A School For Global Leaders of the Future

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A high powered international school is being launched in the Middle East with the express mission of creating political and social leaders who will contribute to conflict resolution in the region and across the world.

GivatHaviva International School (GHIS) is trying to confront head-on the conflict in Israel-Palestine and the increasing tendency towards polarization, intolerance, and extreme nationalisms globally. By bringing together bright young social activists, the school aims to create a network of future leaders that will be equipped to create solutions to conflict and spur change towards more inclusive, sustainable and just societies.

In contrast to the sense of hopelessness that characterizes many Israelis and Palestinians regarding the prospects for peace, the pioneers of GHIS believe a new type of international school can make a difference. “We believe a new generation of effective leaders is needed to address the underlying causes of conflict and social division from the bottom up,” says Yuval Dvir, the Headteacher and main force behind the opening of GHIS. “GHIS may start small but our influence will be great.”

The school is a high school for students aged 16-19. The school is based in Israel and will take in a student body that is 50% Arabs and Jews from Israel and Palestine and 50% international students. It already has students signed up from Egypt, Russia, South Sudan, Germany, India, Afghanistan and Liberia. It is also looking to recruit students from the UK and US.

Through living together students will get to know other young people from ‘across the divide’ or from different societies, exposing them to the different narratives, experiences and realities of life in other places. A range of scholarships are available to ensure that all candidates that have the vision and leadership potential will be able to apply, regardless of their means. This is far from an elite international school; it is true education with a mission.

Students will study the International Baccalaureate Diploma, a program chosen for its high level of academic challengebut also its heavy emphasis on developing critical and creative thinking skills, collaboration, multiple languages, global citizenship and the value of social activism. Alongside, they will take part in a program of leadership training, conflict resolution and social entrepreneurship, facilitated by leading experts in the field.

The expertise come from GivatHaviva, which is itself a renowned educational campus for peace education and has been, in its own words ‘weaving the fabric of a shared society from the ground up’ for nearly 70 years. The centre has earned the UNESCO Prize for Peace in recognition of its work and has a wealth of experience in conflict mediation, fostering intercultural understanding and developing youth leadership.

As part of the extra-curricular program, students will visit diverse and conflicted societies as well as projects creating change on the ground. They will volunteer and participate in GivatHaviva’s conflict mediation projects, and perhaps more importantly, be supported to actively develop their own initiatives. Living and learning on the GivatHaviva campus, students will breathe the energy of social activism, experience what civic organisations are able to achieve, and see in action a different reality of discussion, collaboration and shared society between Jews and Arabs in their everyday life.

GHIS hopes that through breaking down preconceptions, overcoming barriers and fostering the ability to think outside the box, students will begin to create new solutions to old problems. Skilled up for leadership, and practiced in social activism, they will be able to go out into the world and put these ideas into practice. Graduates will stay connected through a lifelong alumni program forming a network of committed leaders for shared society across the world. Whilst this school will undoubtedly provide a transformative experience for its students, it also has the potential to create a quiet revolution in the Middle East.

www.GH-IS.org

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