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  • Ali Obertubbesing 8:43 am on July 11, 2011 Permalink  

    Reflections from the End 

               Sadly, it turned out that I was unable to go to Jordan for the multinational People Power program that I have been working on for the last week and a half. I was looking forward to seeing how the programs turned out and to see the impact that the lessons had on the kids in attendance, as well as to hear their stories and perceptions on their societies and change. So, after five weeks filled with eye-opening experiences, valuable lessons on the realities of peace-building, and truly moving encounters with some of the most amazing people I have ever met, I am left to reflect on the process I have gone through and recognize what has changed for me through my work at Seeds of Peace.   (More …)

  • Ali Obertubbesing 7:54 am on July 11, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: budget,   

    Slow Season 

    July 4

                After a three-day weekend, I was back in the office today. I received some potentially bad news. Due to budget issues, I now may not be able to go to Jordanwith Seeds of Peace for the multinational camp. Before I go to get my visa, I am waiting to hear the final word from the main office inNew York to see if it will be in the budget for me to attend. I hope that I can because I was excited to see the programs and their effects on the kids, as well as looking forward to the opportunity to put my own knowledge and skills to use by having my own workshop. Now, even if it ends up that I can go, I probably will not be able to do a workshop because the program plan has to be finalized by tomorrow, so unless I hear before then, my spot will be filled by something else. So, my internship may be cut short a week, which is unfortunate. I feel like I have learned the most from the trips I have taken with kids present because I hear from the source about the effectiveness of programs and what needs to change to improve them. (More …)

  • Ali Obertubbesing 2:49 pm on July 5, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: conflict, constructive, , multinational,   

    Waging Constructive Conflict 

    June 30

                Today was another day of research and planning for the multinational camp next week. Mohammed asked me to read through the presentation outlines of the four people that will be leading workshops with the participants and then find relevant videos and instructions on the steps to making change, as well as to find several stories about successful cases of people-powered change. This information will be used for his workshop, which will aim to prepare the kids for activism and to become the leaders for change, as well as to show them, through examples, that young people can successfully make change in their communities and greater societies. He also said that there is an open hour and a half in the program schedule for me to make a presentation or do an activity with the kids, so I should start thinking about what that would look like.

                The presentations actually seem pretty interesting. One of them is about targeted advertising and how marketing creates social constructions that contribute to defining identity. (More …)

    • Marie Spaulding 8:18 pm on July 5, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Your experience sounds incredible – I am very eager to hear about the camp and the activities you lead.

  • Ali Obertubbesing 2:45 pm on July 5, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: Jordan, , , , Shabbat   

    People Power 

    June 28

                I had an unexpected day off yesterday because there was nothing for me to do at the office, since everyone was making calls and such to finalize the schedule for the multinational camp in Jordan. So, today when I got to the office, I was working on some preparation for activities or presentations that will be included at the camp. For most of the day, this meant research and report writing again. Since the theme of the camp is “people power” I was researching successful people-driven movements. They did not have to be political, since the camp is about making any kind of change, so some of the stories I found were about youth activists that had rallied and made change in their schools or local communities. Mohammed wanted these examples to share with the camp participants to show them that it is possible for them to take action and actually make a change; it is not just an idealistic notion. It was interesting to read about all of the amazing things that youth and ordinary people continue to do for their communities, merely through the power of desire for change.

                Anyway, the most educational part of my day was a bi-national staff meeting in Jerusalem regarding the multinational schedule. (More …)

  • Ali Obertubbesing 7:04 pm on June 24, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: dialogue, Israelis, Palestinians,   

    Lessons from Jenin 

    June 21-23

    Wow. I just returned last night from the international camp preparation event in Jenin. Let me tell you, three days and two nights with 50 fifteen and sixteen year olds is quite the challenge. It was a wonderful experience, though. I’ll add a disclaimer right now: I apologize for the length of this post, but it covers what I learned in three days, and it was a lot of valuable lessons. (More …)

  • Ali Obertubbesing 3:00 pm on June 24, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: Bethlehem, effects of occupation, Qualquilya, , Tulkarem   

    Ugh, more research 

    June 19

                Since the international camp preparation for seeds takes place this week on Tuesday, today was very much about getting together the remaining details for the programming. For me, that meant that I was back to research and drafting reports summarizing my research. I am frustrated with doing research, since I want to be doing field work as a career, but I know it can’t all be fun and games. (More …)

    • Francine Blume 6:30 pm on June 24, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Hey, you have to know what’s going on before you can actually get dirty, your blog entry shows that you understand that.

