The delegates arrived from all over the world including Denmark, Sweden, Turkey and Australia, to take part in the New Media & Public Diplomacy Seminar at Ariel University in Samaria. Their formal goal is to “gain a better understanding of how public diplomacy shapes the Middle East conflict,” but they are also counting on having a lot of fun.
“It is wonderful to be here again,” said Turkish delegate Aga Beck. Although he had recently visited Israel two months ago, this was his first time over the 1967 green line.
“I’m not shocked to be here, since I don’t believe the news in Turkey” he said. But his friends from home see it differently: “My friends are shocked that I came to Israel, because they have really ‘interesting’ views concerning Israel.”
I met Diana Nujidaat, from the Galilee, at the entrance to the dormitories. She’s in her last year of high school and dreams of becoming a member of the Israeli parliament. She has lived her entire life in Israel yet she’s never been over the 1967 green line. “It’s my first time here and I’m very excited to be here.” Nujidaat hails from a Bedouin tribe in Israel and explained that “It’s an Israeli state, the majority is Jewish, and I accept that, but this is also my state.”
Magnos Frank, a delegate from Denmark, is very exited to have come to Israel. “I’m very glad to be here, and I’m looking forward to this seminar.”
The program’s field trips are of special interest to him as he pointed out that “it’s a rare opportunity, you can’t just call the army and ask to be shown around.”
The seminar is sponsored by the Communications School at Ariel university and the Ministry of Public Diplomacy & Diaspora Affairs. It is taking place throughout this coming week, concluding on September 14th.
As part of the program, delegates will meet with Israeli officials, reporters, professors and political activists such as the ‘watch’ women and settlers. The delegates will also travel in the West Bank and visit sensitive area in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.