I first heard of Sami Awad and his work from my friend, Gabriel Meyer Halevy with whom I toured many times playing music and facilitating scared music workshops and reconciliation gatherings.
Sami and Gabriel both took part in the We Refuse to be Enemies Vision Camp in the midst of missiles flying and bombs dropping in Israel and Gaza. The polarisation was, and still is, so harsh and extreme and it is in these challenging times that people like Sami and Gabriel and many others hear the essential call to connect rather than to further disconnect. Gabriel introduced me to Sami, and I reached out and met him online, kind of face to face.
Sami Awad is a family man, a practical visionary and a community educator. Born in the U.S to a Palestinian family, he was inspired since his childhood to be active for Peace, in peaceful, practical and pragmatic ways. He has been dedicating his life’s journey to walk the talk of Peace, not only as an idea but as a way of life, a devoted peace activist since he was twelve years old.
We can’t wait for someone to come and liberate us or give us a state… The method we use is nonviolence, because nonviolence is not only a means of resistance, but of individual empowerment and thus the empowerment of society to take initiative. – Sami Awad
Sami holds a Master’s degree in International Relations, specialising in Peace and Conflict Resolution from the American University in Washington D.C. and an undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of Kansas. During his time in the U.S. he kept very close links with his native homeland of Palestine, and always intended to return to play a part in building and developing the Palestinian community. Sami established the Palestine News Network, the first independent press agency in Palestine and Al-Kul Television, and in 1998 he founded the Holy Land Trust, a Palestinian non-profit organisation, based on the principles of non-violence, equality, justice and peaceful co-existence. He is now the Executive Director of the Holy Land Trust and works tirelessly to develop, promote and implement educational programs for non-violence, leadership, healing and building Trust, especially between Israelis and Palestinians.
There is a growing need to talk about Peace and act for Peace particularly when there is violence, and not to despair or lose Trust. It is through a long term process of education for Peace as a basic shared human existence, that we can learn to trust our inherent ability to overcome prejudice and alienation because it is not about politics, it is not about religion, it is about individuals and communities.
We talk about how violence creates more violence, but non-violence creates non-violence also.
Our goal should be removing the wall of fear. – Sami Awad
Speaking with Sami Awad, inspired me deeply and deepened my trust in our ability to transform the ‘war-zone’ into a Peace-Zone. I trust in the Human Kind because in truth most of the people I know and met throughout my life all over the world are wonderful people. My experiences inform me, that there is an incredible ability for any human being to be an active supportive member of the local and global community. Sami Awad is an inspiring example.
Find out more about Sami Awad’s work HERE.