Mossawa Center

Three embassies facilitated workshops on Diversity and Inclusion

Mossawa Center Staff
May 29, 2023

On February 15th, 2023, three high-ranking diplomats - the Ambassadors of the Netherlands and Sweden, as well as the Deputy Head of the Canadian Embassy in Israel - facilitated youth workshops on diversity and inclusion in Haifa. The Mossawa Center, as part of the "solidarity" project, supported the workshops, which were attended by 10th grade students from the Mutanabbi school – a public Arab high School, and the Riali school – a Jewish private high school. The workshops took place after months of preparations done by the youth team at the Mossawa Center.

The meeting was opened by the Principal of Al-Mutanabbi School, Mr. Raef Omari, who emphasized the investment that the school provides in building students' capacities. He thanked the ambassadors, the municipality, and The Mossawa Center for their support, and called upon everyone to cooperate in order to close the educational gaps. He was followed by Dutch Ambassador Hans Docter who emphasized,  “We mustn’t discriminate based on our differences, but rather we must focus on what brings us together.”

Swedish Ambassador Erik Ullenhag spoke about Sweden's experience in absorbing immigrant minorities and building a legal and political framework that allows for cultural diversity and integration of others in the public and private sectors. Deputy Canadian Ambassador, councellor Christopher Hull talked about the importance of cultural diversity and the integration of indigenous and immigrant minorities in the education system and the labor market.

Haifa Mayor Einat Kalish Rotem described Haifa as a "miracle" thanks to being a mixed city and promised that "racist confrontations and violence will not affect the city again." The Principal of the Reale School, Yossi Ben Douv, touted his friendship with Principal Omari as an example of diversity and thanked Al-Mutanabbi School for hosting this meeting.

Mossawa Center Director Jafar Farah started his speech by expressing surprise that certain circles think there is no possibility of Arab and Jewish students’ meetings, saying: “As you can see, Arab students and Jewish students meet here in Haifa, and it  is the opposite of what the government achieved in Jerusalem, where the atmosphere of segregation prevails between the two communities and prevents building solidarity and dialogue. There are political forces that refuse to meet us as equals and want us to internalize the status of being legally inferior. We offer a new model of dialogue among equals."

The three high-ranking diplomats engaged in discussions with students on being Arab Palestinian youth in Israel as well as with the visiting Jewish youth. The conversations were productive, with concerns raised about double standards in education and services. The Mossawa staff facilitated the event with translation to allow students the opportunity to express their feelings and thoughts in their Arabic mother tongue without any hindrance.

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