Contributed by CAMERA Fellow Kailee Jordan.
On May 12, Professor Michael Leitner shared his experience with the various Israeli peace programs including Mifalot, Sports for Peace, and more, which are designed to bring together children of different backgrounds socially through sports, dance, etc., with students at San Francisco State.
Sharing his data and successes with these programs, as well as the challenges, portrayed an authentic visual of the ongoing effort of coexistence in the Middle East. Bringing Michael Leitner to SF State helped show a side of Israel that projects culture and fun rather than debate and politics. I wanted people to see progress and positivity that is rarely represented of Israel, the media and in schools.
The audience consisted of staff, Recreation students, international relation students, and students interested in Israel and the Middle East. Michael engaged the audience, which really got them to discuss topics he was talking about, and I think that they were really effective and educational. People learned about Israel in a positive way, which I think really fulfilled my goal of the event.
People don’t get to hear about projects like Mifalot very often, and form an opinion about Israel that is more culturally based than politically based, so I felt the discussions and presentations were really effective towards students, and hopefully we will get to have him again soon!