At this year's fall conference on Saturday November 2, 2013, the Southern California Mediation Association will be presenting the Cloke-Millen Peacemaker of the Year award to Seeds of Peace, an organization that since 1993, has brought young people from regions of conflict around the world to meet their historic enemies face-to-face at their International Camp in Maine. Seeds of Peace operates on the theory that while treaties are negotiated by governments, peace is made by people.
The Cloke-Millen Peacemaker Award will be accepted by Sarah Brajtbort, US-based Programs Manager for Seeds of Peace.
Sarah was a Seed herself in 2006, and returned as a counselor 4 years later, which she did for two summers. She was hired full-time in 2012 as the US based program manager, and has been instrumental in expanding the reach of the organization from simply bringing young people from trouble spots around the world together to get to know one another on a personal basis, to extensive follow-up efforts building on the camp experience.
It's about forging personal relationships, but it's also about using techniques similar to those used in mediation to facilitate dialogue among groups of people who are not used to listening to one another.
I've been impressed with the people I've talked to from this organization, and am looking forward to meeting Sarah this weekend. It's not too late to register.