How to become a global citizen and peacemaker
On Tuesday evening, we were thrilled to feature Aziz Abu Sarah for our E-Cultural Diplomacy Series’ newest installment. A huge thank you to Aziz for joining us and sharing his personal transformation as a Palestinian peacemaker, and tips for sustainable, socially-responsible travels.
Aziz Abu Sarah is forging a unique path, but an important one. When we travel, we tend to go where everyone goes and don’t take the time to assimilate ourselves with the local people and culture.
Instead, Aziz explained to us that travel is a powerful peacemaking tool. When we’re willing to step outside our comfort zones and overcome stereotypes, we’re much more likely to understand each other as travel encourages us to do.
It was fascinating to learn that Aziz had not always been a peace activist. An Israeli-born Palestinian, Aziz was raised to see all Israelis with dislike and distrust. Forgiveness and understanding were far from his mind – he wanted revenge. At only ten years of age, Aziz asked himself, ‘how do I make those who killed [my brother] pay the price?’
Years later, Aziz began learning Hebrew to increase his employability. As a result, he met many Israelis and began to see them less as the enemy and more like human beings with their diversity, culture, and history.
The Value of Travel
Today, Aziz has taken his powerful lesson and shared it with the world. His work aims to give voice to people who can’t speak loud enough to share their message with the world. He encourages everyone to be open and active in their search for narratives that conflict their own. It is through these discoveries that our eyes will open, and peace will grow.
Aziz has learned firsthand that often, the most challenging travel is not to the other side of the world. Instead, the most challenging journey is the one that brings us to the other side of the street. When he met Israelis through Hebrew classes, Aziz saw for the first time how different the same scenario could be interpreted from another perspective. And how can we ever build peace and understanding if we don’t attempt to see things from another’s perspective?
Travel enables us not just to see but to feel, smell, taste, hear, and immerse ourselves in the other. We can better understand what others have gone through when we listen to their stories, witness their struggles, and triumphs. It won’t always be easy; you must be prepared to ask uncomfortable questions, and perhaps learn things you don’t want to know. But it is only through understanding each other’s narratives that we will realize we’re not so different after all.
Find Out More
Aziz shared so many valuable lessons in the hour that we spoke with him. If you missed the event or want to revisit the discussion, you can view it on our Facebook page or at the bottom of this web page.
To learn more about Aziz, please visit his website.
Aziz also has a newly published book, the premise of which served as the foundation of this discussion. You’ve seen the trove of knowledge Aziz shared with us in just an hour. Trust us when we say there’s plenty more where that came from in his book. Our discount code for 20% off and free shipping will be live for a few more days. We strongly encourage you to pick up a copy of the book while you can. You can order a copy here.
To view a recording of our discussion with Aziz Abu Sarah, click here.