The first month of the New Year is coming to an end. This was a month of planning and evaluation for YPI: what did we achieve in 2015 and what are our plans for 2016?
2015 was a year full of changes. After the YPI conference between the Palestinians and Israelis in 2014, it was time to build something more solid than a 7-day meeting between the two groups. The Palestinians and Israeli’s decided to join YPI for a longer term and became the YPIPI – Youth Peace Initiative of Palestinians and Israeli’s. Our Programme Coordinator conveniently had to move to Jerusalem, which allowed her to coordinate our Palestinian-Israeli project from there. The meetings did not pass with ease. The increasing tension of the past year made it sometimes almost impossible to continue. However, the Israeli and Palestinian delegates kept on finding courage to continue their work.
In the Netherlands, the YPI Board went through some changes. Some left the Board and some new young people joined. Despite these events, the work of YPI went on. One of the highlights of 2015 for YPI in the Netherlands was the lecture ‘Outcomes of the Israeli Elections and Its Influences on the Israeli/Palestinian Peace Process’. Some marvelous speakers told their perspectives on how the political landscape might change the future of the region. After the lectures, the speakers discussed the subject with the guests, guided by Prof. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. YPI also launched an essay competition in which students had to find an answer to the question ‘What would I do if I was Abbas, Netanyahu or myself to improve the peace process between the Israeli and the Palestinians?’. YPI received lots of creative and original essays, but selected one as the winning essay. The winner will be announced on our New Year’s Reception.
And of course, we made plenty of plans for 2016.
2016 will be a busy and interesting year for YPI. In 2015, YPI decided to expand its scope by launching a new project: Syria. More and more Syrians desperately flee to other countries, hoping to find a safer place. The conflict in their country made it impossible to live there. Therefore, YPI wants to offer the Syrian refugees a helping hand by providing a platform which allows them to do something about the conflict in their mother country.
Besides the YPI’s new project, the Israeli-Palestinian project is still evolving. The YPIPI delegates decided that it is time to expand their group. At the moment, they are recruiting new young people who are determined to get themselves involved in the peace process.
Additionally, a lot of events are planned in the Netherlands as well. The first coming up is our New Year’s Reception on Wednesday 27 January, followed by the High School Event in February. We are also planning a second conference for the YPIPI in The Hague. And about our other plans.. We will keep you updated on our website and social media!