It is hard to sit back and watch the Israeli Palestinian conflict go on and feel like there is no real way to make a positive contribution towards peace. There are many way to get involved, whether it is becoming an activist, forming a dialogue group or researching ideas for peace.
One area which we tend to forget about is the economic component to the conflict. The poverty and widespread unemployment in the region exacerbates an already contentious issue. Understanding that economic development is a vital component to peace in the region, 4 students from the University of Pennsylvania, 2 Jews and 2 Arabs, sought to find a way to bring Palestinians in the West Bank out of poverty. They created LendforPeace.org (www.lendforpeace.org), a website which allows lenders from all around the world to loan as little as $25 to micro-entrepreneurs in the West Bank. Through the innovative tool of microfinance, these entrepreneurs are given the ability to create their own success, enabling them to increase their standard of living. It is the hope that this will create more economic opportunity and political stability in the region.
I am very inspired by these students' ability to take an idea and turn it into a reality. I am interested to know what other ideas the people of ipeace have about how to contribute to the peace process or things you have done to make the region a more peaceful place. Please post here and share your ideas!