Date: Friday, April 5
Time: 11:00am-12:15pm plenary; lunch from 12:15-1:00pm
Location: Class of 1951 Reading Room, Thompson Library, Vassar College
Audience: Open to the public Colorful event poster announcing 'the phoenix project' workshop with new story leadership for israeli and palestinian youth, scheduled for april 5, 11:00-12:30 pm.

Middle East Peacebuilding experts Tarek MaassaraniRawan Odeh and Eran Nissan will facilitate a workshop for Vassar and surrounding communities on identifying practical steps toward livable, post-war futures for Palestinians and Israelis.

The facilitators share learnings from a collaborative democracy process based on a February, 2024 New Story Leadership convening in Geneva, Switzerland. NSL brought together Palestinian and Israeli young people who shared their stories of the ongoing violence and worked to identify consensus-based steps toward claiming livable futures for themselves and their loved ones. 

This workshop will then engage community members from Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, and the Hudson Valley themselves in a consensus-based statement crafting process about the conflict by utilizing new, interactive technology platforms that can be accessed through smart phones. (The use of cell phones to participate in the workshop will be encouraged!)

This event is co-organized by Engaged Pluralism at Vassar College and the Dean of the College area.

*We’ve set aside the buffet time in recognition that a number of those in attendance may be fasting or choose to abstain from lunch fare out religious and community commitments. We ask all participants to remain mindful of the variety of needs and commitments present among us.

Questions and accessibility requests? Reach out to the Restorative Practices Offices at:

About the facilitators:

Rawan Odeh is a Palestinian-American who lived half her life in Brooklyn and the other half in Hewara, Palestine. Today, she works in the private sector identifying and launching partnerships with nonprofits to scale solutions that address the world’s biggest challenges through technology. Rawan was the Executive Director of New Story Leadership (NSL)- a leading advocacy organization for Palestine and Israel. She was often the only Palestinian woman under 30 in political halls of power in Congress, the White House, and diplomatic channels. While leading NSL, she understood that those closest to the problem are closest to the solution, yet they don’t have access. She saw the same story working for Women’s World Banking in micro-finance for low-income women worldwide, where 1 billion women remain outside financial systems.

Her passion is to close divides in peacebuilding, women’s economic empowerment, and global technology innovation.

Tarek Massarani Coming out of law school, Tarek Maassarani engaged in whistleblower advocacy, legal aid for indigent clients, and human rights litigation. Since 2011, Tarek has been an active restorative justice practitioner and organizer. Tarek co-founded RestorativeDC, a project of the local non-profit, SchoolTalk, to provide training and technical support to local schools, agencies, and communities. Tarek has implemented, trained, advised, or otherwise supported a variety of criminal diversion programs, including for the DC Office of Attorney General, the Nevada Attorney General’s office, and Virginia Commonwealth Attorneys offices across three different jurisdictions. Tarek was a visiting professor of restorative and social justice at Eastern Mennonite University and continues to teach as an adjunct at Georgetown and Georgetown Law. Tarek has worked with these and a dozen other universities on restorative initiatives and processes. Tarek is a coach for the National Restorative Justice Coaching Program and has trained thousands of educators, youth workers, and others around the United States and internationally. Over the years, Tarek has facilitated hundreds of restorative justice processes, including adult cases of sexual and racial harm and community accountability in activist and faith-based groups. Tarek’s life passions also include community organizing, nonviolent action, mediation, dialogue facilitation, and peace education. Tarek descends from a multi-cultural (nationally Palestinian, Israeli, Lebanese, German, American) multi-lingual (Arabic, English, German, French) multi-faith (Muslim, Jewish, Christian) family, which includes two beloved sons. ‎