conference. Mid East Storytellers is a joint project of ALLMEP and B8 of Hope (click here to explore it online).
Whilst in Washington, Mehra also met with experts of the USIP (United States Institute of Peace) to compare notes and get feedback from this important institution (established by the American Congress in 1984). USIP is an organization devoted to the nonviolent prevention and mitigation of conflicts.
Being in the USA was also an opportunity to catch up with different representatives of B8 of Hope grantees such as Micah Hendler, founder of the Jerusalem Youth Chorus, Stephen Stern, CEO of the American Friends of Taghyeer Movement, Carolyn Mays, newest director of New Story Leadership and several of its board members – Greg Robinson, Liane Dorsey and Joyce Schwarz, as well as with Diana Kutlow from Hands of Peace. All these organizations either work closely with B8 of Hope or are part of the pool supported by us. Meeting them on a regular basis and keeping a close collaborative approach is very important to us, so that we are able to assist when these organizations are met with challenges.
Our educational mission continued in March. The American Graduate School in Paris hosted B8 of Hope in the framework of their Speaker Series. The event was hybrid catering for an audience of 23 of their students. Mehra Rimer joined from Geneva whilst Sulaiman Khatib, Palestinian co-founder of Combatants for Peace joined from Ramallah. Mehra presented the projects of Combatants for Peace (a B8 of Hope grantee) whilst Sulaiman gave insight on his journey of transformation which brought him to peace-building. Should you wish to know more about Sulaiman’s story, you can purchase his book ‘In this place together, A Palestinian’s Journey to Collective Liberation’, co-written with Penina Eilberg-Schwartz here.
This winter, we welcomed a new intern : Orson Ophir, 17. Orson is a Year 12 student at the International School of Geneva. Definitely our youngest intern ever! In 2020, he participated in the Philanthropic Adventures workshop exploring B8 of Hope’s work. He was an attentive and motivated participant. His interest for the Middle East combined with his skills in graphic design made him eligible for our internship program! He is working under the supervision of Chrystelle Thiébaud – our admin, special projects and internship program manager. While learning about B8 of Hope and the role of narratives and storytelling in conflict resolution, Orson is working on the graphic design of our next street exhibit of Mid East Storytellers. Stay tuned and come and see the results at Promenade Saint-Antoine in the old town from June 1st to June 17th.
At the end of March, one of our generous supporters hosted Ali Abu Awad, prominent Palestinian activist of non-violence, in Switzerland. Ali, who is the founder of Taghyeer Movement had the opportunity to stay in a peaceful surrounding – isolated from the conflict as to work intensively on his manifesto: a document which will gather all of his thoughts on non-violence and conflict resolution.
We are extremely grateful to our donor for giving this incredible opportunity to Ali. We believe that taking a step back from one’s daily activism to put ideas on paper (so that they can be spread further away) is an important step to scale ones’ activism. We are therefore looking forward to the rippling effect of this manifesto.
We are also happy that we could have some of Ali’s time in Geneva, for him to have conversations with some of B8 of Hope’s board members as well as some of the Geneva based members of our B8 of Hope Next Gen youth group.
February 2022 marks our sixth year in existence.
We begun this celebratory month with a hybrid event. By the means of technology, we, B8 of Hope, found ourselves simultaneously in Geneva, Wettingen (Canton of Argovie), Tel-Aviv and Ramallah – all at the same time! Welcome to the MetaB8ofHope!
The Wettingen high school (in the German speaking part of Switzerland) hosted us in the framework of an interdisciplinary week long project around the theme of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As part of our local educational mission in Switzerland, we presented our vision and activities to a classroom of 23 students (age 16+).
A screening of the multiple award-winning film Disturbing The Peace was played followed by a virtual Q&A with two of the film’s protagonists Chen Alon (from Tel Aviv) and Souli Khatib (from Ramallah). Chen and Souli are co-founders of Combatants for Peace, a movement of former Israeli soldiers and Palestinian freedom fighters who chose to give up their weapons for a fairer & better future.
Disturbing The Peace features many of the movement’s members and carries a universal message that applies to all conflicts. Stephen Apkon and Marcina Hale (film director and producer as well as co-founders of Reconsider) challenge us to think that no matter who we are, where we live or what we do:
“One must understand the narrative within one lives, to look at one’s current role in society, and to take responsibility for that role one plays – questioning if it creates a more humane world, for all?”
That is why, B8 of Hope keeps screening this movie + Q&A panel to encourage critical thinking and constructive behaviour.
Feb 4th – Feb 11th: A long awaited trip!
After two years of not having been on the ground, our Chair and co-founder Mehra Rimer along with Chrystelle Thiébaud (B8 of Hope’s admin and special project manager), flew to Israel and the West Bank for an intense & short week of work.
Despite the restricted travels of these past two years, B8 of Hope has maintained (throughout these times) regular contacts with its grantees via online meetings. However this “in-person” reconnection was truly needed and dare we say – magnificent! It gave a grand boost of energy to both B8 of Hope and to the on the ground peace-builders.
Jean-Marc Liling, one of B8 of Hope’s board member and representative (living in Jerusalem) joined Chrystelle and Mehra in a series of meetings across the land.
From Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem all the way through Gush Etsion, Beit Jala, Ramallah and Hebron, B8 of Hope traveled & met with 170 representatives of different Israeli and Palestinian NGOs. Some of these organizations are B8 of Hope’s grantees and others have been on our radar since more recently.
The purpose of these meetings was to reinforce synergies. We brought together more than 20 NGOs and movements in one same room. One of B8 of Hope’s core mission is to foster synergies between its grantees (and more generally between grassroots and civil society change-makers). We encourage these movements to join forces when it makes sense. We believe synergies are key in scaling up impact. We also believe they are a way of optimizing the spending of funds that organizations receive from us.
Our concept of synergies was born in 2019. A few collaborations have started since then, but all are still fairly nascent. So we have come up with the concept of the Synergy Lab to deepen and explore further the idea.
For the first time ever, we are offering an additional grant opportunity to current grantees incentivizing them to build bridges with one another and thus scale themselves. Whether they choose to do so via a joint running of programs, sharing data & resources, or developing capacity – at B8 of hope we are confident that such synergies will bring them further success.
We apply this concept to ourselves; as we are weighing a potential partnership with a sister organization – Amal-Tikva.
Based in Jerusalem, Amal-Tikva specializes in capacity building for NGOs. Many of our grantees have benefited from their curriculum which offers a comprehensive range of programs. We believe that a partnership between B8 of Hope and Amal-Tikva will assist our respective beneficiaries; more extensively the entire Israeli Palestinian peace-building community shall win from it.
Amal-Tikva helped us refine, polish and finalise the Synergy Lab. It has been concluded that each winner of the new grant will receive (alongside the grant) a couple of hours of consultation from Amal-Tikva so that funds are used in a most optimal way.
Back in Geneva
On February 24th &25th, B8 of Hope was hosted by Institut Florimont (a prestigious genevian high school) for a screening of “Guerrières de la Paix” + Q/A with film director Hanna Assouline. The audience: 167 12th graders.
Our participation to Florimont’s February week of human rights has become a tradition. It is now the fourth running year that we are being invited. Although we are focused on humanization rather than human rights (strictly speaking), we are extremely grateful that the institute gives our message visibility which in turn gives the students the alternative of being pro-peace-builders rather than pro-sides.
One of the impact of this school presentation touched us in particular. Several students (on the initiative of 2 classmates: a Moroccan Jew and an Egyptian Muslim) expressed their desire of travelling together to the Holy Land and visit it through the lense of B8 of Hope!
At the end of the month, we had a short visit from Samah Salaime, educational director at Wahat Al-Salam – Neve Shalom (An Oasis of Peace).
Wahat Al-Salam – Neve Shalom is a small village of Palestinian and Jewish citizens living together on the land. It has a population of 70+ families, all dedicated to building peace justice and equality in the country and region.
Situated equidistant from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, the community was established in 1970 by Father Bruno Hussar on land of the Latrun Monastery. It is a model of equality, mutual respect and partnership that challenges existing patterns of racism, discrimination and the continued conflict.
The community has established educational institutions based on its ideals and conducts activities focused on social and political change. Many of the village members work in peace, justice and reconciliation projects.
We were very flattered to show our own Oasis of Peace (also known as the B8 of Hope work space) to Samah. At our workplace, we learned more about the activities of this unique village where Israeli Jews and Arabs live together, speak both languages and manage their community in unity. Neve Shalom – Wahat Al-Salam is the symbol and the embodiment of what could be possible at a larger binational scale.
During her stay in Geneva, Samah also got to learn more about B8 of Hope, she met some of our board-members and a group of women who support B8 of Hope.
We also took the opportunity of her presence to interview her. Click here to listen to the 5th episode of our Podcast series with Samah.
January 2022 was a month of reflection. We held our first board meeting of the year. Finances were approved, creative ideas (to continue raising funds for our grantees) were discussed & a clear agenda to give those grantees of ours visibility & advice was established.
More than everything: it was wonderful to reconnect with our B8 of Hope family; co-founders and board members after having not met since November.
While travelling in North America, our chairwoman Mehra Rimer engaged in a series of meetings.
