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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:54480
Doc. No:TL24434
Call number:‭NR43340‬
Main Entry:Sara Melissa Schleien
Title & Author:Confronting the intractable: An evaluation of the Seeds of Peace experienceSara Melissa Schleien
College:University of Waterloo (Canada)
Date:2008
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2008
Page No:175-n/a
Abstract:This study investigated the impact of participation in the Seeds of Peace International Summer Camp program on attitudes toward perceived enemies and in-group members. Specifically, individuals' social dominance orientation, stereotype attributions, closeness to own and out-group members, attitudes about peace, beliefs about ability to think independently and ideas about how to facilitate peace were examined. Three groups of adolescents were studied: Israeli, Palestinian and Non-Palestinian Arab campers who came from Jordan and Egypt. Two hundred and forty eight adolescents between the ages of 14 and 17 participated in Study 1, and a 62 participant sub-sample of the original group participated in the follow up study. For Study 1, adolescents provided information regarding demographics and responded to the survey questions in person, at the two sessions of the Seeds of Peace International Summer Camp in Oxford Maine during the period of June to August, 2006. Participants completed the questionnaires upon arrival at the camp, and again on their last day in Maine before returning to the Middle East. For the follow up study, the questionnaires were posted on a secure website, where campers from the previous summer could complete the online measure via internet connections. This website was made available ten months after the first group of campers had returned home, and remained live until one year after the first group of campers had arrived in Maine. The two studies together revealed several important findings. Results from Study 1 indicated that campers from each of the three groups investigated support practices that foster social change. The camp experience did not affect Social Dominance Orientation, however, experiences at the Seeds of Peace summer camp were associated with changed stereotype attributions of warmth and competence. The results indicated that Israeli, Palestinian and Non-Palestinian Arab campers' ratings of warmth and competence were improved with respect to Israelis and Palestinians, although improvements were the result of elevated ratings by the in-group. Participation in the Seeds of Peace summer camp program was not found to affect ratings of Israeli competence by any of the three rating groups; however, Palestinians were rated as more competent by Palestinian and Non-Palestinian Arab campers following camp than they were on the initial surveys. Participants' beliefs in the other side's willingness to work toward peace were also more positive following their camp experience. Importantly, the results revealed that participating in this encounter-based program was not associated with a distancing from in-group members, indicating that although the camp experience could be perceived as threatening to group membership, campers were able to remain close with their own group while also becoming closer to the out-group. Campers' suggestions about whom and what need to change in order for there to be peace in the Middle East indicated that the majority of participants believed that both sides needed to make changes to political policies, and to work harder on compromise in order to realize peace. The results of the follow up study conducted ten months after camp had ended, were also revealing. Generally, participants from each of the three groups rated Israelis and Palestinians differently with respect to warmth, competence, willingness to work for peace, and tendency the to think independently. Ratings of own groups were more elevated than were ratings of out groups, which was consistent with findings from Study 1. Ratings of closeness to own group had not changed after campers were back in their home regions after their camp experience; for Non-Palestinian Arab campers, ratings of closeness to the out group were stronger on the follow up survey than they were initially. Consistent with the pre and post camp findings from Study 1, most participants cited compromise and changing political practices as most important for bringing peace to the Middle East. They also indicated that both sides need to make changes in order for there to be peace in the region. The present research supports previous findings that the use of coexistence programs as a means to improve intergroup relations is generally beneficial in the short term. The results also highlighted the importance of the experience of participating in the Seeds of Peace camp program to changing feelings about the out-group. The significant contributions of the current research include underlining the importance of intergroup contact, the experience of living with perceived enemies, and becoming ready to listen to the other side, in order to change beliefs held about them.
Subject:Social sciences; Education; Psychology; Summer camp; Seeds of Peace; Israeli; Palestinian; Arab; Maine; Bilingual education; Social psychology; Ethnic studies; Peace studies; 0631:Ethnic studies; 0451:Social psychology; 0282:Bilingual education
Added Entry:University of Waterloo (Canada)