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Monday, March 07, 2005

Children of Abraham Project - Spring '05


What an excellent project. I wish I were just slightly younger so I could participate too.
For those of you who are interested, the deadline's March 10, so get to work!

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If you are a Muslim who has never spoken to a Jew
Or a Jew who has never met a Muslim
If you are angry, suspicious, even hate the "other side"
If you want the chance to represent your faith
To educate the "other" about your beliefs, your culture, your religion's way of life
To be educated in return
To speak your mind
We are for you.

Children of Abraham is a non-profit organization that invites young Jews and Muslims from around the world to be part of a new community, grounded in the realities of suspicion and unfamiliarity that characterize the relationship between Islam and Judaism today. The programs we run offer participants the opportunity to explore that relationship safely, through online discussion groups, social entrepreneurship and photography.

During March-May 2005, participants in the project will enter Muslim and Jewish communities in the cities and towns in which they live, and take photographs representative of religious life from their own perspective, including ritual, symbols, culture and other themes connected to Judaism and Islam. You will share these photos with over 100 other Muslim and Jewish participants from 40 countries around the world via a closed website created for this purpose, engaging in discussions via message boards, chat-rooms, voice- and video-conferencing, as well as in guest sessions with leading religious scholars and related speakers. And if, once the project has ended, you feel empowered to bring what you have learned back to your own schools, colleges and communities, to speak out- we will continue to provide you with resources, contacts and support to make sure that your voices are heard.

The truth is, what happens when Muslim and Jewish youth get together is sometimes explosive, sometimes emotional, always fascinating. But the good that can come out of facing each other honestly is unquestionably worth the effort- as previous participants in CoA's programs will tell you. We know our differences all too well. But discussing our perspectives from a religious point of view may bring us closer to accepting those differences, and learning to recognize our similarities.

Last year's participants:

-constructed a powerful photo essay of Jewish and Muslim themes that is scheduled for display at the UN headquarters in New York, and at both the Israeli and Palestinian parliament buildings.
-have independently organized exhibits of their photo essay in schools, universities, mosques and synagogues from the US to Pakistan and Egypt.
-have initiated Muslim-Jewish dialogue groups at their schools and connected Jewish and Islamic high schools with one another
-have generated publicity and media attention, speaking with local and national newspapers and television stations
-contributed to the development of CoA programs
-continue to communicate regularly with one another through the CoA network


Requirements:

Applicants must be:

- Muslim or Jewish, or have a strong interest in Islam/Judaism
- Aged 15-20
- Able to communicate in English
- Must have regular access to the Internet
- Must have access, or be able to gain access to a digital camera or a traditional camera + scanner


Successful applicants will receive a username and password to enable them to log onto the website. They will be expected to submit a minimum of 50 original photos, and post an average of 5-7 relevant messages on the discussion boards per week, in addition to contributing to scheduled live chatrooms with other members of the group. The project will run from March 15th- May 15th 2005.

Selected applicants will be informed of their acceptance within one week of the submission of their application.

Any questions about Children of Abraham should be directed to Ari or Maria at
info@children-of-abraham.org

Co-directors of Children of Abraham:

Ari Alexander, an American Jew, has completed Masters degrees in Comparative Ethnic Conflict and Modern Middle Eastern Studies, and has worked with teenagers and university students in conflict resolution and cross-cultural dialogue.

Maria Ali-Adib, a Syrian Muslim living in London, has worked with international organizations to develop student-centered approaches to education reform, and has recently obtained her Masters degree in Managing and Implementing Development Projects.


APPLICATION FORM

Please email your completed application to
info@children-of-abraham.org
OR fax it to (+1) 718-237-8765 no later than March 10th.

Please include a photograph of yourself as an email attachment along with the following information:

Full Name
Date of Birth
Gender
Email Address
Mailing Address
Phone Number
Where will you be living/traveling from March 15th-May 15th 2005

Please answer the following three questions:

1) Describe yourself, your life and your religious background in one paragraph.

2) What comes to mind when you think of Judaism and Islam? (250-500 words)

3) Why is it important to you to be part of this project? (250-500 words)

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Children of Abraham
c/o International Center for Tolerance Education
25 Washington Street, 4th Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11201

www.children-of-abraham.org
718-237-8760718-237-8765 (fax)

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