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We encourage you to apply now in order to reserve your spot in the program.
New Deadlines for Session I (Starts in May):
• May 1st (Registration Deadline. Application and registration fee must be received by this date).
• May 4th (Final Payment Deadline. Remaining payments must be received by this date).
New Deadlines for Sessions II and III (Starts June, July):
• May 31st (Registration Deadline. Application and registration fee must be received by this date).
• June 2nd (Final Payment Deadline. Remaining payments must be received by this date).
The Palestine Summer Encounter is an extraordinary opportunity to experience life in the Palestinian Territories not as a tourist but as a guest and a participant in the community. As a participant you can join us for one, two or three months in the summer, live with a Palestinian Christian or Muslim host family, participate in Arabic classes and serve at volunteer assignment with one of over thirty five participating local organizations. Participants in the past have tutored English, designed websites, rebuilt homes, supervised kids at local summer camps, helped with administrative tasks at a human rights organization or nonprofit and provided other voluntary service to the local community in the cities of Bethlehem, Beit Jala and Beit Sahour. Participants will also have the opportunity to meet with Palestinian and Israeli peacemakers to learn more about the roots, and solutions to, the present conflict.
Where to Begin:
Find out the Dates & Costs
Check out the Frequently Asked Questions
Read the blogs and browse through the photos of participants from previous summers.
Hear what former participants have to say about the experience.
Register for the Palestine Summer Encounter!
The past week was a mix of emotion and placement. The first place was of beauty.
We went by bus through Beit Jala and across one of the Israeli roads that cut across the West Bank to get to the ancient village of Battir. It is a little piece of heaven, and a place under threat. To get a small sense of what it is like here, I found a great Youtube clip:
Our first group for the summer arrived in trickles and finally descended upon the little town of Bethlehem in time to orient to their adopted home for one, two or three months. The participants in this session hail from across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. They are students, professionals, ex pats and even include a retiree. They are living with families in Bethlehem, Beit Jala and in Beit Sahour, and have been exposed to the primacy of food here!
Renowned Author Joins Summer Program, Session II
(Above: Mark Braverman, author of Fatal Embrace: Christians, Jews, and the Search for Peace in the Holy Land).
Mark Braverman, the grandson of a fifth generation "Palestinian Jew,"  first visited Israel at the age of 17. Raised to see Israel as a blessing to his generation, Mark fell in love with the young state. "I was proud of the miracle of modern Israel," he told audiences, "of what my people had done, creating this vibrant country out of the ashes of Auschwitz." But his concerns about Israel's policies grew "in direct proportion to the pace of illegal-settlement building." 
"Still," Mark admits, "I held to the Zionist narrative: Israel's militarism and expansionism were the price of security. Then I went to the West Bank." Everything changed. "I saw the separation wall and knew it was not for defense. I saw the damage inflicted by the checkpoints on Palestinian life and on the souls and psyches of my Jewish cousins in uniform. I saw the Jewish-only settlements and the restricted roads. I witnessed the vicious acts of ideological Jewish settlers."  Ultimately, Mark was led to write Fatal Embrace: Christians, Jews, and the Search for Peace in the Holy Land, which Walter Brueggmann has described as a "courageous, evocative book that merits close attention and continued pondering." 
Mark has been a fearless advocate for peace and justice in the Holy Land. And we are honored that he will be joining us for the second session of the 2011 Palestine Summer Encounter- not just as a guest speaker, but as a "scholar-in-residence." He will be joining the tours, giving public presentations and even leading a small team of our volunteers. The hope is that Mark can serve as a mentor to a new generation of leaders seeking peace.
If you haven't read Mark's book yet, it's still available on Amazon.
And, if you haven't registered to join us in Palestine this summer with Mark, it's not too late to apply!
 Mark's grandfather was born in Palestine, in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, but moved to the U.S. before the creation of Israel in 1948.
 Walter Brueggman's forward to Fatal Embrace, June 2, 2009
Coming from an environment in America of international apathy, it has been great to see such passion in so many people to support justice. Being in the holy land and the midst of this situation has allowed us to put a face, and a smile, onto these people who for so long, and for so many are nothing more than a headline. And what a reward it has been to experience such a rich and indescribably welcoming culture.