The Centre for Creativity in Education and Cultural Heritage (CCECH)
Shared Society Programmes Bringing Cultures Together
While the world watches the cycle of violence, counter violence and the struggle for peace in the Middle East, it is ordinary people who must seek ways of really living together, of learning how to co-operate with each other, and reach beyond the negative stereotypes that are constantly reinforced by current events and the images presented in the media. We believe that it is on the ground where productive co-existence will be defined. It is crucial that viable relationships are developed between neighbouring Jewish and Arab, Israeli and Palestinian, communities.
The Centre for Creativity in Education and Cultural Heritage, a registered Israeli non profit-making organisation, runs folklore programmes that bring together Jewish and Arab school-communities (children, parents, grandparents, educators) in atmospheres of serious learning and fun. We also work with mixed groups of Arab and Jewish educators in Teacher Training and Enrichment courses, whose learning about each others’ cultures enables them to develop empathetic, challenging and personal dialogues. Our objectives are to give the participants ongoing opportunities of being together in dynamic, creative settings in which they get to know something of each other's ways of life, hopes and dreams of the future.
Since 1991, we have worked with several thousand of children and their families in paired Jewish and Arab schools. The longer the schools work together, the stronger the relationship between the communities. The teachers benefit from their cross-cultural professional relationships, while multi-generational social ties are developed between families. Each successive group of children and their families enter an existing relationship between their paired Arab and Jewish school-communities which they have looked forward to joining.
In offering people a way of experiencing each other in personal and positive terms, the tension between neighbouring Jewish and Arab communities can be greatly reduced. Our real hope for the future lies in the quiet persistence of dedicated people who show our children an alternative to violence. In the context of our programmes, it is the teachers, parents and grandparents who, in their traditional roles as imparters of wisdom, help children realise the richness of their own home-cultures while reinforcing their capacity to reach out to each other.