In Washington DC, Mehra met with the US Director of ALLMEP, Kari Reid. Over a decade of advocacy in America, ALLMEP’s work led to the passage into law of the Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act (MEPPA). This new fund will deliver $250 million over at least five years to projects that support peacebuilding and Palestinian economic development and partnerships. It represents the largest investment ever in the region’s peacebuilders. The legislation grew out of ALLMEP’s 12-year campaign to establish an International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, which continues to gain momentum among other governments interested in leveraging this game-changing U.S. investment.
In Los Angeles, she got to meet associates of Capital Group Companies – a firm where she used to work and which is very supportive of B8 of Hope. CG’s Chaverim, Salam and Christian Life faith associations organized a webinar for B8 of Hope in the fall in order to give more visibility to our work and encourage donations. We are very grateful for this fantastic opportunity to spread our message and raise funds.
Pilot Umbrella Crowdfunding and partnership with Amal-Tikva
Amal-Tikva, a new organization that engages NGO leaders, philanthropists and field experts to build capacity for sustainable and scalable peacebuilding between Israelis and Palestinians.
B8 of Hope is very keen on partnerships and synergy building. We believe that collaborations among the Israeli – Palestinian peace building community will scale up the impact of the work on the ground.
In the spirits of synergy-building, Amal-Tikva and B8 of Hope are piloting an unprecedented umbrella crowdfunding. A dozen NGOs and movements (mainly from B8 of Hope’s pool of grantees). These participating institutions are lighthouses of progress. They understand how to create measurable, scalable impact between divided cultures. And they will not stop until everyone has equal rights, dignity, and security.
Never have organizations united to bring about a more just future quite like this. Never have they shared knowledge, strategy, and resources. Never have they shown the world a united front that will persevere… no matter the obstacle.
These NGOs recognize that they are greater together than the sum of their parts. We wish them a great and successful crowdfunding. Our role as capacity-builders for our beneficiaries is also about helping them finding ways of funding their activities and scaling them up!
We are very proud to share with you this very recent article about Amal-Tikva and B8 of Hope joint synergy building effort around the umbrella crowdfunding initiative.
Without doubt, one can say that the highlight of the fall was our Mid East Storytellers exhibition at the Art Center of Geneva’s International School.
The concept – launched in November 2020 in partnership with the Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP) and with Pendulum – Creative Changency gave birth to a storytelling platform for Israeli and Palestinian to tell their unique stories. Through a facilitated workshop, opportunity to skill up storytelling (via photography) was given to B8 of Hope grantees and ALLMEP members.
Telling one’s story is a powerful tool in conflict zones. It teaches about the other’s narratives; and doing so creatively is all the way more touching and influential. Through photography we discover the “other” ’s face and through words we hear the “other” ‘s story. This exchange of narrative allows for ignorance about the other to at last vanish – a much needed step towards peace!
The exhibited stories were inspiring. They reflected the voice of Israeli and Palestinian peace builders, active members of grassroots and civil society initiatives. Through sharing their stories, a path was paved for a respectful coexistence based on equal rights, dignity and security for all.
B8 of Hope in partnership with ALLMEP and Pendulum turned the collection of stories into an exhibition which lasted throughout November and was open to the Geneva public as well as to all students of the International school.
Several teachers took their high-school students to and explored the stories.
Click here to see the pictures of our opening night and watch the short video below!
If you missed the exhibition you can have a virtual visit here.
In November, B8 of hope also had the pure pleasure of hosting Tech2Peace and Middle East Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow (MEET), two NGOs focused on peace-building through learning entrepreneurship in the framework of high-tech. Tech2Peace is aimed at students and young professionals aged 20-30 and MEET ‘s target audience is high-schoolers aged 14-17.
A dozen Israelis and Palestinians, alumni and leaders of Tech2Peace came to Switzerland to attend a unique seminar organized by Stiftung Urgestein and partly funded by the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs in partnership with B8 of Hope. The participants spent half the day in cultural exchange sessions (including with several Swiss participants) and half the day working together to learn high tech skills (App development and video).
Upon the arrival of part of the cohort, B8 of Hope hosted a dinner. We had Tomer co-founder of Tech2Peace, Jake, Juman and Uthman, both facilitators and alumni. We also invited two members of MEET, Aga and Anas who happened to be in the region on that evening. It was a delight to witness a beautiful synergy taking place between our two grantee organizations Tech2Peace and MEET.
The B8 of Hope co-founders in Geneva and a few supporters of our work were present at the dinner and got their shot of Vitamin Hope by listening to the young fellows of both organizations. Rather than being stuck in the past and in their respective narratives, these young people look forward, and their common ground is entrepreneurship. It is important for them to be in a dialogue and understand each other. They work on a future reality based on equality, dignity and safety for all. The best way to achieve this reality is by trying to be part of the solution.
Birthday Celebration !
November was also one of our generous donors’ birthday 🎂. She decided to ask her family and friends to support B8 of Hope in lieu of giving her gifts. A heartfelt thank you to her! Her very generous friends spoiled us!!!!
If you want to do the same on the occasion of your birthday or if you would like to honor someone’s memory, please refer to this page of our website for more information.
On November 21st, Next Gen Youth Group hosted a Creative Negotiation Skills workshop led by Pathways Institute for Negotiation Education.
Thanks to B8 of Hope, 16 students & young professionals from all over the world participated. As part of the workshop, the participants not only sharpened their own negotiations and problem-solving skills but also learned more about Pathways’ bridge-building approach and their pedagogical philosophy.
Finally, the Canadian chapter of the B8 of Hope Next Gen had a surprise visit of our chairwoman Mehra Rimer who took advantage of a personal trip to Montreal to meet with them.
October began (for us) with a short visit from Jean-Marc Liling to our B8 of Hope workspace in Switzerland. Jean-Marc, one of B8 of Hope’s board members, lives in Jerusalem and represents our association on the ground. Whilst in the land of milk and chocolate, he spent a few hours with our Chair and co-founder Mehra Rimer as well as with our special project and administrative coordinator Chrystelle Thiébaud.
Back in 2014, it is Jean-Marc who introduced Mehra to the world of Israeli/Palestinian peace microcosm. This introduction is what led to the creation of B8 of Hope, and so we are always avid to hear from Jean-Marc regarding on the ground updates.
He is currently on an intense co-working with one of our grantees : the Abu Awwad family Non-Violence center also known as the Karama Center. B8 of Hope partly funded the construction for this centre which now hosts many of the activities we sponsor, including activities led by other grantees of ours: Judur/Shorashim/Roots.
Jean-Marc has a continuous dialogue with our grantees on the ground. In these restrictive travel times, we find much relief & reassurance to have a man of trust on the ground, out there in the field – So Thank You Jean-Marc!!!
SEPTEMBER brought to us glimmers of hope as we met with fellow peace activists around Europe
At first we travelled to London where we met and exchanged with 2 inspiring peace builders, Obada Shtaya – from Zimam – and Uri Rosenberg – from Tech2Peace. Both activists navigate their work between the UK and the Holy Land, in pursuit of peace.
Obada gave us the latest update on his organisation’s activities (see link to clip here) whilst Uri gave us a flavour on the impact that Tech2peace webinars had on their summer (see link to clip here).
We managed to organise a very last minute yet very successful dinner at our favorite Ottolenghi restaurant ROVI, where both peace-builders were invited to join a group of our London friends. The evening, we have no doubt, will turn our friends into future supporters as they listened to the 2 admirable change-makers who gave them plenty of food for thoughts.
Later in the month our chairwoman Mehra Rimer made a delightful stop over in Paris, where she reconnected with key people in order to re engage talks for future events in Paris. Sadly B8 of Hope’s Paris events have stopped since 2018, but there now is a new glimmer of hope in that tunnel.
Highlight of the Paris trip was a meeting with John Lyndon, Executive Director of Alliance for Middle East Peace. At B8 of Hope, we encourage synergies and collaborations among members of our pool of grantees. This recommendation is something we apply to ourselves as we regularly work with ALLMEP comparing notes and even partnering on actual projects and initiatives. To our great honour and joy, Most of B8 of Hope’s grantees are also ALLMEP members!
Click here to see ALLMEP’s introduction video.
And for a grand finale to the beginning of Autumn, we’ve hosted a hybrid party at our B8 of Hope work space! A group of students whom we’ve worked with (in the last quarter of 2020) on a former project to raise funds for the Jerusalem Youth Chorus came to our office to watch the JYC online Gala party. What fun we’ve had, joining the post Corona hybrid event hype!
As a reminder; from Oct to Dec 2020, B8 of Hope collaborated with the Geneva-based initiative Philanthropic Adventures. Together we faciliated a workshop ”Peace Philanthropy” for a small group of high-schoolers at B8 of Hope workspace in Geneva. The purpose of the workshop was exploring the journey of peace building through the lenses of B8 of Hope whilst learning the skills of philanthropy via the knowledge of Paola Genovese, facilitator at Philanthropic Adventures.
Philanthropic Adventures is an educational platform for young people to find information, inspiration and support to take action for social and environmental issues they care about. Philanthropic Adventures aims to democratise the concept of philanthropy and help young people define their engagement and bring change. “Because giving back and giving well is an adventure full of discovery and emotions.”
