Ross conducted more than 100 interviews with former participants and program staff and spent more than 200 hours observing their programming in order to understand the structure and pedagogical approaches of each organization. She also analyzed the impact of the youth meetings in terms of the depth of changes in their belief systems and their continued social change engagement.“Looking at impact in terms of continued engagement in significant in two ways,” writes Ross. “First, it shifts the discussion from an internal focus to one emphasizing externally oriented initiatives. Moreover, looking at impact in terms of social change engagement enables us to see how programs that aim to transform individuals can link to societal-level shifts.”Decades after the Oslo Accords, alienation and distrust has grown between Jews and Palestinians in Israel, and grassroots groups struggle to find funding to continue their important work to shape participants’ national identity, vision of social change, and motivation to continue to work toward the transformation of Israeli society.
Yet Karen Ross’ investigation and findings on how individual transformation can lead to larger-scale societal change provide not only new insights to conflict resolution methodology and practice but also bring renewed hope for the possibility of Jewish-Palestinian partnership. Continue reading.