International and national training routines held so far

Friendship Across Borders e.V. has developed a multi-dimensional training program to educate young adults age 20-26 from Israel, Palestinian territories (East-Jerusalem, Westbank and Gaza), and Germany/Europe, to become Peace-Carriers. (See Foundation)

Peace-Carriers are people who in their immediate social environment work as catalysts for mutual understanding and comprehension between communities and thus promote peace, cooperation and integration. They communicate respect, mutual appreciation and acknowledgement. They have changed their attitude towards the “enemy” and assume responsibility for the transformation of interpersonal and social conflicts through their own example and their voluntary work. Their objective is the well-being of all people, across all borders.


Friendship Across Borders also trains professionals with a background in social work, education or psychotherapy to serve as Mentors. Mentors accompany and support Peace Promoters in their own personal development. We also organize seminars aimed at evaluating and further developing our tripartite Peace-Carrier approach.


Video of the seminar Oct.2015 / 15min.


Right NOW - Touching Borders 2015


Seminar for Peace-Building and International Encounter

29th July – 1st August 2015, Beit Jala, Palestine

19 participants from Israel, Palestine, and Germany

Initiator and Organizer: Daniela Falkenberg and Gerburg Rohde-Dahl

Facilitation: Prof Dr Björn Krondorfer

FAB-Facilitators: Dr Marco de Carvalho, Michal Hochberg, Antwan Saca Saleh


This year’s seminar was about feeling the own and collective borders which hinder us to be open for other concepts, to approach other people, and to reach out hands for peace. All participants showed each other their own borders and thus made clear how much borders affect and burden all of us. At the same time, borders are important, in order to give us support and security.


While stories with personal exclusion within the own biography touched all participants, collective borders were experienced to be oppressive and mighty. Once again, it became clear how much the consequences of World War II, the Holocaust, and the Nakba determine emotions and influence and limit us until today.


We could feel the painful dilemma between keeping the own borders which protect identity and living space on one hand, and crossing these borders on the other hand, in order to open new spaces of common ground with others. A simple solution through mere decision is not possible, but more likely a readiness to agree to a slow process of mutual approach.


>> Right NOW - Report


Article by Björn Krondorfer:

Memory Work and Unsettling Empathy








Meeting of Palestinians and Israelis

30th Jan. 2015 in „Kitchen“ of Ali Abu Awwad

20 participants from Westbank and Israel

Initiation und Organisation: Avner Dinur, Hanan Schlesinger


Shorashim/Judur/Roots - The Palestinian Israeli Initiative for Grassroots Understanding, Nonviolence and Transformation, is hosted on a small piece of Palestinian land in the heart of Jewish Gush Etzion. The project is often described by its leader Ali Abu Awwad, as a kitchen for mixing different people and ideologies and cooking up novel combinations that never fail to surprise and excite. It is not only Palestinians and Israelis settlers that encounter each other in the kitchen. Israelis of all types, religious and secular, left wing and right wing, all meet and interact there. (And the same is true for different types of Palestinians!)


Usually the left wingers are from Tel Aviv, but last month it was different. The Israeli leadership of Roots, Hanan Schlesinger, Shaul Judelman and Myron Joshua, together with Ali, met a delegation from FAB led by Avner Dinur from Sderot and including other  Jewish and Palestinian FAB members, some of them part of the Holy Land Trust of Bethlehem, which has a long standing relationship with Roots.


The interaction between the different constituencies, respectful from beginning to end, was fascinating and enlightening. It was important to see how much we have in common, and that we have the language and the tools to listen to each other and to understand each other even when we disagree. After three hours we felt that we barley scratched the surface and that we ought to find a way to continue the dialogue.


Hanan Schlesinger




Between Trauma and Politics Talitha Kumi

Meeting for development the Student Peace Carrier Training 2015

1st - 4th Aug. 2014 Talitha Kumi, Beit Jala / Westbank

15 participants from Westbank, Israel und Deutschland

Initiation und Organisation: Dr. Andrea Leute

Facilitator and consultant: Dr. Prof. Björn Krondorfer 


In the midst of the Gaza ground war, FAB convened an intergenerational seminar in Talitha Kumi in Palestine – one of very few meetings which brought together Israeli Jews and Palestinians (and, in our case, Germans) without a specific political protest agenda and for several days.