Talking of reconnections with friends and supporters, we had the immense honour of hosting Jean-Daniel Ruch, former ambassador of Switzerland to Israel for a dinner in Geneva. Ambassador Ruch has been so supportive of B8 Of Hope throughout his time in Tel-Aviv. It was great seeing him after all this – Covid – time.
His support to B8 of Hope had a true impact and our pool of Israeli and Palestinian grantees in the region will sorely miss him – so will we! We wish him all the best on his new post in Turkey and hope to see him again in Geneva next time he is in town.
On September 26th, our B8 of Hope Next Gen Youth Group resumed its activities. The group composed of international students in European, Canadian and the US universities as well as young professionals aged 18 to 28 are all ‘ex’ B8 of Hope volunteers / interns / events attendees. Managed by a small committee of its members, the group runs monthly activities as to stay in touch and promote the community’s involvement and continuous learning in peace-building.
This first meeting of the « school year » was about :
➡️ A short introduction: Next Gen plan & goals for 21-22
➡️ Get to know Narrative 4 – a global organization that uses a story exchange methodology to increase empathy in the world 🌍
➡️ Let’s get to know each other better! 🤗 Participate in Storytelling Exchange Workshop led by Narrative 4
September ended on a very powerful note and evening at the prestigious Geneva book club Société de Lecture which we thank sincerely for hosting B8 Of Hope and partnering with us.
The hybrid conference was about Colum McCann‘s masterpiece: Apeirogon, a unique kind of novel based on the true stories of two bereaved Palestinian and Israeli fathers Bassam Aramin and Rami Elhanan. Colum, Bassam and Rami joined us from New York, Jericho and Haifa, virtually, on the big screen of Société de Lecture’s beautiful room. A large international and Genevois audience was physically present. The panel was brilliantly moderated by Philippe Mottaz, prominent Swiss journalist and founder of The Geneva Observer. What an honour to be in that room that night!
An opportunity for B8 of Hope to keep giving visibility to the amazing people-to-people initiatives we support such as Rami and Bassam’s NGO: Parents Circle Families Forum.
In August, we have had the official presentation of the photo stories produced by the ‘’the Mid East Storytellers’’ workshop participants.
Mid East Storytellers is a platform that explores the stories of Palestinian and Israeli Peace Activists. After this year’s explosion of violence and dehumanization, these inspiring activists reflected on:
What drives their activism?
What makes them dedicate their lives to the pursuit of peace?
And, what sort of future are they working to build, together?
Listen to their stories here – > www.stories.allmep.org/2
The Mid East Storytellers is a Project by the Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP), B8 of Hope and produced by Pendulum – Creative Changency.
The next step will be an exhibit in Geneva.
Main video credits:
Creative and directed by: Raphael Kadishzon and Rom Barnea / DOP: Omer Manor / Editor: Maya Ella / Producer: Talia Bernstein / Music: Yuval Vilner / Still/ Projection Photography: Amit Sidi / Assistant Photographer: Shira Haimovici / BTS footage: Eli Cohen / Special thanks to: AG Production Solutions / Executive producers: Wasim Almasri, Noa Urbach
JULY – The month of surprises
Our summer began with the unexpected visit of Women Wage Peace activist Yael Treidel. What a treat (!) to have Yael amongst us as she took a much needed vacation in Switzerland to visit friends.
The surprise came double-wrapped. Yael’s impromptu visit coincided with one from Parisian film director Hanna Assouline, author of “Guerrières de la Paix” (Warriors for Peace).
The movie “Guerrières de la Paix” which Hanna directed beautifully, features none other than our grantee movement Women Wage Peace of which Yael is a leading member. What a coincidence!
It is as if the stars aligned to bring these 2 incredible women together at the same time & place, and so we couldn’t but take the opportunity for an impromptu gathering (in their honor) at our co-founders; David and Mehra Rimer’s house.
During the casual event, Yael told us about the activities of WWP throughout the tensions of Spring whilst Hannah shed some light on her experience of documenting WWP’s incredible work. Both were greeted by a warm and welcoming female audience of our Geneva community.
July’s surprise visits did not stop there…
Saskia Keeley, NY based Swiss photo activist, a longstanding b8 of Hope collaborator also stopped by to say Hello. What a pleasure!
Saskia runs photography workshops in Israel and Palestine to bridge the divides and foster healing. She is on the board of ‘’The American Friends of Roots’’ – where she actively involves herself on Roots’ progress. ‘’Roots’’ as a reminder is also one of our grantee organization.
But July also kept in store for us a tearful goodbye. Jessica Fayon, our super star intern came to the end of a 10 month internship program. Whilst with us, Jessica co-founded B8 of Hope Next Gen youth group; a venture she will keep engaged with even outside her internship. We are proud for our message to spread further into the youth.
And for a bit of Hollywood surprise style announcement, in July we hosted actress Laetitia Edio (aka “Dr Shirin » in TV series Fauda).
For the Fauda fans : Dr Shirin is still alive!!! Whilst visiting in our workspace, she examined our chairwoman Mehra Rimer, and delivered a devastating diagnosis!!!
Click here to watch the short movie – a moment of pure joy. We are thankful to Laetitia for her friendship and for playing along with this clip idea!
For less of a surprise but more of an organized program, in July we launched the second cohort of ‘’the Mid East Storytellers’’ – a project in partnership with Alliance for Middle East Peace.
This workshop, facilitated and organized by Pendulum – a communication agency focusing on change, aims to explore means for peace builders to mobilize others into becoming change-makers.
The new cohort of 8 Israelis and 8 Palestinians (members of NGOs and movements under the umbrella of ALLMEP and/or B8 of Hope grantees) went through several intensives sessions throughout July to learn and create interactive digital content.
Towards the end of the month and in early August, the cohort was teamed up with experienced mentors to master their creative process.
We take this opportunity to thank all mentors and particularly those among our B8 of Hope friends who gave their time to share their expertise.
@ Saskia Keeley, Lara Milosevic, Petar Mitrovic, Noa Grandchamp, Laura Wohlwend, Nabil Canaan. Thank You!
Last but not least, the month ended with a wonderful delegation visit.
At our B8 of Hope workspace, we welcomed a 12 high-schoolers and their teacher Summar Farraj, who made their way to us from the Israeli northern town of Magha.
Shmuel Aiello from Debate for Peace organized this visit delegation – he warned us: ‘’Maghar is an unconventional town – with the dynamics of a Druze, Muslim & Christian population in a Jewish majority country’’.
Debate for Peace brings together Arab and Jewish students from around 70 cities and towns accross Israel and Palestine to participate in Model United Nations conferences.
In those conferences, the youth debates, negotiates and attempts to solve current and difficult challenges in international relations.
It was uplifting to have this young delegation of dynamic teenagers with us. We learned about their lives in this unique city and in exchange we exposed them to B8 of Hope’s work.
JUNE – Webinar for High School students / Karim and David have been invited to participate in a virtual gathering with the students of the International School of Geneva, La Chataigneraie Campus. For our two co-founders, who are childhood friends and former students of Ecolint, it is very important to spread the message of B8 of Hope among the youth and encourage them not to fall in the trap of polarisation, promoted by the media and the social media.
JUNE – Webinar for Young Presidents’ Organization Next Gen (YNG) / Our committee of B8 of Hope Next Gen was also active this month and made a moving presentation to a youth group from Young Presidents Organisation (YPO Next Gen).
JUNE – WELCOMING OF A 19TH GRANTEE ORGANIZATION / Welcome to Standing Together – a grassroots people’s movement in Israel ! This movement mobilizes Jewish and Arab citzens of Israel, localy and nationally, around campaigns for peace, equality, and social justice, in order to build power and transform Israeli society. They organize a wide range of people from across the country around pressing issues that affect them all. They recognize the interconnectedness between struggles including the growing social and economic disparities in Israeli society, the ongoing occupation of the Palestinian territories, attacks on democratic freedoms, and the hardships faced by minorities such as Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, the LGBTQ community, women, and immigrants. Their analysis spans across issues: they know that they cannot address one of these challenges without solving the others.
This short clip illustrates the engagement of this movement, which managed to unite in the streets of Tel-Aviv and elsewhere thousands of Jews and Arabs at the peak of the conflict in mid May. Their motto : we will not be ennemies and we stand together.
MAY – One of our grantees won the Luxembourg Peace Prize !/ On the bright side of things, even though, we are still heavy hearted and not on a celebratory mode, we had one great news about one of the organisations we support.
Months ago, we submitted the candidacy of A Land for All Two States One Homeland to the prestigious Luxembourg Peace Prize. We just learned that A Land for All won in the category of Outstanding Peace Support. The prize is sponsored by the Schengen Peace Foundation which is committed to contribute to “the construction of a more peaceful world by promoting peace, tolerance and understanding”. The ceremony was held on Friday, 28th May.
This prize represents the growing recognition in the importance of the ideas and the activity of A Land for All/Two States One Homeland. Only over the weekend The Guardian published an op-ed by Meron Rapoport, a co-founder of the movement, in support of a confederative solution to the conflict, based on equal personal and national rights for all those living in this land, Palestinians and Jews.
