Last year, on a Princeton-sponsored trip to Jordan, Zvi Smith ’09 initially felt the need to conceal his Jewish identity from other participants. “We think of peace as avoiding conflict, and I didn’t want to bring up tension or make them distrust me,” said Smith, the only Jewish student in the group. But after he revealed that he was Jewish and had lived in Israel, he felt closer to the other students and began to think about conflict resolution — a technique in which discussions focus on differences, rather than avoid them.That experience led Smith to develop a four-day conference in April that brought to campus 15 students from Jordan, Morocco, Egypt, and Lebanon to join 16 Princeton students for discussions about issues including gender, the media, and political conflict. “The premise of the conference was that we wanted to talk to each other,” Smith said.
For more about the results of the conference and the perspectives of the visiting Arab students, check out the article in the June issue of PAW.