Contributed by CAMERA intern Lilia Gaufberg
On April 14th, CAMERA fellow Ali Jabick hosted Less Hamas, More Hummus: Playing for Peace on the University of Connecticut’s campus. The purpose of this event was to expose students to various programs that promote peace and co-existence in the Middle East, especially within the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Professor Leitner came to speak in conjunction with this event about his work with integrated sports programs that are meant to promote peaceful co-existence. The primary goal of this event was to bring in a different group of students that may not know as much about what happens in the Middle East, with the hope that these students will realize that there is more to the conflict than what the media reports. This goal was definitely met, and the students who attended seemed to be very engaged by the speaker and were interested to learn more about the programs that Professor Leitner was involved in. This event was publicized through the use of social media outlets such as Facebook, as well as by reaching out to students and professors directly. The event was also published in UConn’s Daily Digest.
Many of the attendees expressed interest in the topics that Professor Leitner discussed, and were happy to learn about an aspect of the conflict of which they were not aware. The audience asked questions to find out more information about the programs Professor Leitner is involved in, and the presenter responded very well to the questions and displayed his knowledge about the topics he discussed. The most effective aspect of the event was the speaker’s personal stories from participating in the integrated sports programs, and it made his work seem much more relatable and real. Ali plans to continue reaching out to students who may not otherwise attend Israel-related events, and will keep in touch with the students who came!