A Land for All was born founded by Israelis and Palestinians living between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean sea, and here is where change must take place. The last events only strengthen their belief that they are on the right path. They proved that the policy of “managing the conflict” has failed and that Palestinians and Jews living all over this land cannot be separated and therefore the road to peace and reconciliation passes through real and tangible equality and partnership.
Following the tragic events in May, it is the time to build a new vision, and voices of those wishing for a just future based on mutual respect and dignity should be loud and clear.
MAY – Co-Hosting of an online event / «Next time someone asks you if there’s still hope for justice and peace in Israel and Palestine, just hand them this book !» says journalist and political commentator Peter Beinart about :« In This Place Together, a Palestinian’s Journey to Collective Liberation» by Penina Eilberg-Schwartz with Souli Khatib.
B8 of Hope is acting upon Peter Beinart’s suggestion.
Got our stash of the book from ICAM – L’Olivier, our favorite bookstore in Geneva.
We also co-hosted a Meet The Authors online event organized by the American Friends of Combatants on May 27th.
MAY – Webinar for High School students / the International School of Geneva hosted our co-founders David and Karim as keynote speakers in a compulsory webinar for all students aged 14 to 18, from grade 9 to 12th of high-school. In the context of polarizations, the role of B8 of Hope is key in Geneva. We are grateful that schools in Geneva always welcome us and are interested to see what « other way » we have to offer.
MAY – Webinar for our Next Gen/ Yara and Noa, the ambassadors of our youth group, B8 of Hope Next Gen, spoke to their fellow members and shared their feelings and thoughts during the recent tragic and violent conflict which erupted in the Holy Land. It was an opportunity for the young members of B8 of Hope Next Gen to grasp the complexities of the situation and to watch a clip of the movie ‘Warrior of Peace’ by Hannah Assouline, in which Yara and Noa are the protagonists.
MAY – Peace demonstrations on the ground / What made us keep faith in what we do, throughout last month’s hurricane, are the concrete actions of several Israeli and Palestinian grassroots initiatives and peace-builders who stood up shoulder by shoulder in order to « co-resist so that Israeli and Palestinians could co-exist » :
Standing together with « the other » does not mean you forget the pain. It only means that you are courageous enough to go out of your comfort zone and choose to find partners in building a future based on equal rights, dignity and security for all.
MAY – Workshop with High-School students / In the madness of the situation our activities continue. In May we hosted a group of students from the International School of Geneva studying the conflict through a novel they read in their literature classe. Their teacher Mrs Hortensia Cid thought this would be a great opportunity to expose them to our work. Two of our Co-founders Karim and David, alumni of the school themselves, made a presentation about B8 of Hope and shared their story as a Canadian Jew and a Palestinian Muslim growing up together in Geneva in the 1980 – and what made them join forces to co-found B8 of Hope at a later stage in their lives.
MAY – Interview of our co-founder & chair / Interview of Mehra Rimer on France 24
MAY – Recent events / Mid May our world turned upside down ! We are used to regular frictions, tensions, cycles of violence breaking out every now and then on the ground. This time the magnitude of the violence is huge and deep – and it took us by surprise. The violence first broke out in Jerusalem – and sadly and gradually spread all over the region. The work of the civil society and grassroots Israeli and Palestinian peace-builders and change-makers supported by B8 of Hope was faced with a big challenge and yet profed to be more important and relevant than ever!
Although the situation invited to anger, B8 of Hope has not been discouraged. On the contrary, our message of dialogue and bridge-building, and our support to our pool of courageous grantee organisations and movements makes even more sense in the current situation!
The Israeli and Palestinian peace-building/change making community are rallying to stand against the violence, dehumanization and instrumentalisation by either side !
We are proud to stand by them ! Their work is never easy and is so important during these particularly difficult times.
MAY – Sponsoring of Iftar dinners on the ground / Throughout the first half of may B8 of Hope sponsored a couple of Ramadan Iftar dinners. They took place at the Karama Center. The first one was with Palestinians and Israelis from our grantee organization Tech2Peace. The second one was a cohort of over 100 Israelis and Palestinians sharing a meal together at the Center. The dinner was hosted by our other grantee organization Judur/Shorashim/Roots and partly covered by B8 of Hope. It welcomed members of Roots as well as other Palestinian and Israeli guests.
Karama is a place that ‘s very dear to our hearts at B8 Of Hope. It is a Palestinian Non-Violence Center, located on a tiny piece of land, belonging to the Abu Awwad Family. It welcomes many peace-building activities, including those of Judur/Shorashim/Roots.
B8 of Hope is very proud to have supported the costs of these Iftar dinners !
MAY – Addition of two grantees in our pool of Grantees / B8 of Hope welcomed two new members into our pool of grantees … under our umbrella : MEET – Middle East Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow and New Story Leadership for the Middle East
MEET brings together promising high school students for a cutting-edge three-year program. Each cohort consists of equal numbers of young men and women, and Israelis and Palestinians are equally represented.Together, they learn computer science, social entrepreneurship, and leadership skills, in a curriculum crafted with MIT (the Massachusetts Institute of Technology), their long-term academic partner. The goal of MEET is to create a generation of leaders who know how to work across political divides from a young age, to extend MIT’s cutting-edge technological education to communities who could not previously access it; to promote STEM education and tech-sector leadership among women and minority groups in Palestine and Israel and finally to inspire their program alumni to create and shape a more just society !
New Story Leadership for the Middle East (NSL) focuses on developing a community of leaders and influencers across Palestine and Israel through a 7 weeks summer program in Washington DC. Palestinian and Israeli young adults who apply to this program are hosted by “pairs” by American families and get work-placements in the offices of Representatives and Senators and in other high-level organizations. Through the NSL program, they learn to use the Narrative Method to craft their personal stories of struggle and hope. Delegates share their stories at speaking engagements on Capitol Hill and across DC. NSL’s delegates participate in strategic meetings with organizations like the United States Institute of Peace, J Street, AIPAC, the United Nations Development Program, and the Swedish Embassy, and with various US Congressmen and Senators. Each delegate arrives in Washington, DC with a proposed Project for Change (PFC). Working together in Palestinian-Israeli teams, they collaborate on joint social impact projects.
It took us a while before we could welcome new beneficiaries… and we hope we can welcome more in the future ! The best way to judge an organization is by the alumni of their programs ! Malak Lahham (MEET Alumna) and Eran Nissan (NSL Alumn) had definitely a key role in our decision !
APRIL – Broadcasting of our Podcast / Our third episode of B8 Of Hope Podcast series is out! It is about a wonderful friendship between two women, a Palestinian and an Israeli, united in their struggle against breast cancer. Ibtisam Erekat and Ruth Ebenstein have a good sense of humour too !
This inspired Ruth who is an independent journalist to create the blog: Laugh Through Breast Cancer
Click here to listen to our podcast on your preferred platform!
Thank you to Ruth and Ibtisam for sharing your very moving story with us. Our heartfelt gratitude to The Spot and OCee Art for producing the podcast series.
APRIL – Launch of our Youth Group / The launch of B8 of Hope’s Youth Group by : Jessica Fayon, Ilona Métais, Yara Amayra and Noa Gur Golan! These 4 young and determined ladies gathered a group of 30 smart brilliant highly educated students and graduates of universities all of the world. Their common ground : they are all interested in peace-building, they have all interacted with B8 of Hope at some point in the past years (either by attending to our events, or interning and volunteering for us or by reaching out to us for their masters or Phd work…). The goal of the B8 youth group is to introduce each of them to one another, to create a network of like minded young peace advocates and give them the confidence that even – and especially – at their young age they can be agents of change. They are our ambassadors and ensure the continuity of B8 of Hope’s work !
APRIL – Joint Memorial Day Ceremony / Two of our grantees Combatants for Peace and Parents-Circle’s participated in the joint memorial ceremony in Jerusalem. It was broadcasted live on our Facebook page. The ceremony reached over 280 000 viewers !
Click on the image on the right to watch the very moving ceremony!
APRIL – Participation to an educational panel / B8 of Hope was part of the International School of Geneva’s Parents Promoting pedagogy evening and we talked about peace-building and the implications for education !
APRIL- Peace Prize nomination / One of our grantees has been nominated for a prestigious Peace Prize… (You will hear more about this fantastic news in the coming days!)
MARCH – Participation to a Workshop with Women Wage Peace / On March 24th, Women Wage Peace organized a webinar promoting the role of women in every level of the society and specifically in decisions related to Peace and Security : What a surprise to see former Israeli ambassador of the Israel’s Mission to the UN in Geneva as a key note speaker in this event. Watch Aviva Raz Shechter’s speech.
MARCH – Participation to a Workshop / The last day of March, our chair Mehra Rimer moderated one of the breakout rooms of a zoom workshop by The new Story Leadership, a peace building organization (on B8 of Hope’s radar!) that focuses on developing a community of leaders and influencers across Palestine and Israel. The 31st of March was the last day of #WomensHistoryMonth. NSL’s 20 #SheLeaders met with 5 female representatives of 4 different countries. Together, these women dived into a deep discussion about the problems facing their communities and the role that diplomacy can play in finding solutions.
