Words Matter: Educating about and for freedom of expression
“Words Matter” is a two-year (2015-2017) comprehensive educational action aimed at promoting freedom of expression and preventing hate speech and incitement.
Collaborating with The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, we structured the program to target diverse sectors of Israeli society, Jewish and Arab alike. Operating top-down, the program engages policymakers with the most influence in the Israeli government. These leaders can will their constituents towards an accepting, open-minded society. Operating bottom-up, it trains and empowers educators and student peer-leaders, in addition to providing educational programs for middle and high school students. These students and teachers can spark an Israeli future where the voicing of personal opinions, viewpoints, and perspectives is not criticized but is celebrated.
In the Path of Dialogue: Networking Schools Against Racism
The issues of racism, discrimination and human rights are constantly a matter of public debate and concern in Israel, with opinions radicalizing in recent years in light of the violent rounds of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the increase in hate crimes and xenophobia towards immigrants from Africa.
Within the context, the Adam Institute program, “In The Path of Dialogue – Networking Schools Against Racism” is timely and especially relevant. The program aims to create a cadre of educators, high school students and consequently families, who will learn about and implement actions to combat racism and to promote equal human rights in Israel.
In the last two years (2012-2014), the program was successfully implemented in 52 Jewish (secular and religious) and Arab schools. This program was able to establish a network of High schools which are actively committed against racism, both on intra- and inter-school levels. The program was integrated into various grades and was introduced to 10,500 students and teachers. Schools jointly developed and implemented 27 educational projects against racism, many of them including encounters between Jewish and Arab teachers and students. The projects, which focused on promoting tolerance, co-existence, getting to know the Other, etc., were all focused on alleviating this situation. Of special note are the issues related to the Bedouin minority in Israel, which have to the fore during the two years of the project through the publication of the Prawer Plan (the Bill on the Arrangement of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev) and the Bedouins’ objections to it. Many Bedouin schools took part in the program, and this presented an opportunity to raise the awareness of the Jewish sector to their situation. (A selection of them were uploaded: https://www.facebook.com/adaminst)
The program was held in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Pedagogical Secretariat – Supervision of Teaching Staff Citizenship and Civic Education.
This project has been funded by the European Union (2012-2014). The school projects were supported by The Rayne Trust and The Jerusalem Foundation
The Adam Institute’s programs for junior-high and high schools include:
- UMA – Reenactment of Historical Decisions and Events Related to the State of Israel – a program that involves students researching and reenacting historical decisions made by the U.N. as well as other fundamental events that had crucial implications for the State of Israel. The program enables students to get to know their country’s history in a new way, and from multiple varied perspectives, promoting a better understanding of past problems and issues.