Israeli-Arab dialogue experts to visit Penn State

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Israeli-Arab dialogue experts Farhat Agbaria and Shachar Yanai, former co-directors of Givat Haviv (The Jewish-Arab Center for Peace) in Israel, will be visiting Penn State on Jan. 25 through 29 to offer in-depth training to World in Conversation facilitators as well as lectures in sociology classes and talks with student groups. Penn State’s World in Conversation is a student-driven Center for Public Diplomacy housed in the College of the Liberal Arts.

The upcoming visit builds on the work of Laurie Mulvey, executive director of World in Conversation. Her Social Conflict (SOC 425) class enables her to explore with her students the Israeli/Palestinian conflict through virtual dialogues with people in the region.

The public is invited to attend and observe an open dialogue from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 27, in the Foster Auditorium, in 105 Paterno Library. Agbaria and Yanai will facilitate the dialogue with Jewish and Palestinian Penn State students, which will be observed by a live audience. Afterwards, the facilitators will answer questions from the audience.

The visit is being funded by University Park Allocation Committee and sponsored by WinC Partners (the World in Conversation undergraduate student organization), Students for Justice in Palestine and Lions for Israel.  

Agbaria leads programs for teachers and community leaders as well as serving as the senior adviser and facilitator of dialogue groups at Seeds of Peace, a summer camp in Maine that brings together teenagers from Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia for constructive engagement leadership development. He also holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Tel Aviv University.

Yanai has headed a nationwide program that connects children and their parents from Arab and Israeli nationalities through tennis training and other social programming at the Israel Tennis Center. He is currently director of the Undergraduate Division of the International School at Hebrew University and has a master of arts degree in philosophy from Tel Aviv University.

The World in Conversation is dedicated to a vision of transforming conflict into collaboration through peer-facilitated dialogues among university students. The dialogues focus on difficult subjects such as U.S. race relations, climate change, gender and faith as well as cross-cultural encounters between students in different countries as well as between military cadets and civilians in conflict zones.

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Last Updated January 21, 2015