Creativity for Peace prepares the next generation of female leaders and peacemakers in Israel and Palestine. Its programs include a three-week summer camp in New Mexico focused on dialogue and therapeutic art-making, year-round gatherings and workshops, academic scholarships, and intensive emotional and practical training for young women who wish to make peacemaking an integral part of their lives.
The causes of conflict in Israel and Palestine are well-documented and complex. In essence, these two peoples claim the right to the same land. Creativity for Peace works to overcome many of the impediments to reconciliation, including:
● Hatred – Deep-seated anger rooted in the belief that the other side wants nothing less than the total annihilation of their people. Each side blames the other for their ongoing suffering. These feelings can become despair and radicalism in young people.
● Actual harm – Fatalities, injuries, loss of property, and humiliation on both sides.
● Segregation and stereotyping – Even inside Israel, Arabs and Jews live in segregated societies and have few opportunities to get to know one another as individuals. Each society’s media, political, and social institutions perpetuate stereotypes about the other side, which emphasize difference as a justification for aggressive attitudes and policies.
● Belief that peaceful coexistence is impossible – In order for one side to “win,” the other side must “lose.” Young Israelis, whose grandparents are Holocaust survivors, are afraid of losing the only country they feel is safe for Jews. Young Palestinians, whose grandparents lost their homes in the 1948 war, are afraid to cede any ground to Israelis.
When the deLaski Family Foundation began supporting Creativity for Peace, the organization was in early development. Since receiving the Foundation’s support, the effort has grown significantly in its program design, staffing, fundraising, outreach, and infrastructure, and it is now able to support a year-round program in Israel and Palestine. In particular, the young leader program, which includes dozens of young women (many of whom have been actively working as peacemakers for many years) has become a model for women’s leadership development and Palestinians and Israelis leading in partnership.
About the Founder
Rachel Kaufman has 40 years experience as psychotherapist, educator, and social activist. She co-founded Creativity for Peace in 2003 out of a realization that it only takes one person to change history. She has a Masters Degree in Educational Psychology and a second Masters in Counseling Psychology and has worked as a teacher of special education and a clinical and school associate psychologist. In 1987, Rachel and husband Rick Phillips created the Deva Foundation with the philosophy that expansion of self-awareness can aid people in reaching their full potential.
She has trained over 100 facilitators from 11 countries in this transpersonal psychology work. Rachel has conducted workshops and lectures throughout the world. She began traveling to Israel and Palestine in 1973 and has worked with Palestinian and Israeli peace groups, conducted video histories of Holocaust survivors for Steven Spielberg's "Shoah" project, and co-produced and wrote a documentary on the Holocaust that is used in American high schools and universities. A native New Mexican, she is the mother of two grown sons.