Social Capitalists: PeaceWorks Foundation

43 entrepreneurs who are changing the world
Social Capitalist 2008 Winner

PeaceWorks Foundation

Daniel Lubetzky, president
New York, New York
peaceworks.net
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Since its inception in 2002, Peaceworks' OneVoice grassroots movement has taken a bold approach to engaging Palestinians and Israelis in greater civic involvement. Spawned during a time of hopelessness and frustration following the collapse of the Oslo process, OneVoice strives to empower the moderate majority of Israelis and Palestinians to take a more assertive role in resolving the conflict. OneVoice works to reframe the conflict, transcending the "left vs. right" and "Israeli vs. Palestinian" paradigms and revealing that the moderate majority can prevail over the absolutist vision of an extremist minority, which so often succeeds in derailing the peace process.

Conceived by the PeaceWorks Foundation, OneVoice is run by Israelis and Palestinians through offices in Tel Aviv, Ramallah, and Gaza City. In addition to its unique methodology, OneVoice deploys cutting edge technology, electronic democracy, a network of activists and member organizations, and a broad cadre of experts, dignitaries, celebrities, business leaders and spiritual authorities. Its award-winning Public Negotiations Process educates people about the issues themselves as well as about the art of negotiation and non-violent conflict resolution. The OneVoice Leadership Program equips hundreds of young Israelis and Palestinians with grassroots leadership and community organization skills, empowering them to propel the majorities on both sides to demand accountability from elected representatives and to ensure that the agenda for peace is not hijacked by forces of violent absolutism.

A few of our successes so far:

  • Over 600,000 Israelis and Palestinians have signed on to the OneVoice Movement, committing to break barriers and find consensus where they thought it impossible.
  • OneVoice's Israeli office has built an unprecedented coalition amongst the youth wings of all seven of Israel’s largest political parties, affirming principles of non-violence, democracy and supporting OneVoice’s work for a popular mandate for peace.
  • Hundreds of volunteers helped our Palestinian office run the first ever non-partisan ‘Get Out the Vote’ campaign in the history of the Arab world during the Palestinian Presidential elections in January 2005. In the face of a Hamas boycott, Islamic Chief Justice Sheik Taysir al-Tamimi appeared on a OneVoice public service announcement supporting participation.
  • Our Youth Leadership Program has already trained 3000 of the brightest and most committed Israelis and Palestinians in the skills necessary to engage their societies in the fight against extremism and onto the path for conflict resolution.
  • Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan honored OneVoice with the King Hussein Leadership Prize -— the first ever to be awarded to a joint Israeli- Palestinian organization.

Over the next year, OneVoice will continue to unite and bolster the movement. The newly launched "One Million Voices to End the Conflict" campaign is designed to remind citizens that they have a choice and, in fact, an opportunity to grab the reins of the currently out-of-control situation on the ground, and to garner a groundswell of grassroots support for immediate, uninterrupted, and ongoing negotiations toward a two state agreement. Ultimately OneVoice will enable citizens to push for progress and negotiations with strength and conviction, bridging the gap between the moderate majority and the elected leadership and demanding accountability to the will of the people, while marginalizing their outnumbered extremist counterparts. It is only by transferring societal ownership over the resolution process to ordinary citizens that the Israeli and Palestinian people can take control of their lives and demand real progress toward ending the conflict.