Design, Monitoring and Evaluation for Peacebuilding

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Befriending the Enemy: The Lasting Impacts of Youth Programs for Peace

The Peacebuilding Evaluation Consortium (PEC) and the Network for Peacebuilding Evaluation (NPE) were pleased to have hosted the Thursday Talk on "Befriending the Enemy: The Lasting Impacts of Youth Programs for Peace" with Eva G. Armour, Director of Global Strategy and Programs at Seeds of Peace, and Juliana Schroeder, Ph.D. candidate at the University of Chicago on October 2, 2014

Every year at Seeds of Peace, one of the largest Middle East coexistence programs, Israeli and Palestinian teenagers are brought together for a 3-week camp in the United States. For 3 years, the study presented in this Thursday Talk longitudinally tracked how this intervention affected Israelis’ and Palestinians’ relationships with, and attitudes toward, each other. 

Specifically, the researchers measured participants’ outgroup attitudes immediately before and after camp, and, for 2 years, 9 months following “reentry” to their home countries. In all 3 years, participants’ attitudes toward the outgroup improved from precamp to postcamp. Participants who formed an outgroup friendship during camp developed more positive feelings toward outgroup campers, which generalized to an increase in positivity toward all outgroup members. Although the positivity faded upon campers’ reentry, there was significant residual positivity after reentry compared to precamp. Finally, positivity toward the outgroup after reentry was also predicted by outgroup friendships. Future contact interventions may profit from encouraging individuals to make and maintain outgroup friendships.

Recording and Transcript:

To review the accompanying PowerPoint, please click here

To read a transcript of the conversation, please clicke here

About the Speakers:

Eva G. Armour first joined Seeds of Peace as a counselor at the International Camp in 2000. In 2001, she joined the full-time staff as part of the development team. From 2006 to 2007, Eva worked out of the Seeds of Peace Tel Aviv and Ramallah offices as the Director of Multinational Programs, orchestrating programs that brought together Seeds in the Middle East. After two years directing program development for Empower Peace, a nonprofit dedicated to bridging cultural and communication divides between youth worldwide, Eva returned to Seeds of Peace in 2009  and currently works out of Boston, overseeing the organization’s global programming and strategy.

She is a graduate of Tufts University, where she majored in Child Development and Communications, and Columbia University, where she received an MA in International Educational Development with a focus on International Humanitarian Issues in the Middle East and Africa.

Juliana Schroeder is a Ph.D. candidate in Psychology and Business at the University of Chicago. She received her B.A. from the University of Virginia in Economics and Psychology. Juliana also has an M.A. from the University of Chicago in Psychology and Statistics, and an M.B.A. from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business. 

Juliana's research explores how people navigate their social worlds. Juliana's research has been published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, and the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. It has been featured by the New York Times, Newsweek, NBC, and the Today Show, and has been funded by the National Science Foundation. Juliana has also won the Dean's Award for Excellence in Teaching at the University of Chicago eight times. 

Suggested Reading: 

Befriending the Enemy: Outgroup  friendship longitudinally predicts  intergroup attitudes in a coexistence  program for Israelis and Palestinians

"Evaluating Peace Education in the Oslo-Intifada Generation: a long-term impact study of Seeds of Peace 1993-2010" 2011 dissertaion by Ned Lazarus




Debbie Trent: I’m a huge fan of Seeds of Peace; your research scientifically substantiates so much goodwill and relationship-building for which the program is well known. About 10 years ago I even tried to become a “mom of” a participant with an application by my son ;-)  More to the point, as I am interested in measuring and evaluating deliberative dialogue about policy, did you conduct interviews or group meetings about policies of  the  US, Israel, and Palestinian governments? (Or of other governments?) If not, would you happen to know if SoP has recordings of dialogues that might include policy deliberation by the campers? I’m working on a future presentation for DM&E and am looking for data. Many thanks!

Elham-Eid Aldridge: Have you considered conducting a panel study rather than a longitudinal? Or just doing qualitative interviews with older alumni? Good luck in the future.

Rahel Wasserfall: You speak about attitudes and behaviors, what kind of behaviors would be looked at? Second how about the context of reentry? How do you define Israeli and Palestinian? What is the role of religion in the program? How do you deal with discomfort in the program?