MARCH – Workshop with Parents Circle / But the month of March was very much about women ! On the International Women’s day, we honoured the mothers of our grantee organisation Parents Circle Families Forum. Despite the fact that they have lost a children into the conflict, they focus on reconciliation and humanisation. On the occasion of March 8th, the members of this unique organisation sent a collection of pressed flowers to Vice President Kamala Harris to represent their hope for a brighter future.
“Where flowers bloom, so does hope.” — Miri Ben Rafael
Click here to view the album.
MARCH – Screening for Disturbing The Peace / the prestigious Geneva private high school Institut Florimont and the Parents Association hosted B8 Of Hope for the third consecutive year for a screening of Disturbing The Peace – a multiple award winning film about humanisation. The film is featuring incredible Israelis and Palestinians (from the organisation Combatants for Peace) who are agents of change, paving a path for a better future in the region. Stephen Apkon and Marcina Hale, the director and co-producers of the film joined by zoom from United States for the Q/A session that followed. The quality of the questions by the students was outstanding ! As one of them underlined : Disturbing the peace is about disturbing one’s own peace… going out of your comfort zone and making change possible. Marcina and Stephen were as inspiring as always. This event was also an opportunity for the co-founder of our B8 of Hope Youth Group Jessica Fayon to invite our young audience to learn more about our peace advocacy and philanthropy activities !
FEBRUARY – Creation of a guest house in Jubbet Adh Dib / During the long Swiss winter and the even longer semi-lockdown, the news that lifted our spirits was the completion of the guest house in Jubbet Adh Dib. Jubbet Adh Dib is an isolated village near the Herodion in the Governorate of Bethlehem. The village has met many challenges in the past years and the women have taken matters into their own hands. B8 of Hope’s interaction with the courageous women community of Jubbet Adh Dib occured through the activists of Taghyeer – a Palestinian nonviolence movement which is a member of our pool of grantees. The Jubbet Adh Dib women community is important to us as it represents a show case of Palestinians taking their destiny in hand and making the change they need – this empowerment has a healing effect and generates something positive for the community.
During one of Mehra Rimer ’s visit to Jubbet Adh Dib, Noa Grandchamp, a young Swiss volunteer of B8 of Hope and photo activist took pictures of the villagers and listened to their stories. Noa who was previously a student in photography, and she organised an exhibit upon her return in Geneva. She sold her pictures and gave the proceeds of her sale to Taghyeer, in support of Jubbet Adh Dib. With the help of the movements of volunteers an abandoned venue in the village was turned into a guest house for internationals who visit the region and come as volunteers to help the villagers. The guest room is now up and running ! Taghyeer gave us the great news this month and send us the most recent pictures ! And Thank you Noa for your wonderful and generous initiative and contribution.
FEBRUARY – Parents Circle – An inspiring Zoom / The synergy building approach that we cherish so much, we also aim to apply it to ourselves. We strive to collaborate with other philanthropic organizations and/or peace advocacy entities outside Israel-Palestine. One of them is the UK based online initiative called TalkMatters which provides information that often goes unheard in the media. Examples of this include inspiring stories of the various grassroots projects that encourage Jewish and Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, as well as Palestinian residents in the Palestinian Territories who meet and talk together. B8 of Hope also introduced some of its grantee organisations to TalkMatters and we are deeply grateful that many of the peace-builders whom we support and admire have been interviewed on this platform.
On February 4th, Jenny Nemko the founder of TalkMatters hosted Layla Alsheikh and Yuval Rahamim, two members of the Parents Circle Families Forum. We dug into the zoom recording, kindly provided by Jenny and extracted high-light moments of the talk.
FEBRUARY – Zoom with Parents Circle Families Forum / The Parents Circle Families Forum invited Mehra Rimer to join a very special zoom session with a large group of Palestinian and Israeli bereaved women – who have all lost one or several immediate family members to the conflict. The goal of the session was to learn how to press flowers. Each flower was in honor of the loved ones they had lost. While learning about the art of pressing flowers, each woman shared stories about their lost loved ones as a way to connect with the other women. The pressed flowers, once dried, will then be put into an album for VP Kamala Harris and will be sent to her for International Women’s Day. A very moving event that deeply touched our chair and co-founder who was very honored to be invited by Parent Circle as a VIP foreign guest.
JANUARY – Partnered with the Alliance for Middle East Peace on a photo storytelling project / We started off the new Year by shedding light on amazing Mid East storytellers !
In November 2020, B8 of Hope partnered with the Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP) to organise and share the costs of a photo storytelling workshop for peace-builders. The purpose was to introduce them to a new form of storytelling, to train them up in new skills and finally to shed light on their activities in the process.
Two experts in photo storytelling enabled the 15 Israeli and Palestinian participants (from B8 of Hope and/or Allmep pools of grantees/members) to tell powerful stories through short texts and impactful pictures. On January 21st, a dedicated website was launched and a ceremony was held to unveil the exhibit.
Click here to enjoy the exhibit of the stories. They will be permanently exhibited online and hopefully in art spaces in Geneva as soon as Covid restrictions are lifted.
JANUARY – Launch of Synergy project / Synergy is a key word in our B8 of Hope vocabulary. The Oxford dictionary defines it as “the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects”, that’s exactly what we mean by it !
We encourage our grantees to collaborate with each other by sharing their best practices, brainstorming on mutual challenges and lending a hand to each other when it makes sense. These small interactions often make a huge difference at the end of the day!
We launched our « Synergies project » in the summer of 2019, and later on January 28th of this year, we had one of our usual get togethers, online. The 16 grantee NGOs and movements were represented by one or several representatives. During this meeting, we spoke of our conclusions drawn from the B8 of Hope evaluation survey. The “360 degree” survey, carried out in the summer of 2020, explored our impact on our grantees, our peers as well as our audiences and supporters in Switzerland. We highlighted potential areas of improvement and how we seek to address them.
During the virtual gathering we also informed our grantees on our fund-raising and fund-granting plans in 2021. Given the circumstances linked to Covid-19 and the cancellation of this year’s fund-raising gala in Geneva, we reassured them that we will do our best to find new ways to raise the necessary funds in order to maintain our support of their on-going projects.
DECEMBER – Conclusions of our Feedback Report / Throughout the summer of 2020, B8 of Hope carried out a 360° survey to collect feedback about its work on the ground and in Geneva. The idea behind this survey was for us to find out what has gone well since our creation 4 years ago and what needs to be improved. We received feedback from our grantees in Israel and Palestine as well as our supporters in Switzerland and our peers and partners abroad.
Click on this clip to find out more about this self evaluation.
NOVEMBER – Online screening of Disturbing the Peace / On Monday November 16, we co-organized a virtual screening of the multiple award winning film Disturbing the Peace https://www.disturbingthepeacefilm.com/ featuring the Israeli -Palestinian civil society movement Combatants for Peace.
. The other co-organizers were l’AMAGE – Association du Monde Arabe de l’Université de Genève in partnership with Raquel Vidal Remis and Bruna Perestrelo (students of University of Geneva) and Combatants for Peace.
The message of the film and the panel that followed is universal : it is about humanisation, equal rights and transformation. As Souli Khatib and Avner Wishnitzer co-founders of CFP and protagonists of the documentary mentioned it to the audience: it is important to disturb one’s peace and be actively part of the change we want to make for a better future – whether in Israel-Palestine or elsewhere in the world.
Engaging youth communities in universities and schools as part of our role as educators for peace.
OCTOBER -> DECEMBER – Organization and hosting of a youth workshop in Geneva with one of our partners / From October to December, we are collaborating with the Geneva-based initiative Philanthropic Adventures, around a workshop about peace philanthropy with a small group of high-schoolers at the B8 of Hope workspace in Geneva. The purpose of this workshop is about a journey towards peacebuilding through the lenses of B8 of Hope while learning the skills of philanthropy with the facilitator of Philanthropic Adventures, Paola Genovese. Philanthropic Adventures is an educational platform for young people to find information, inspiration and support to take action for social and environmental issues they care about. Philanthropic Adventures aims to democratise the concept of philanthropy and help young people define their engagement and bring change.
“Because giving back and giving well is an adventure full of discovery and emotions”
OCTOBER – Recording of our second Podcast / On October 11th, our co-founder and chair Mehra Rimer was in Ramat-Gan, in the waiting room of the Sheba Hospital – virtually !!! She had the most touching zoom conversation with Dan and Susan, for our B8 of Hope Podcast series featuring The Road to Recovery בדרך להחלמה: an Israeli grassroots initiative which is part of our pool of grantees and consists of a network of Israeli volunteer drivers driving Palestinian patients from checkpoints to Israeli hospitals for specific treatments that are not available in Palestinian hospitals.
Dan is an Israeli volunteer driver and Susan, a Palestinian mother of two young children, one with a form of cancer and the other with a severe disorder called periodic paralysis. This was a first hand experience of the work of Road to Recovery : humanitarian action and humanisation.
Life is hard enough : who wants to talk about conflict and peace when basics needs are not met ?