  • Ali Obertubbesing 2:53 pm on June 24, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: difficulties with peace-building, , leadership, Palestine,   

    Sunburns and sweat make better leaders 

    June 16

                Today was the PS preparation that I have been working on the past couple of days with Mohammed, the program director. We went for a hike in a nature reserve in the desert. When we arrived, the PSs and the past PSs were told that they were to follow a trail down to a stream and picnic area where Mohammed and I would be waiting with breakfast. Before they set off, one of the PSs was pulled aside and asked to act needy and spoiled, complaining and taking her time along the hike.  This was one of my ideas to see how the others would handle difficulties that challenge the ability of the whole group to work together. When they set off, we drove down into the valley to wait for them to arrive; the hike was only supposed to take 30 minutes.

                However, we sat and waited for the group for an hour. (More …)

  • Ali Obertubbesing 2:03 pm on June 24, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , preparation hike,   

    Research and hiking and prep work, oh my! 

    June 13-15

                So far, this week has been less busy than my first two weeks. I have been doing endless research for the last week in order to prepare the reports necessary for the preparation event, but now the planning of the preparation for the international camp is winding down, as the kids leave in about two weeks. My main project for these few days was to prepare for the Peer Support preparation that is taking place tomorrow, June 16. The Peer Supporters, PSs, are older kids that attended camp as seeds two summers ago. They are returning to camp with the delegation in a leadership role, being there to help the new seeds adjust to camp and the U.S. since they have had the experience that the new seeds are embarking upon. (More …)

  • Ali Obertubbesing 1:42 pm on June 24, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: checkpoint, , jerusalem, , peace-building logostics, Qualandia, restrictions,   


    June 6, 2011

                Today was a very crazy day. When I got to the office, I sat down at my desk and began checking emails, and then Claire called that she had to go to Jerusalem for visa interviews. She asked if I wanted to go. I said absolutely!  It is not that far to Jerusalem from Ramallah, about 16 km, but the journey was an experience I will never forget. To get into the city, I had to go through Qalandia checkpoint. As we were approaching the checkpoint, Claire was saying that she hoped there was no trouble, but as we got closer, she said it looked like there had recently been some activity because everything was blackened from burning tires. Then I saw the checkpoint. Now, I’m not really sure what I expected, but it wasn’t what I saw. There is a massive concrete wall topped by coils of barbed wire.

                                                                              Part of the wall and a watch tower near Qalandia (More …)

    • Jennifer Carignan 5:49 pm on June 29, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Wow, what an incredible experience. As you say, it’s one thing to hear about this environment on the news, but experiencing it must be fascinating (and maybe frightening) on a completely different level. Thank you for sharing!

  • Ali Obertubbesing 1:21 pm on June 24, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , national anthem, palestinian delegation, palestinian history, ,   

    Caution: Blond, foreign, English speaking female on the loose 

    June 2, 2011

     I got down to the real work today. The office is currently planning the preparation weekend for the Palestinian delegation that is leaving for the international camp in Maine on June 28. The retreat that we are planning is June 21-23 in Jenin.  The purpose of the preparation is to get the kids prepared for what they will encounter in the U.S., at the airport, in meeting the Israelis for the first time, and to give them strategies to use in dialogue sessions if certain hot-button issues are raised by the Israelis, as well as to emphasize the types of struggles and situations the Palestinians should mention as a means of educating the other delegations about their situation. In light of these aims, some of the activities that we discussed and began to plan were about political events and history of the Palestinians in order to refresh the kids’ memories. We decided to have a game for this where the dates and events will be written on flashcards, and the kids, in teams, will have to pick the events that occurred in each year.  So, the majority of the day, I was researching Palestinian history and picking out major dates and events for that game. This was useful for me to refresh my knowledge of the history of the conflict and its issues.

    However, I still learned some interesting things regarding the Palestinian situation and worldview through the discussions of the schedule and activities. (More …)

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