The Parents Circle – Families Forum : Introduction
"Peace is possible when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable (…) the members of the Parents Circle have experienced this truth In the depths of their Suffering and loss. They have found that there Is more that unites us than Divides us, that we are All members of one family, the human family (…)" Desmond M. Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus
Letter to The Parents Circle – Families Forum, April 2004
It is, as far as we know, a world precedent that bereaved families, victims from both sides, embark on a joint reconciliation mission while the conflict is still active.
Consisting of several hundreds of bereaved families, half Palestinian and half Israeli, The Families Forum has played a crucial role since its inception in 1995, in spearheading a reconciliation process between Israelis and Palestinians. The Forum members have all lost immediate family members due to the violence in the region.
Our mission statement
• To prevent further bereavement, in the absence of peace
• To influence the public and the policy makers – to prefer the way of peace on the way of war
• To educate for peace and reconciliation
• To promote the cessation of acts of hostility and the achievement of a political agreement
• To prevent the usage of bereavement as a means of expanding enmity between our peoples
• To uphold mutual support between our members
We strive to offer a breakthrough in people's frame of mind, to allow a change of perception, a chance to re-consider one's views and attitudes towards the conflict and the other side.
The Forum activities are a unique phenomenon, in that they continue during all political circumstances and in spite of all tensions and violence in our region.
Our members initiate and lead projects throughout the Israeli and Palestinian communities.
Face-to Face Reconciliation Programs - Dialogue Meetings for youth and adults, Youth Leadership Seminars, Internet Reconciliation Program, "Messengers of Reconciliation" activity.
Public And Media Activities - "Good Intentions" TV drama series, "Behind the Intentions" A behind-the-scenes documentary film of the making of "Good Intentions", "Offering Reconciliation" art exhibition, "Hello Shalom/Salaam" free Israeli / Palestinian phone chat system, Weekly radio program on the "All for Peace" radio, Overseas lecture delegations, Internet website, newsletters.
Member Activities - Member Seminars and workshops, Professional training for activists, lecturers, spokespeople, Children and youth meetings and summer camps.
The Parents Circle – Families Forum is registered as a not-for –profit organization ("Amuta") in Israel, reg. number 580328995, and in the USA. We have a 501 (C) 3 status for tax exempt donations.
The Forum operates from two offices, the Israeli office located in Ramat Ef'al (suburb of Tel Aviv) and the Palestinian office in A-Ram (north of Jerusalem). We currently employ 13 staff members (directors, project and field coordinators, International relations and administrative staff). The organization is operated and backed up by a large body of volunteers from the bereaved families as trained and experienced lecturers, facilitators and activists. The Forum is supported by a network of friend organizations in the United States, Britain, Germany and Israel.
The Gandhi Foundation International Peace Award, 2010 - The Gandhi Foundation, 3.11.2010, House of Lords, London, England.
International Solidarity Prize, 2010 - International Social Cinema Film Festival of Castilla-La Mancha, 12.10.2010, Toledo, Spain.
The Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) honored PCFF members Roni Hirshenson and Nasra Shehab with the "gold medal for contribution to reconciliation and understanding between peoples", 28.06.2010, The ceremony was held at the French Cathedral of Berlin, Germany. Read More...
The Three Cultures award for Peace and Dialogue, 2009 - The Three Cultures Foundation of the Mediterranean Sea,10.3.2009, Seville, Spain, at the headquarters of the Foundation. Read More...
The Martha Prize for tolerance and democratic values in Jerusalem, 2009 - The Jerusalen Foundation,13.05.2009, Jerusalem, Israel, YMCA uditorium in Jerusalem. Read More...
Search for Common Ground for peacebuilding in the Middle East, 2008 - Search for Common Ground, 14.11.2008, Canadian Embassy, Washington D.C. Read More...
People to People International's most prestigious award, the Eisenhower Medallion, 2008 - People to People’s International, 3-8.9.2008, 18th PTPI Worldwide Conference in Cairo, Egypt. Read More...
Goldberg IIE Awards Prize to Members of Parents Circle Family Forum, Lili Yafe and Aziz Abu Sarah, 2008 - The Institute of International Education (IIE) and IIE’s Executive Committee member and former vice chairman Victor J. Goldberg, 24.6.2008, The American Center in Jerusalem, Israel. Read More...
Solidar's Silver Rose Award in its "International category - Peace and Reconciliation", 2007 - Solidar, 16.10.2007, EP, Brussels, Belgium. Read More...
The Arab House and the Sefarad-Israel House have jointly forwarded the candidacy of the Israeli-Palestinian NGO Parents Circle-Families Forum for the Prince of Asturias Concord Award, 2009. Read More...
The Families Forum's Board and staff
Mr. Khaled Abu Awwad, Palestinian General Manager
Mr. Nir Oren, Israeli General Manager
Mr. Mazen Faraj
Mr. Roni Hirshenzon
Board of Directors
Mr. Yuval Rot
Ms. Neta Shemesh
Mr. Rami Elchanan
Mr Yigal Sarig
Ms. Mashka litvak- auditing committee
Mr. Jona Bargur- auditing committee
Mr. Aaron Barnea, International Affairs
Mr. Ali Abu Awwad, Spokesman and Project Manager
Ms. Robi Damelin, Public Relations
Ms. Ayelet Harel, Director of Grants and Projects
Ms. Tamara Alawi, Palestinian Office Manager
Ms. Iris Meisler, Israeli Office Manager
Ms. Ariela Shainok, Project Manager
Mr. Nir Yesod, Israeli Dialogue Meetings Coordinator
Ms. Sharon Misheiker, Website Manager
Ms. Dvorah Shainok, Personal Stories translation, English
Mr Ata Qaymari, Ms. Nazar Dalu, Translation, Arabic site
Ms. Aesha El-Khativ, Women Forum
Ms. Tzurit Sarig, Women Forum
Mr. Dviri Avraham
Ms. Dviri Emanuella
Mr. Reuven Nir
Mr. Zamir Yehoshua (deceased)
Mr. Roni Hirshenzon
Mr. Maroz Oded
Mr. Gordon Margalit
Established in 6.9.1998
UK Friends of the Bereaved Families Forum (FBFF)
Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury
Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg
Dr Amineh Hoti
Huw Irranca-Davies MP
Lord Janner of Braunston
Rabbi Lionel Blue
On our committee
Judith Elkan -Chair
Ronnie Cohen - treasurer
Chani Smith - Honorary Secretary
Johannes and Eliska Waldstein