WASHINGTON (JTA) — A co-founder of a school educating Jews and Palestinians together received the Woman of Courage Award from the U.S. State Department.
Dr. Nava Sonnenschein, co-founder and currently the director of adult programs at the School for Peace, was presented the prestigious award by Diane Kelly, senior policy advisor from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Office for Global Women Issues.
"Dr. Nava Sonnenschein proves that change is possible," Kelly said. "[She is] doing work to recognize the rights of people who are not entirely equal with one another. There is no higher calling."
Sonnenschein was among the first residents of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam, the "Oasis of Peace," a community in Israel comprised of Jews and Palestinian Arabs with Israeli citizenship who choose to live, work and raise their children together.
The School for Peace, founded in 1979, has seen some 35,000 Jews and Palestinians attend courses meant to "develop participants’ awareness of the conflict and their role in it, and enable them to probe and construct their identity through interaction with the other."
"It’s a time of difficulty for people who believe in peace," Kelly said, "and it’s more important that you continue to raise your voice and to educate people. We don’t want the message to ever be lost."