In 2009, the Presidency of the Jury chose the theme of Dialogue for Peace and Coexistence. This theme was chosen in line with the Anna Lindh Foundation Regional Initiative Restore Trust Rebuild Bridges.
Award Winner: Combatants for Peace
The Winner of the IV Edition of the Euro-Med Award 2009 is Combatants for Peace (Palestine/Israel). Founded in 2005, Combatants for Peace is a civil movement jointly established by former Palestinian militants and ex-Israeli soldiers who decided to put down their weapons and promote a peaceful and right solution to the conflict through dialogue and non-violent means. It is a volunteer movement that solely relies on the energy and time of unpaid activists. With over 2000 supporters in Israel and Palestine, Combatants for Peace operates 3 local bi-national groups, which are run autonomously within the movement, each serving as a local platform for activities in the region in which it operates.
Press Conference for the Winner and First Runner-up, Stockholm - 21 September
Over the last years CFP members have held hundreds of meetings, aiming to familiarize people with the “other” and thus attempting to reverse the process of de-humanization of the "enemy". Various joint actions are held by CFP in which Palestinians and Israelis work hand in hand towards resolving the ongoing conflict and restoring trust. Such actions include olive harvests to help Palestinian farmers who have limited access to their fields, removal of road blockages that tears the Palestinian villages apart, assistance in re-building demolished houses, awareness campaigns and public actions against separation between people.
The Winner - Combatants for Peace - and the First Runner-up - History in Action Team - with Mr. Andre Azoulay (ALF President), H.E. Minister Lakhdar Brahimi (Former UN Peace Envoy), Mr. Per Unkel (Governor of Stockholm), Mr. Jan Henningson (Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
The Awarding Ceremony for the Winner was organised on 21 September on the occasion of the International Day for Peace and in the framework of the Restore Trust Outcomes Forum. The Ceremony was attended by a number of distinguished guests including H.E. Minister Lakhdar Brahimi, Former UN Peace Envoy and Former Minister of Foreign Affairs in Algeria, Mr. Andre Azoulay, President of the Anna Lindh Foundation, more than 30 media practitioners from twenty-five Euro-Med countries, representatives from the Swedish government. The ceremony was presented by Alexandra Pascalidou, Swedish-Greek TV talk show presenter.
Two representatives from Combatants for Peace, Itamar Feigenbaum from Israel and Mr. Osama Abu Karesh from Palestine took part in the VIII Annual Heads of Network meeting 4 – 7 November 2009 in Göteborg, Sweden. They presented the proposals for cooperation with the National Networks in the field of reconciliation and restoring trust in conflicting societies.
The Winner of the Award was invited to the Anna Lindh Forum 2010 in Barcelona and organised a session about the role of women in the non-violent struggle for peace on the occasion of the International Women’s Day. Following the Anna Lindh Forum, at the IEMed, Gitit Bar-El, from Israel, and Maha Staiti, from Palestine, have explained the efforts of Combatants for Peace to achieve a peaceful solution in the Middle East.
From 15 to 17 October in Naples, the Anna Lindh Foundation and Fondazione Mediterraneo organised a seminar on Dialogue Through Non-violence.
For more information, please visit their website www.combatantsforpeace.org
History in Action Project Team (Special Mention)
The History in Action Project Team is composed of 55 trans-national and inter-ethnic historians and history
educators from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia. The History in Action Project is a regional approach for the learning and teaching of history in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia (2003 – 2008). The project aimed to support the regional development of history and citizenship education in the three countries to promote peace, stability and democracy through fostering collaborative values, critical awareness and mutual respect.
The main outcome of this project is the cross-border textbook Ordinary People in an Extraordinary Country, Every Day Life in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia 1945-1990. Yugoslavia between East and West.
On behalf of the Team, Mr. Darko Bencic attended the VIII Annual Heads of Network meeting 4 – 7 November 2009 in Göteborg, Sweden where he presented the proposal for the second part of the History in Action Project which the team would like to implement in the coming period. National representatives from the History in Action Team were invited to the Anna Lindh Forum 2010 in Barcelona and organised a session about History as a tool for Intercultural Dialogue.
Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (Honourable Mention)
ICAHD is a non-violent Israeli direct-action organization established in 1997. It has a long history as an advocate for Palestinian rights and for a just peace between Israel and Palestine, as well as significant success in forging a close working relationship with Palestinian organizations and communities.
More information: www.icahd.org
Israel Women's Network (Honourable Mention)
IWN is a non-profit organization of women united in their determination to improve the status of women in Israel, regardless of political affiliation, religious outlook or ethnic origin. IWN organizes coexistence courses which emphasize empowerment by means of a “meeting among identities” for Jewish and Arab women living alongside each other.
More information: www.iwn.org.il
The Parents Circle – Families Forum (Honourable Mention)
PCFF is a unique grassroots organization, whose power stems from the collaborative work of its members – more than five hundred families, half Israelis and half Palestinians – who have lost immediate family members due to the conflict.
More information: www.theparentscircle.com