Road to Recovery addresses some of the medical needs. But not just that. The conversation in the car and in the waiting room also matter. Stopping by the beach or going to the park on the way back home and finishing a hard stay at the hospital on a positive note also matter. Changing the mindsets of people and creating people-to-people connections are pre-conditions for a path to peace. Road to Recovery is definitely paving a path ! Every angle counts !
OCTOBER – Participation to Polyphony’s Scholar in Residence Seminar / In end of October, B8 of Hope supported Polyphony’s Scholar in Residence Seminar: a series of workshops that bring together Arab and Jewish young musicians around their shared passion for music.
OCTOBER – Collaboration with an intern in Geneva / We welcomed our new intern Jessica Fayon, a graduate of London Regent’s University with a Major in Media and Communications. She is currently remodeling our digital presence.
AUGUST – Hosting of one of our partners in Geneva / B8 of Hope hosted Grégoire Durruz. Grégoire works in Jerusalem for the German organization Ageamundo and his work is very much linked to the one of our grantees Combatants for Peace. Being able to brainstorm with Grégoire in presence was a great opportunity to think of new ways of engaging young people in the universal message of Combatants for Peace : There is another way (than war). Meetings with students and B8 of Hope supporters took place during the 24 hour Grégoire had in Geneva and we hope that we will be able to explore the options we thought of.
JUNE – Hosting of two young peace builders / On June 29th, Yara Amayra and Noa Golan came to Geneva for a 48-hour stay with us.
At the beginning of this year, they came to study abroad, Noa in Amsterdam and Yara in Dijon. Before they head back home this summer, we gave them a chance to see each other without complications. It was also an opportunity for our B8 of Hope friends and volunteers to meet with them. Many of which had seen the documentary Guerrières de la Paix (partly funded by B8 of Hope) about the Women Wage Peace movement, featuring Yara and Noa.
Day 1 was fun and busy! We started off at the B8 of Hope work space on a Zoom call organized by volunteer Milena Caye with a group of Swiss and French International students which also included two of our last summer’s interns Ilona Métais and Parker Bryan. The take-away words from this zoom were : Inspiration, Hope, Respect for the other, Open mindness, Coexistence and Appeasement.
JUNE – Recording of our first podcast episode / On the second day of their stay in Geneva, Noa and Yara participated in B8 of Hope podcast, first episode (click here to listen via Spotify, Anchor or Soundcloud), in which they spoke about their story of friendship. Thank you The Spot for hosting us! Finally, the day ended with a socially distanced get together with friends of the B8 of Hope community at David and Mehra Rimer’s house.
Noa and Yara will be the leaders and key drivers of our B8 of Hope Youth Group.
JUNE – Networking in Luxembourg / Summer started with a great visibility move from our end, by helping A Land For All – Two States One Homeland to get an interview on the English language medium RTL Today in Luxembourg. A Land for All’s Meron Rapoport and Thabet Abu Rass had an opportunity to explain their vision of an alternative political solution in the form of 2 sovereign states, Israel and Palestine, in one homeland.
Watch the interview online
JUNE – Participation to the virtual end of year ceremony of Teachers’ Lounge / Mehra Rimer, our chairwoman participated to the virtual end of year ceremony of Teachers’ Lounge.
Watch the recording
MAY -> JUNE – Participation to the organization of Tech2Peace’s summer seminar / Tech2Peace opened the registrations for their summer seminars. Young Israelis and Palestinians responded in mass – the quantity of replies were overwhelming! B8 of Hope took part in the selection process of choosing the participants. We also provided Tech2Peace with 2 prestigious speakers from Geneva, Pierre Hazan (in May) and Abir Oreibi (in June), in the framework of T2P’s on-line alumni program.
MAY – Creation of more synergies and partnerships between movements and NG0s / Early in 2020, we partnered with a German organization called Forum ZFD, which expertise is capacity building. Their Jerusalem-based facilitators first designed a workshop on Partnership and Synergies building that was supposed to take place in the West Bank end of March: more than 30 peace-builders from different organizations were supposed to spend time together exploring collaboration opportunities. Due to Covid, we concentrated the concept in a two-hour zoom, which ended up happening early May. It was not the same as a in person immersion and retreat ! Yet, it brought very fruitful results.
MAY – Participation to a musical video clip / In early may, B8 of Hope participated in a clip and song called “Home (from home)” by the The Jerusalem Youth Chorus, with David Broza, Mira Awad, Achinoam Nini, stars from Hamilton and YouTube, legendary vocal activists, and a hundred of the JYC friends from around the world (including Mehra Rimer – representing B8 Of Hope).
“Home” is a song of solidarity and welcome sharing that feeling of togetherness. As Melanie DeMore: Vocal Activist says it : “music is a weapon of mass connection !” and B8 of Hope was very honoured to be connected to this project.
Watch the video
APRIL – Support to the virtual joint Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day Ceremony / B8 of Hope invited its community of friends, supporters and peace-builders to participate to the virtual gathering, livestreamed from Tel Aviv and Ramallah. This annual event, co-organized by Combatants for Peace and The Parents Circle – Families Forum, has now become the largest joint Israeli and Palestinian peace event in history! B8 of Hope has been a financial support of it. Many members of the peace-building community and members of The Alliance for the Middle East Peace (ALLMEP) have been partnering with the ceremony.
This year, more than 200,000 people joined from all over the world to show that war is not inevitable and that the pain is the same on both sides.
Watch the video recording
APRIL -> MAY – Organization of a fundraising campaign for a humanitarian intervention / Through April and May, we rolled up our sleeves and became hands-on: temporarily trading in our familiar Humanization hat for a needs-based Humanitarian one. 500 packages for a one-month supply of food were assembled and distributed in 20 West Bank communities, bringing much needed relief to 500 families made vulnerable by the pandemic’s economic consequences. Our grantee movement Taghyeer’s volunteers and activists administered this life-saving project.
Watch the video
APRIL -> MAY – Funding of personal protection equipment in support of our grantees collaboration / Palestinian Patients suffering from chronic diseases such as cancer, kidney failure and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome were given supplies to protect themselves from the corona virus. Personal Protection Equipment including masks, gloves, hand sanitizers and hazard suits for 60 people were purchased and distributed by Taghyeer and Green Land Society for Health Development to patients who need this equipment for weekly medical treatment.
Watch the video
APRIL -> MAY – Fostering on synergies / B8 of Hope’s grantees united the efforts to help chronically ill patients receive their medical treatments on time. Along with local partner organization Green Land Society for Health Development, Taghyeer helped these patients to access hospitals safely by supplying 40 Palestinian volunteers. From the West Bank to Israel, they ensured patients’ security in transit and at checkpoints, and obtained special medical movement permits to facilitate travel between the different Palestinian governorates.
MARCH – Presentation at a private event in Geneva / Our chairwoman Mehra Rimer was invited to speak at a private event in Geneva about our work at B8 of Hope and our Israeli and Palestinian superheroes and their grassroots initiatives of humanisation, transformation and change.
It was a true honour of her to have Francois Zimeray as a co-speaker. He gave a fascinating perspective of the history and politics of Israel and Palestine to the audience. “Accuracy”, “sophistication”, “lucidity”, “nuanced” are words which describe his analysis.
For those who don’t know him, he has so many hats : lawyer, former European deputy, former French Ambassador to Denmark and France’s ambassador in charge of human rights (more than 100 missions across the world!) and last but not least : author of “J’ai vu partout le même visage” (I saw the same face everywhere I went), Editions Plon.
Our favorite quote by François : ““We don’t have a partner for peace”. I have heard this excuse so many time to justify inaction ! What my journeys in a world of conflicts have thought me is that it takes effort to find one’s partner. Mandela and De Klerk had found each other. There is always someone, on the other side, to talk to about a possible reconciliation and future. If you don’t have a partner, empower one !”
FEBRUARY -> SEPTEMBER – Collaboration with a remote intern / End of February, we welcomed our new intern Destiny Spruill from the School of International and Public Affairs of Columbia University. The intership program remained remote due to Covid and finished in September 2020. Our intern, who obtained a master degree in conflict resolution, gained a deep knowledge of the peace community in Israel-Palestine. She interviewed and learned first hand information from the paece activists about the challenges on the ground and the transformational and positive experience in peace-activism. She carried a survey for us, measuring our impact on the organizations and movements inside our pool. The conclusions of the survey are a reality check for us and a way to improve our ways of support.
FEBRUARY – Raising Awareness in Geneva / It is now a tradition to screen Steve Apkon and Marcina Hale’s documentary Disturbing the Peace in local Geneva high schools, and spread its important message: “There is another way” than violence. This is a message that applies to any conflict. The Combatants for Peace (CFP) who are featured in this documentary used Skype to talk with the audience shortly after the screening hosted by Institut Florimont. Students were invited to ask questions to one of the protagonists and leaders of CFP.
This B8 of Hope event was organized in partnership with Institut Florimont. We are infinitely grateful to the Geneva schools that are willing to expose their students to our work.
You can find pictures of this event here.
FEBRUARY – Hosting of one of our partners from the Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP) / Coincidentally, John Lyndon, ALLMEP‘s Director, visited Geneva during this time. He kindly agreed to attend the screening, and also answered students’ questions.
