The Breaking Taboos campaign builds on OneVoice's successful track-record of university engagement for the past five years. It encompasses Phase 2 and Phase 3 below, which are comprised of several sub-phases.
Phase 1: On week-long regional speaking tours of U.S. campuses where Israeli and Palestinian youth leaders speak to diverse audiences about the importance of finding common ground in student-organized events.
Phase 2: After the tour concludes, OneVoice will convene a highly-selective regional seminar comprised of the most motivated American student ambassadors from each campus in a particular region. The Israeli and Palestinian Youth Leaders featured on the speaking tour will participate in the session via videoconference, sharing their experiences of creating a substantive dialogue rooted in building consensus in their communities. By bringing the voices of these young leaders who live in the heart of the conflict to address one of the key focal points of antagonism between Jewish, Muslim, Arab, Palestinian, and Israeli students in the U.S. - that of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - OneVoice is able to forge consensus among students of diverse backgrounds and political persuasions. Students will be taught how to start a OneVoice sustainable network and lead positive programming about the conflict on their own campuses, including Town Hall Meetings, film screenings, and panel discussions.
Phase 3: With guidance and resources from OneVoice staff, trained student leaders implement the Breaking Taboos campaign in a series of phases:
a. Start a OneVoice Sustainable Network: Building on the foundations laid by regional tours and training seminars, OneVoice staff will work closely with all student leaders to sustain engagement, leadership, and impact on campuses. Campus Town Hall Meetings and social networking will be the cornerstone of OneVoice mobilization activities in 2010-2011.
b. General campus Town Hall Meeting -explores the final status issues, in which audience members are given a survey based on a polling series developed by Dr. Colin Irwin to drive conflict resolution in Northern Ireland. After taking the poll, audience members are invited to compare their own responses to Israeli and Palestinian public opinion in the region, which will cultivate a dialogue rooted in negotiations and forward-looking solutions.
c. Issue-Specific campus Town Hall Meeting - allows students to build consensus around the foundations laid by the previous session, and equips them with the tools and knowledge to address particularly salient or controversial issues on campus. Replicating the format of the previous session, audience members will be invited to view a range of video media clips from diverse perspectives based on a specific 'taboo' issue (refugees, Jerusalem, or settlements), complete a survey based on Dr. Irwin's methodology, and connect these results to the current situation.
d. Join the International Youth Leadership Council Network (IYLCN) - After passing through Phases 1, 2, 3a, 3b, and 3c, students are invited to join the OneVoice International Youth Leadership Council, which provides an outlet for virtual communication among Israeli, Palestinian, and international students; ample opportunities to compare and reflect on Town Hall Meetings in the U.S. and Israel/Palestine; and allows students to coordinate their campus programming and reflect on their successes and setbacks through blogs, videoconferencing, and international conference calls. From 2010-2011, we will invite 15 students to join the IYLCN.
Phase 4: An international conference in Washington D.C. honoring and linking OneVoice's best and brightest international, Israeli, and Palestinian youth leaders.
For the past five years, OneVoice's International Education Program has targeted college campuses and communities divided by the conflict. Some polarized campus groups engage in serious-and occasionally violent-rejections of the other's perspective, whether advocating for Greater Israel or Historic Palestine, refusing to speak to members of opposing student groups, or publicly protesting one another's initiatives. As groups draw battle-lines against each other, voices of moderation are lost. For many, frustration at their presumed inability to affect change deters students from the paths of moderation and cooperation.
Disarming those who wish to eternally fight over the past and maintain impractical absolutist viewpoints, these Town Hall Meetings unite students from different beliefs and backgrounds who do not normally meet, so that they can find new common ground and provide a realistic model for working in tandem. Whereas many efforts on campus target only individual communities (Jewish or Israeli; Palestinian, Arab, or Muslim), OneVoice's programming builds bridges between religious, ethnic, and political groups who do not frequently engage with one another. One Voice leaves behind a sustainable network for moderate students to be able to coordinate common efforts and provide continuing support for future events across beliefs and cultures. One Voice empowers its members to generate positive programming on campuses and coordinates a series of simultaneous mobilization initiatives intended to highlight common goals and capitalize on the role of Americans in shaping U.S. foreign policy.