UME Mid-Year Report
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UME Oleander Initiative launched the Hiroshima Peace and Resilience Project (HPRP) in February, 2021.
Since then, two presentation teams have travelled around the world (United States, Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, Northern Ireland, Japan and Australia) virtually to implement a combined 23 HPRP workshops for over 650 participants.
Students at Universite Internationale de Rabat attending HPRP workshop
HPRP participants included our core community of Middle Eastern and American high schools, as well as university students, community empowerment organizations, Rotary Clubs and corporations such as Allstate Insurance.
The HPRP tells the extraordinary story of how the people of Hiroshima overcame the unfathomable adversity of the atomic bombing and rebuilt their city stronger and more beautiful than it was before. Within this hopeful and inspiring context, the HPRP provides practical tools to enable participants to think deeply about their own sources of resilience and discover new frameworks to draw upon during challenging times.
Word Cloud collaborative activity created by employees at Allstate Insurance in response to the question “What do you rely on to get through your most difficult times?”
Our most rewarding work has been working with our Oleander Initiative alumni who previously travelled to Hiroshima. Oleander staff led by Kanade and Sofia worked hand in hand with Oleander educators from the United States (CT, VT and OR) and the Middle East (Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia) to bring the powerful lessons of Hiroshima to their students.
“I was impacted by the strength and hope conveyed by all of the survivors of the bomb. I was also moved by their forgiveness that showed the world that there is hope in humanity.” – Lebanese student attending the Hiroshima Peace and Resilience Project
In May and June, we added a cross-cultural component to our work by connecting Middle Eastern and American students via the HPRP. These multinational groups of students engaged in rich dialogues about the nature of peace, forgiveness and their own sources of resilience.
Combined HPRP class of Tunisian and American students
We are looking forward to implementing additional HPRP workshops for students when schools reopen during the Fall.
UME is also pleased to announce a partnership with Non Violent Schools RI for our Middle Eastern educators to attend the 2021 Conflict Reconciliation Summer Institute. This institute instructs educators how to how to use the power of Kingian Nonviolence to transform their classrooms into communities of peace and understanding. Following a successful pilot, we hope to expand our relationship with NSRI in the future.
Although COVID 19 has made it impossible for us implement in-person programs, we are proud to continue serving communities around the world with our message of hope, peace and resilience during this most difficult time.