FEBRUARY – Celebrating 4 years of B8 of Hope / February 2020 was a special month for B8 of Hope: it was the 4th anniversary the 8 co-founders’ first meeting. In 2016, we were a group of friends, all from different backgrounds and cultures, who decided to contribute as best we could to support the inspiring movements and organizations in the region. Four short years later, we are an important organization as well as a key player abroad and in the field.
This is a picture of our very first meeting back in 2016
JANUARY – Conference and hosting of The Parent Circle Families Forum / we were very honored to host The Parent Circle Families Forum (PCFF) in Geneva for the first time. This joint Israeli Palestinian organization consists of more than 600 bereaved families who have lost an immediate family member in the conflict. Members refuse to see each other as enemies; they work hand in hand to build connections and reach reconciliation. Their Israeli and Palestinian representatives Robi Damelin and Bassam Aramin spent three days in Geneva, attending various meetings. The main event was their presentation at the International school of Geneva’s Centre des arts, a venue that frequently and generously opens its doors to B8 of Hope for this kind of event. Robi and Bassam spoke to a full room of B8 of Hope and Ecolint guests from the Jewish, Arab, local Swiss and expat communities. The Parent Circle Families Forum’s message is universal: “If I, who lost a close family member, can walk the path of peace, then surely you can too”. Click here to read the newspaper article published by Heidi.news about Bassam and Robi.
You can find pictures of this event here.
JANUARY – Networking in Geneva / One of this winter’s highlights, before we all switched to confinement mode, was a lunch in Geneva in honor of Chemi Peres, son of the late Shimon Peres and current chair of the Peres Center for Peace and Innovations. B8 of Hope’s Steering Committee was represented by Luc Fayon, David and Mehra Rimer.
NOVEMBER – Conference and hosting of activists from A Land for All in Geneva/ November was busy with the visit of activists from of A Land for All – Two States, One Homeland in Geneva. The representatives of this movement presented their vision in a conference co-organised by B8 of Hope and the University of Geneva. We also organized several meetings with diplomats and key figures in Switzerland. This trip was an opportunity for A Land for All Two States One Homeland to get more visibility and receive feedback about their vision in order to explore it further.
You can find pictures of this event here.
OCTOBER – Networking at the international J-Street Conference in Washington D.C. / In October, Mehra Rimer attended the J-Street Conference in Washington D.C.. This was a premiere for our chairwoman and a good opportunity to be supportive of several of the representatives of the NGOs in our pool, who participated in the panels this important forum.
You can find pictures of this event here.
JULY – Visits on the ground / July was a busy month for Jean-Marc Liling our officer on the ground in Jerusalem and our chair Mehra Rimer who spent a month in Israel and Palestine, participating to many workshops sponsored by B8 of Hope in Nablus, Gush Etsion, Jerusalem, Rishon Lezion and meetings all over the land from Tel-Aviv to Jericho. New potential organisations were explored.
You can find pictures of this trip here.
JULY – Synergies workshop between activists on the ground / Mehra and Jean-Marc as well as another B8 co-founder David, organised a small event on the ground, focused on a “synergies project” to create links among the pool of activists we support.
JUNE – Hosting of young activists from Jerusalem Youth Chorus for their concerts in partnership with Coexistences in Lausanne / In June, another of B8 of Hope’s newest protégés The Jerusalem Youth Chorus came to Switzerland to participate to a program by the Swiss association Coexistences – which is based in Lausanne and which we sometimes partner with. The members of Coexistences are dear friends of us and we have much respect for their work. On top of their week long program with Coexistences, The Jerusalem Youth Chorus performed 2 concerts – in Lausanne and at the UN in Geneva.
JUNE – Collaboration with interns in Geneva / During this same month we also had our first interns : three brilliant students from the Geneva Graduate Institute, Mc Gill in Montreal and Wesleyan in Connecticut.
MAY – Screening of documentary “The Fied” in Geneva / Later in May, B8 of Hope partnered with the International Oriental Film Festival around the screening of « The Field », a documentary about the beginnings of Judur/Shorashim/Roots, an Israeli-Palestinian joint initiative of dialogue and bridge-building. B8 of Hope served as a liaison for the festival and hosted the director of the film Rav. Mordechai Vardi, who responded the audience’s questions after the screening. The associations J-Call and Cercle Martin Buber were also partners of the Festival for that specific screening and invited their circles to join the screening.
MAY – Visits on the ground / In May, our chair Mehra Rimer went to Israel for a short trip to meet the activists of The Road to Recovery. During that same trip, Mehra also attended the Combatants for Peace Alternative Memorial Ceremony. She wanted to see for herself the impact and power of this ceremony where bereaved parents share their sorrow and pay respect the their late beloved children.
You can find pictures of this trip here.
APRIL – Presentation to Colombia University’s students in Washington D.C. / Professor Zachary Metz, from Colombia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) invited B8 of Hope to give a presentation about our work to his students of Masters in Peace Building.
You can see the pictures of this event here.
APRIL – Screening of documentary “Les Guerrières de la Paix” in Geneva / Yara Amayra came back to Geneva on the occasion of a screening of a documentary called « Guerrières de la Paix » by film director Hanna Assouline, about the Women Wage Peace movement. The screening was hosted by the association Giving Women and in partnership with B8 of Hope.
MARCH – Hosting of various partners & activists in Geneva / Right after the gala, B8 of Hope took the opportunity of John Lyndon (European Director of Allmep in Paris) and his regional director Huda Abuarquob’s presence in Switzerland to take them to Bern for a meeting with members of the Swiss Conseil National (parliament) and Department of Foreign Affairs. The Alliance for Middle East peace lobbies governments in order to build an international fund in favour and support of Israeli and Palestinian civil society organisations paving a path for peace. ALLMEP believes that the civil society and the work of grassroots activists can have a strong impact – from bottom up – on a sustainable peace process. We are very supportive of ALLMEP’s work and grasp opportunities to help our fellow colleagues from this important organisation.
MARCH – Fundraising Gala evening in Geneva / The first half of 2019 was focused on the preparation of our second fund raising gala. The gala was held on March 11th at the Intercontinental Hotel. A full room: with almost 500 guests from the Geneva Jewish and Arab communities, international expats and Swiss locals. The amazing speakers moved us to tears. They represented the voices of different initiatives we support both in Israel and Palestine: Raz Kones (Israeli peace activist), Yara Amayra (Palestinian peace activist), Huda Abuarquob (the regional director of Alliance for Middle East Peace/Allmep) and Ali Abu Awwad (Founder of Taghyeer/Change). Maz Jobrani (Iranian American actor and stand up comedian) on the other hand made us laugh to tears! The evening was a great success in terms of atmosphere and fund-raising. The message we try to pass on: let’s be pro-solution and help those who are paving a path for peace was well received by our community of supporters.
You can find pictures of this event here. and watch the recordings of the speakers’ interventions there.
NOVEMBER – Presentation to the Innovations in Conflict Resolution and Mediation Conference in Tel Aviv / In November, Mehra Rimer is invited as a guest speaker at the University of Tel-Aviv in a conference about Innovations in Conflict Resolution and Mediation.
You can find pictures of this event here.
OCTOBER – Screenings of the documentary “Les Guerrières de la Paix” and panel discussion / In October, B8 of Hope organized another series of screenings at Ecole Internationale de Geneve and Ciné 17. The documentary about Women Wage Peace called “Les Guerrières de la Paix” (The Warriors for Peace) was produced and directed by young and brilliant film director Hanna Assouline. B8 of Hope participated in the funding of this inspiring documentary. The screenings were in presence of Hanna and 2 protagonists.
You can find a video and pictures of this event here.
Hosting of activists from Taghyeer / At the end of the summer, Ali Abu Awwad and Riyad Al-Halees came for a visit to Switzerland for networking and encounters with B8 of Hope supporters and to work and share with us the draft of the Palestinian non-violence declaration soon to be signed with a large numbers of other Palestinian organizations sharing the same values of non-violence.
AUGUST – Hosting of youth group from Roots for a get-together in partnership with Coexistences / In August, we participated in a beautiful project by Coexistences. Coexistences’ area of expertise is to organise stays for Israeli-Palestinian groups in Switzerland so that these groups can continue their bridge-building work away from the conflict in intensive coexistence. This summer they invited a Youth Group of Roots to Switzerland to go through one of their programs. Since we had funds aside for Roots, we covered the costs of the flights for the 16 Palestinians and Israeli teenagers. At the end of the program, the kids told B8 of Hope and Coexistences members : Before coming to Switzerland we were participants of a program, today we are friends. If each Palestinian and each Israeli had a friend from the other side, they will never look at things the same way.
You can find pictures of this event here.
JULY – Visits on the ground / In July, Mehra Rimer, Chair of B8 of Hope, spent a whole month on the ground checking on the projects we sponsor and exploring new possibilities and new initiatives to take under the umbrella of our organization. The highlights of the trip were a visit to the village of Jubbet Adh Dib, around the non-violence development activities such as the greening of the village, a gathering with Women Wage Peace under their tent in the Rose Garden in Jerusalem next to the Knesset, the Photography workshop at Roots with Saskia Keely and Mehra’s group of friends and supporters from Geneva who were part of the first week of the trip. More exciting meetings with the Combatants for Peace, 2 States 1 Homeland. The visit of Hand in Hand School and Inon Kalati from the Beit.
