June 24th, 2008 - Fourth Annual Goldberg IIE Prize Recognizes Aziz Abu Sarah and Lily Yaffe from the PCFF as an Innovative Arab-Jewish Team Working Together To Advance Peace in the Middle East.
At The American Center in Jerusalem, U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Luis G. Moreno and U.S. Consulate General Deputy Principal Officer Thomas Duffy hosted a reception to honor the recipients of the 2008 Victor J. Goldberg IIE Prize for Peace in the Middle East. Aziz Abu Sarah and Lily Yaffe received the Goldberg IIE Prize for their work with The Parents Circle Family Forum, conducting educational activities that draw on their own very moving personal stories and the experiences of hundreds of bereaved Palestinian and Israeli families who have lost immediate family members due to the violence in the region.
The Institute of International Education (IIE), a New York-based non-profit organization founded in 1919, created the Goldberg IIE Prize with an endowment from IIE’s Executive Committee member and former vice chairman Victor J. Goldberg. The Prize recognizes outstanding work being conducted jointly by two individuals, one Arab and one Israeli, working together to advance the cause of peace in the Middle East. IIE’s Chief Operating Officer, Peggy Blumenthal joined Mr. Goldberg in presenting the winners with the $10,000 Prize.
According to Mr. Goldberg, “The intent of this award is to recognize innovation and reward those who are courageous and committed enough to work together to overcome the religious, cultural, ethnic, and political issues which divide the Middle East. We hope not only to recognize significant work being conducted today, but also to inspire others to join together across these divides to advance the cause of peace in the coming years.”
The Selection Committee for the Prize includes leading experts from academia, the non-profit sector, and government.
About Aziz Abu Sarah and Lily Yaffe:
Aziz Abu Sarah is Chairman of the Parents Circle Families Forum and a co-host of Radio All for Peace, and has served as a lecturer and facilitator on reconciliation, tolerance and peace since 2003.
Mr. Abu Sarah was 10 years old, his 18-year-old brother was taken from the family home and imprisoned, accused of throwing stones at Israeli cars. He was beaten and kept in prison for 11 months, until he was released in critical condition and died a few weeks later. After high school, Mr. Abu Sarah studied Hebrew in order to pursue his goals for further education, and he began to meet Jewish people who were not soldiers, and who shared his interests. He chose to put aside his own desire for revenge and instead use his pain to spread peace.
A long time educator, Lily Yaffe was a high school teacher for 25 years, and later worked in the Curriculum Planning Center in the Ministry of Education before retiring as a lecturer at Beit Berl College in 2005. She earned a Masters degree in Education (Curriculum Planning) and another in Criminology, and studied at the University of Minnesota through the Fulbright Program. Mrs. Yaffe”s eldest son, Ronen, was a counselor in a youth movement when he was drafted to the IDF during the first Lebanon war in 1983. After eight months of training, his unit was assigned to the border of Lebanon. At the age of 19, he was killed in a battle after his post was attacked. Mrs. Yaffe joined the Parents Circle in 1997 to follow Ronen”s path in working toward peace and reconciliation. She has been an active lecturer and facilitator of dialogue meetings, a member of the PCFF Israeli-Palestinian Women”s Group, and a member of the PCFF delegation to Turin, Italy.
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