The 2013 – 2014 Young Peace Performers (YPP) program started in August 2013 Jordan, with the participation of 20 participants from Palestine, Norway, Kenya, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Zambia and Southern Sudan. In Jordan, the participants had orientation on the aims of the program, historical background to the conflict in Israel / Palestine, the political situation in Israel / Palestine, what is occupation and how is it violating the rights of Palestinians, International Law as it relates to the Israeli / Palestinian conflict, peaceful means of resisting the occupation, eg boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign, understanding the Palestinian culture, understanding the Kairos document and process, and practical information.
They received training and workshops on inter-cultural communication, team building, tools for working a group and handling conflict, how to engage in meaningful dialogue / how to hear a story, Subject to Citizen (S2C) training, preparing a show on BDS for the Palestinian context, preparing a workshop on BDS for the Palestinian context.
Only 10 participants, Norwegians and Palestinians, managed to enter to Palestine, while the others were not granted VISAs to Israel, to get to the West Bank. The program in Palestine started in early September, until late December 2013, during which they had visits and meetings arranged by the JAI were they performed the prepared BDS shows and workshops with various Palestinians students and youth groups in Bethlehem, Ramallah, Jerusalem, Hebron, Jericho and Nablus areas, including scouts, schools’ students, university students, civil society and popular committees’ youth groups, YMCA and YWCA youth groups and others. They promoted the BDS campaign locally, illustrated the impact of the BDS campaign on the international and local levels, and encouraged teenagers and students to boycott Israeli products and promote the campaign among their friends and communities, hence engage in global advocacy efforts to end the occupation.
The participants had guided tours and visits to various sites, organizations, groups, farmers, refugees, and children; and joined the Olive Picking Program in October, to deepen their understanding of the realities of living under occupation, show international solidarity with the people of Palestine through listening to their stories. This is beside visiting and getting briefed on the various YMCA and YWCA programs and activities in Palestine.
In Norway, starting from early January until end of April 2014, participants are organizing and implementing presentations, shows and public activities and actions to present their experience in Palestine and why a strong action from the international community is needed. Hence, the BDS campaign, as a powerful and very effective tool, will be primarily promoted and a concept and mechanism within Norwegian youth. This is to raise awareness amongst young Norwegians of the plight of the Palestinians, and mobilize them to join the global efforts for just peace and to act to end the occupation.
Back to their respective countries and movements, participants will also share their experience in Palestine, and work to further activate their movements to get involved in advocacy programs, actions and campaigns for Palestine, including mainly the BDS campaign, as well as participating at the JAI organized programs in Palestine for internationals including the olive planting, olive picking, youth journey for justice, and others.