John Wallach is founder and president of Seeds of Peace. A nationally syndicated newspaper journalist and internationally known television correspondent, he was foreign editor for the Hearst Newspapers and a regular contributor to NPR, BBC, and CBC. He has written three books and was a senior fellow at the United States Institute of Peace in 1997.
Every summer since 1993, the woods of Maine have witnessed a remarkable attempt to plant the idea of peace in the hearts and minds of the next generation of Middle East leaders. For three weeks, 300 Arab and Israeli teenagers leave behind the violence and hatred ingrained in their homelands to meet their “enemies” face to face. At times it’s an emotionally wrenching process, but it can produce surprising friendships and an enduring belief in coexistence.
Seeds of Peace makes the most of the adaptability and enthusiasm of youth, creating a secure environment in which teenagers—supported by trained counselors—can dare to argue with and play alongside one another, to challenge preconceptions, and to envisage a peaceful Middle East. The author vividly describes the camp experience and follows the youngsters’ return home, where despite criticism from friends and families many of them continue to promote Arab-Israeli coexistence.
This highly engaging and accessible account of peacemaking in action also includes photographs and feature boxes that help bring alive the complex issues involved.