August 2, 2006
Whitworth Senior Participates in Interfaith Delegation to Israel and West Bank
Cecilia Laverty, a Whitworth senior majoring in peace studies, recently returned from a two-week delegation to Israel and Palestine as a member of an Interfaith Peace-Builders delegation. The purpose of the delegation, the 19th to make the trip since 2001, is to educate North American citizens about the region and deepen their understanding of its conflicts. With international attention focused on the current standoff over the abduction of three Israeli soldiers, the Israeli reinvasion of Gaza, and the growing war in Lebanon and northern Israel, the delegates had the unique opportunity to see and learn about events firsthand.
Laverty and the 16 other members of the delegation entered Israel on July 17 to begin their two-week tour. The delegates met with an array of Palestinians and Israelis who shared their observations on the current situation, the effects of United States foreign policy in the region, and the possibilities for a just and sustainable peace. Individual meetings were held with Jeff Halper, recently nominated for a Noble Peace Prize, and Rami Elhanan, an Israeli whose daughter was killed by a suicide bomber and who currently works for peace and justice with the Parents' Circle. Delegates also met with Israeli and Palestinian college students, inhabitants of the Palestinian refugee camp Dheisheh, Israelis who refuse to serve in the military, and Palestinian farmers.
While at Whitworth, Laverty has been active with the Interfaith Council of the Inland Northwest, the Spokane chapter of the World Affairs council, and the campaign of Don Barbieri for Congress. She developed a passion for peace through her studies and travel to a UNHCR refugee camp in Kenya. Laverty says she took part in the delegation to Israel and the West Bank because she believes in interfaith efforts that lead to peace.
Interfaith Peace-Builders believes in the power of eye-witness experience and transformation. Given the opportunity to speak directly with Israelis and Palestinians, delegates return to the United States better informed, more energized, and with a deeper understanding of the possibilities for true justice in the Middle East.
Begun in 2000 as a program of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Interfaith Peace-Builders' mission is to give U.S. citizens the opportunity to see and understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict firsthand and to empower these citizens to educate their local communities and advocate for better U.S. foreign policy. To learn more about the program and this specific delegation, please visit www.forusa.org/programs/ipb.
Cecilia Laverty, (509) 951-8799 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Julie Riddle, public information officer, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729 or email@example.com.