Good questions, asked by good people, about MEPU
Q: What is your theory of change?
A: The first level is very straightforward - if we research, educate and train more people in the concept of Peace and how to build Peace in various contexts - we will achieve more Peace. The second level is that more universities for Peace will send a message, that promoting Peace is important just as much as promoting health, engineering, and war.
Q: Isn't Peace about governments negotiating and signing treaties between their countries?
A: Yes it is, but not only about that. As with health, education, environmental issues etc., it is also about civil society, business and academia - studying, training, and implementing Peace-related concepts into communities, working places, social networks, and many other fields of interaction.
Q: What do you mean when you say 'Peace'?
A: This question will manifest as a fundamental issue at the heart of life, research and studies at MEPU. Our basic perspective for MEPU is that we do not mean only the cessation of military violence between states, but also a large variety of concepts and actions that reflect various forms (sustainable prevention, immediate cessation, etc.), of reducing the violence (military, social, psychological, economic etc.), and increasing harmony and justice, in and between countries, races, communities, religions, ethnic groups, political affiliation, majorities and minorities, genders etc.).
Q: Shouldn't we start with Kindergarten children?
A: We should definitely do that... as well! It is widely accepted in other fields meant to ensure the well being of societies and humanity (e.g. health, environment preservation) - that it is vital both for kindergarten children to learn to stay healthy and save the planet, and for higher education institutes to be dedicated to these issues, as well as education in all other ages and many other venues like industry, civil society etc. The MEPU initiative promotes higher education.
Q: Isn't a Peace University too pretentious? Why not a conflict resolution program, or a Peace center? There are several existing worldwide and even in the Middle East.
A: Any program or center promoting Peace is the result of great courage and entrepreneurship, and we warmly applaud it! However, humanity does not settle for Disease Elimination Programs and Community Health Centers, but invests in hundreds of university hospitals. In the same way - we believe there is need for more Peace universities, in which professional research and accredited studies will take place, and participants will respectively receive not only diplomas, but prestigious doctorates and professorships.
Q: Why is the Middle East so special?
A: Indeed, the Middle East is not more special than any other region, and we believe at least 10 Peace universities should be established worldwide. Having said that - (a) we live in the Middle East and it is our burning call and responsibility to promote Peace in the societies we are part of; (b) the Middle East is looked upon with great interest from political and religious perspectives, and can serve as a source of inspiration; and (c) there are many more people, communities and organizations invested in Peace building in the Middle East than most people know, and they have a lot of knowledge and experience to share.
Q: Where will MEPU be located?
A: MEPU will integrate online and physical components. The first will allow better sustainability and accessibility and the latter will allow the crucial personal interaction, closer collaboration, and experiencing the conflict and Peace building on the ground. We believe that locating the physical component anywhere in Israel or Palestine, will bring dramatic value-driven and practical consequences, therefore our preferred location is Cyprus or Jordan.
Q: But Israelis and Palestinians are enemies. How can you base MEPU on partnership between them?
A: There is much more Peace building going on in the Middle East than most people get to know about, and when people experience Israelis and Palestinians (or others perceived as enemies) working together for Peace, they are influenced positively by the tangible partnership and joint leadership - an experiential proof of the existence of Peace around us.
We invite you to go through our web site for more information, send us your questions, and to join the MEPU initiative