You can find pictures of this trip here and a video of the visit of the village of Jubbet Adh Dib there.
MAY – Hosting of activist from Taghyeer / In May, we also hosted Ali Abu Awwad for some work session around his work at Taghyeer(Change) and the improvement of structures at the Karama Center.
MAY – Hosting of activists from Combatants for Peace / In May, we hosted one of Combatants for Peace Israeli co-founders, Avner Wishnitzer for a short and an informal visit and encounters with our team and some of our supporters. Avner Wishnitzer told us that “ Hope is like a candle, the current situation like a hurricane, we must do everything we can to keep the flame alive”. A very inspiring visit that motivated all of us to pursue our mission of hope.
APRIL – Networking at the international Skoll World Forum in Oxford / In April, Mehra Rimer, Chair of B8 of Hope, participated in the Skoll World Forum in Oxford, where she had networking opportunities with other philanthropic foundations and social entrepreneurs. This was an opportunity for the B8 of Hope chair to learn from more experienced NGOs on the ground in different countries and to make more connections with Israeli and Palestinian organizations present at the Skoll World Forum.
FEBRUARY – Screenings and panel discussion for students about the documentary “Disturbing the Peace” / 2018 started for B8 of Hope with more screenings of Disturbing the Peace at Ecole Moser and Institut Florimont during the month of February 2018. Each time, three of B8 of Hope Steering committee members were present to answer questions of students after the screenings. We were also given the opportunity to talk about our work as a Swiss-based association promoting grassroots initiatives of dialogue, bridge-building and non-violence in Israel and Palestine. A heartfelt thank you to Ecole Moser and to Institut Florimont for having us ! We are hoping to extend the experience to Geneva public schools.
You can find pictures of this event here.
DECEMBER – Hosting of Ali Abu Awwad for his participation to the panel Human Rights Festival in Zurich / We ended the year by bringing Ali Abu Awwad to Switzerland again, where he came for work sessions with the B8 of Hope team. He also participated in a panel in the Zurich Human Rights Festival on December 7th.
NOVEMBER – Networking in Paris / In November, B8 of Hope was in Paris again in support of Women Wage Peace representatives Marie-Lyne Smadja and Amal Rihane who participated in a panel on the occasion of a commemorative event organized by La Maison Itshak Rabin at the Marie du 20ème arrondissement. Huda Abuarquob’s and Joel Braunold ‘s (director of ALLMEP) presence in Paris in November was a nice occasion to connect and exchange notes about Allmep and B8 ‘s work.
OCTOBER – Networking in Morocco / End of October, Ali Abu Awwad and Huda Abuarquob (regional director of Alliance for the Middle East Peace) were invited to the Essaouira Jewish-Arab music festival where they were heard in different panels. Thanks to our connections in Morocco, we opened a window for them among a new public in the Arab world.
OCTOBER – Screenings of the documentary “Disturbing the peace” and panel discussions in Geneva / We organized six screenings of the documentary which were followed by a panel with two members of Combatants for Peace (CfP), one Israeli, Chen Alon and one Palestinian, Sulaiman Khatib, as well as film director and producer Stephen Apkon and producer Marcina Hale, who answered questions and talked about their personal experience. 1000 participants (including high school students) from Geneva and region were present at the different screenings which took place at the Ciné 17, Ecole internationale de Genève campuses of La Grande Boissière, La Chataigneraie and Nations and the Institut Le Rosey Concert Hall. The screenings and panels led to a significant fund raising for CfP activities on the ground.
You can find pictures of this event here.
SEPTEMBER – Networking in Geneva / Thanks to our efforts, singer Miriam Toukan and musician Idan Toledano (both involved in peace work respectively with Women Wage Peace and Combatants for Peace) were invited to perform at the Ecole Internationale de Geneve, La Grande Boissière, on the occasion of the International Peace Day. These same efforts also enabled the Cartooning for Peace Foundation, founded by French cartoonist Jean Plantu, to meet activists in Israel and Palestine with the aim of collaborating on a potential cartooning project on the ground.
SEPTEMBER – Presentations about Roots in Paris / In September 2017, Ali Abu Awwad and Jean-Marc Liling were back in Paris for more presentations about Roots. They were invited by Le Monde Festival to take part in a panel – the link of their full intervention is under our media section. Ali and Jean-Marc spoke also at Ecole Jeannine Manuel, The American Graduate School and Sciences-Po Paris. They also visited an under-privileged vocational school in the suburbs of Paris where they spoke to educators about antisemitism and islamophobia and their words were very impactful and the example they set through Roots, was inspiring to their audience, in the context of France’s integration issues.
JUNE – Synergies meeting between activists on the ground / A nice gathering was kindly hosted upon our request by Ali Abu Awwad at the Karama (Dignity) Center in Gush Etsion. The Karama Center, which is built on a land belonging to the Abu Awwad family, is becoming a hub for non-violence activities, an incubator for non-violence developments. At the gathering in June, different activists (including from Women Wage Peace) and members of other organizations (including US Friends of Roots and US Friends of Taghyeer Movement) and international and local visitors were present. This is part of B8 of Hope’s efforts to create a synergy between the initiatives and supporters abroad.
JUNE – Visits on the ground / B8 of Hope members went on the ground to meet with the activists and follow up on the projects which we raised funds for at our gala and also to make new connections.
Different workshops of Women Wage Peace, Roots, Taghyeer which we sponsored took place.
Inspiring meeting with members of Combatants for Peace at their headquarters in Beit Jala.
B8 of Hope met with the directors of two music institutes: the Polyphony foundation in Nazareth and Keshet Eilon in the North of Israel, in the framework of a common bridge-building project carried by both institutes. The inspiring meeting, followed by a wonderful private concert given by the students of Polyphony led to B8 of Hope’s decision to sponsor substantially the budget of the bridge-building musical program.
B8 of Hope, in collaboration with the Threshold Foundation, also introduced The Forest Trust/Earthwoms – a Swiss foundation specialized in ecological issues to the Karama center where a “greening project” was initiated as part of the non-violence developments that the center would like to promote.
You can find pictures of this trip here.
MARCH – Fundraising Gala evening in Geneva / On March 23 at the prestigious Intercontinental Hotel in Geneva, in the presence of activists from Judur/Shorashim/Roots and Women Wage Peace, and 470 guests from the Geneva Arab and Jewish diasporas and others. The activists talked about the work on the ground. Shaul Judelman (co-founder and co-director of Roots) gave a moving description of why Roots ‘ work is needed. Huda Abuarquob (Allmep) gave her perspective on the work on the ground. Yael Treidel talked about the high light moments of the Women Wage Peace march in October.
The Jewish and Arab Israeli singers and musicians Yael Deckelbaum, Miriam Toukan, Adam Ben Ezra and Liron Miyuhas lend their art and voice to the service of Peace and contributed to the exceptional atmosphere of the evening.
Thanks to the immense generosity of our guests, we were able to collect enough funds to help different projects of Roots, Taghyeer, Women Wage Peace and a specific Children’s program by the Peres Center for Peace. Updates about the projects are in the first edition of our newsletter.
You can find pictures of this event here.
Presentations about Roots in Paris / were given by Ali Abu Awwad and Jean-Marc Lilling (Israeli lawyer and Roots activist) at the Ecole Jeannine Manuel, Science-Po Paris and Cercle Bertrand Lazare and the Mouvement juif liberal de France. A small fund raising evening was organized at a private home. The funds were partially allocated to essential construction work at the Karama center where Roots‘ activities take place.
You can find pictures of this event here.
Hosting of activists from Women Wage Peace for their presentation at the Graduate Institute in Geneva / Huda Abuarquob (regional director of The Alliance for the Middle East Peace / ALLMEP) and Yael Treidel (Women Wage Peace) were invited to speak about Women Wage Peace at the Graduate Institute in Geneva.
MARCH – Hosting of an activist from Taghyeer for his participation to a panel discussion in Geneva / Ali Abu Awwad (co-founder of Roots and founder of Taghyeer) participated in a panel about Israelis and Palestinians working together to pave a path for peace at the Geneva Festival et Forum du film des droits humains and at the University of Geneva Global Studies.
Capacity building support to Roots / We helped them put in place a better structure and administrative support so that the activists can concentrate their efforts where they are most needed, on the ground, as well as bringing greater transparency to the use of their funds.
SEPTEMBER – Financial support to Taghyeer-Change / B8 of Hope covered parts of the expenses of the organization’s launching event in Jericho in September 2016 that gathered more than 4000 Palestinians who rallied the movement.
Visit on the ground / We met with activists, including members of Women Wage Peace (a movement claiming a return to table of negotiations), and we traveled to Israel and Palestinian Authority Territories in the West Bank, to explore new initiatives.
Fundraising and individual meetings / in Geneva and San Francisco
Registering of our non-profit association in Geneva
on May 20th, 2016