The new Abraham Accords Youth Forum, launched by 'Tevel' - the Israeli high school leadership program of StandWithUs and partners - brings Israeli youth together with counterparts from the UAE, and soon other Gulf and Arab countries
(Jerusalem, Israel -- January 6th , 2021) -- When the leaders of Israel and the UAE gathered to sign the “Abraham Accords” peace agreements, they must have imagined the economic, technological and security developments that would emerge but they may not have expected ties between young people to emerge so quickly.
The new Abraham Accords Youth Forum is a place where diplomacy is very much the order of the day. People-to-people diplomacy to be precise – and it’s happening between high schoolers. The forum is a new body bringing Israeli and Emirati youth together virtually, but hopefully once travel restrictions are eased, they will meet physically, too.
The inaugural virtual meeting of the Forum took place on January 4th, and included 100 participants. The guests were the Future Generation Representatives of the United Arab Emirates and Israel to the United Nations. The tenth-grade students of TEVEL hosted the event and many students asked questions related to life in the UAE and Israel, diplomacy and peacemaking.
The forum grew out of the StandWithUs “Tevel” program, which in Hebrew is an acronym for "תכנית בינלאומית למנהיגות ודיפלומטיה ציבורית" - International Program for Leadership and Public Diplomacy. TEVEL empowers Israeli high school students to fight antisemitism globally and to better represent their country and reach out to people around the world. The program operates in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Be'er Sheva, and Ra’anana for Israelis of diverse backgrounds.
“Israelis are so excited about the development of the Abraham Accords, and we have already seen tens of thousands visiting Dubai. We realized that the excitement is just as great on the Emirati side and while links are forging ahead in many fields, we wanted to bring young people together – the leaders, voters and peacemakers of the future. We are working to forge more links with young people including in other countries that have signed the Abraham Accords. This is a truly special time,” said TEVEL director Alon Sternberg.
Mohamed Alwahedi, UAE's Future Generation Representative to the UN commented, “It was my pleasure being part of this amazing event and meeting such enthusiastic young students. I encourage them to learn continuously as knowledge is key to success. It is us, the youth of today who are the leaders of tomorrow, and we should work together for a brighter future – our future.”
“At StandWithUs, our motto has always been that education is the road to peace. This is people-to-people peace-making – meeting each other, learning together, and ensuring that the next generation is living the promise of the Abraham Accords.”, said Michael Dickson, Executive Director of StandWithUs-Israel.
StandWithUs (SWU) is an international, non-profit and non-partisan Israel education organization that works to inspire and educate people of all ages about Israel, as well as challenge misinformation and fight against antisemitism.
Through university fellowships, high school internships, middle school curricula, conferences, materials, social media, educational films and missions to Israel, StandWithUs supports people around the world who want to educate their schools and communities about Israel.
Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Los Angeles, the organization has chapters and programs on 5 continents, including the U.S., Israel, UK, Canada, South Africa and Brazil.
For the last 7 years, SWU has consistently received the highest possible ratings from Charity Navigator (4 stars) and Guidestar (Platinum).