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Confronting Barriers to Peace in the Middle East at Castlegar campus

Bob Hall
By Bob Hall
November 27th, 2023

To provide understanding and deeper insight into the disastrous conflict currently raging in the Middle East, Selkirk College’s Mir Centre for Peace is presenting a lecture series event that features a pair of experts who will explore the challenges and pathways to peace.
Authors of the recently released book, The Wall Between: What Jews and Palestinians Don’t Want to Know About Each Other, Raja Khouri and Jeffrey Wilkinson will take the stage at the Brilliant Cultural Centre on December 5 to discuss the distrust, enmity and misunderstandings that exist between Jewish and Palestinian communities to which they belong. They will explore how this “wall” originates in issues of identity, trauma and
victimhood on both sides, and how each side can rise to the challenge of humanizing and acknowledging the “other.”
“I hope that attendees will gain more appreciation of the historical depth and complexity of this seemingly intractable conflict,” says Jennie Barron, chair of the Mir Centre for Peace. “I hope they will get a sense that there is hope for dialogue across this deep divide, at least here in Canada, and will have some ideas about what will be required to make such dialogue constructive and helpful.”
Khouri is a human rights and inclusion consultant and the founding president of the Canadian Arab Institute. A board member at Project Rozana (Canada) and a former 10- year commissioner with the Ontario Human Rights Commission, Khouri is a committee member of Human Rights Watch and co-founder of the Canadian Arab/Jewish Leadership Dialogue Group.
Wilkinson is an American Jew who lives in Canada. He holds a doctorate in education from the University of Toronto and works actively in the Jewish community and beyond on issues relating to trauma and the Israel/Palestine struggle. Wilkinson’s partnership with Khouri, borne out of deep listening and learning together, has become central to his work.
Described as a wise and deeply humane book, the authors will provide much-needed context to a monumental moment in shared history.
“This is the first time we’ve hosted two speakers giving a shared talk,” says Barron. “Each represents the human face of a mythologized ‘other,’ and they have walked this difficult path to mutual recognition together. So they will be sharing their own stories of personal peacebuilding as a model for the rest of us.”
Part of the ongoing series of lectures presented by the Mir Centre for Peace, The Wall Between event is open to the entire community.
“Dialogue is not the only thing needed to get to peace, but it’s one of the most important things those of us outside the region can work on,” Barron says. “With shared understanding and respect for each other, we can unite around advocating for the values we share—freedom, security, self-determination, justice and human rights for everyone.”
The Dec. 5 event at the Brilliant Cultural Centre in Castlegar starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are available online or at the door. For more information and tickets, head to: https://selkirk.ca/events/mir-lecture-wall-between

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