Promoting Shared Spaces in Israel

Akko_Israel

The Club de Madrid has been collaborating with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) within the context of our Shared Societies Project for some years through the work of its New York office on global development issues and with global intergovernmental institutions.  We have collaborated with them at the United Nations and co-hosted meetings at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund from which we developed the Shared Societies Global Agenda to Promote Long-Term Inclusive and Sustainable Growth. So we follow with interest the Stiftung’s work at country level and look forward to opportunities to collaborate.

Using a perspective similar to the Shared Societies Project, FES-Israel is engaged in public information and peace and social dialogue projects that reinforce political, economical, social and cultural ties between Israel and its neighbours and provides platforms for exchange for Jewish-Arab networks. Another common feature with the Share Societies Project lies in the FES-Israel’s effort to strengthen civil society and to promote pluralism and mutual acceptance, by organizing majority-minority dialogue and empowering disadvantaged segments of the Arab community, as well as immigrants from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia, and other groups.

We noticed a recent piece of action research conducted by FES-Israel: “Local Decision Making – Involving Residents in Municipal Affairs in Akko”. It was part of comprehensive research by the Jewish-Arab Center at University of  Haifa entitled “Akko as a Shared Space”, and its main goal was to promote and strengthen the relationship between Jews and Arabs living in the same city. The research’s objectives were to shed light on the impact of residents’ participation in local decision-making processes, to improve the local processes of decision making and, finally, to improve the residents’ quality of life, particularly the relations between Jews and Arabs.

This project is just one example of FES-Israel’s commitment to strengthening German-Israeli relations, remembering the past and promoting global social justice and democracy. It employs dialogue and debate through public events and encounter programs, political and socio-economic research and analysis, civic education and leadership training and political consulting in order to achieve their goals and missions. To this end, FES works closely with local partner organizations to jointly develop projects in the spirit of democracy, gender equality and peaceful co-existence.

Promoting “Shared Spaces” is a timely initiative towards supporting the global efforts to continue to seek the best approaches to building a Shared Society.

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