The first "university of peace" for Arabs and Israelis is about to become (virtual) reality. The Israeli-Palestinian pacifist movement, which works towards peace using social networks and similar platforms, has announced that the following September an athenaeum will be active online and provide training for young mid-eastern people who are intentioned on creating a future of peace.
"This university can revolutionise the relations between the young and old generations of the Middle East", said one of YaLa Young Leaders' founders, Uri Savir, a former Israeli negotiator. The news was announced last May 24, coinciding with the celebrations for the group's first year of activity. In 12 months they have been able to prove themselves as a credible voice and mediator in the region and across the ocean. Among the supporters on Facebook (headquarters of the YaLa Young Leaders) are also the leader of the Palestinian National Authority, Abu Mazen, the Israeli president, Shimon Peres, the Director General of Unesco, Irina Bokova, and the Hollywood superstar, Sharon Stone. All of them sent messages of encouragement and congratulations on occasion of the movement's first birthday, celebrated with an avatar party, to which , the organisers claim, thirty-thousand participants "arrived" from all over the Middle East.
The political potential of the YaLa young leaders (and of other similar movements sprouting up numerously in the past few months) does not only emerge through its numbers. In a recent interview on Facebook last March, Peres stated that social networks are the new way towards peace. "Up until now it has been governments who negotiate: but I", the Israeli president declared, " think that the best way to arrive to an agreement is when people negotiate peace talking directly one to another".
These aren't just words. The founders of YaLa Young Leaders (on the Israeli side) come mainly from the Peres Centre for Peace, founded by the president himself, who was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 1994. (ANSAmed).