That it was possible to assemble our group of four Palestinians, six Israeli Jews and six Germans despite the torrents of hatred and fear which swept both Israeli Jewish and Palestinian societies and the temporary cancellation of international flights into Tel Aviv was a remarkable testimony to the strength of FAB and its past achievements: against all the difficulties, participants made their way to our meeting in search of a place where they could feel safe and at peace with themselves and the others. Upon joining us, one Palestinian participant reported how difficult it had been to come: he just had lost fifteen relatives in Gaza to Israeli air attacks. Others, both from Palestine and from Israel, described how difficult live had become for them in an environment of intolerance, hatred and fear in their family and at their workplace. Yet we were able not only to meet but to move forward in our effort to build a space of safety and peace through mutual trust and friendship. On our “open day” on Sunday, Aug. 3, the guests from outside who joined us to learn about our work were clearly both impressed and fascinated by this achievement.


This was an unusual meeting: twice our carefully prepared agenda was overthrown, as the grim background noises of hatred, fear, violence, destruction and death intruded, unleashing powerful emotions. Our original plans had to be changed to accommodate the psychological and emotional needs of the day. We did so, and found in the end that while we did not achieve completely what we had planned to do originally with this meeting, we got something probably more valuable: we could confirm that FAB had been able to build reliable foundations for peace amongst ourselves in the past, and we were able to take further important steps forward.



Between Trauma and Politics 2014


30 th Jan. – 2 nd Feb. 2014 Freiburg / Germany


Workshop for Peace-Building Intercultural Encounters


participants from Israel, Westbank, Gaza and Germany


Initiation and Organisation: Dr. Andrea Leute


Facilitator and consultant: Dr. Prof. Björn Krondorfer


FAB-Facilitator: Dr. Avner Dinur, Andreas Beier



How can we facilitate international and intercultural encounters that move between memory work and management of current conflicts? During the workshop-seminar, the participants will learn how the multifaceted interrelations between traumatic memory and political conflicts can be addressed and transformed within intercultural group work.




Meeting of the Palestinian and Israelis participants of the seminar


22 nd Nov. 2013  Café near the northern end of the Dead Sea


3 from the Palestinian group, 5 from the Israeli group and 2 friends


It was VERY important and exciting to have our meeting today. Many topics came up that are important to explore - e.g. relations between Jews and Palestinians within the 1949 armistice line, dialogue versus activism, expanding the circle. To come up with a plan that meets the needs of all - that includes doing something concrete for moving the messages of peace and the end of the oppression of the Palestinian people forward.


We agreed on re-sending the link to the petition to end the blockade on Gaza so that whoever hadn't signed it yet could do so with a MAJOR request to please send it on to anyone who you think might want to sign. So far there are 1080 signatures, but there is no way enough!




Israeli - Palestinian Encounter

Israeli Group Role Playing A son comes home from the army

Palestinian Group  Discussing National aspirations

Between Trauma and Politics 2013

3rd – 6th Oct. 2013  Freiburg / Germany


Workshop for Peace-Building Intercultural Encounters


22 participants from Israel, Westbank, Gaza and Germany


Initiation and Organisation: Dr. Andrea Leute


Facilitator and consultant: Dr. Prof. Björn Krondorfer


FAB-facilitators: Dr. Avner Dinur, Andreas Beier


We dealt with the interrelations between traumatic memory and political conflicts addressed and transformed within intercultural group work. With the help of interactive and creative approaches, which pay particular attention to personal awareness and group-specific dynamics, we became aware of the narrative, psychological, and political patterns that disrupt and prevent interpersonal and communal empathy. Core theme on the trilateral encounter between German, Israelis and Palestinians was the work on the obstacles and resistances toward peace building within the own community. Mutual finding of 3-4 issues within each national group that prevent moving forward and finding a solution to the violent conflict:



The plenum choose out of these obstacles one issue for each group:


Germans - Mistrust in being German

Israelis - Comfort level with status quo

Palestinians - National aspirations


In a deeper exploration each group discussed and performed the actual national obstacle in front of the plenum. This work on the own resistance was a new step within our work in FAB.  All participants emphasized on the importance to continue and deepen this work.


Feed backs / reflections after the seminar by a Israeli, Palestinina and German participant:


Israeli participant:

I learned that I have a lot of work to do on my stereotypes about Germans, after 30 years’ good progress shedding my stereotypes (as a Jew) about Palestinians.... read more




Fears - Hopes


The Art of Building a Vision for FAB
10th -15th July 2012, Hotel Aegina, Greece
19 participants from Israel, Palestinian territories and Germany

Initiation and organisation: Brigitta M.M. Mahr
Facilitator and consultant: Prof. Dr. Björn Krondorfer

This seminar was also attended by some new members and former students and started with critical reflections about our previous work in FAB. Special attention was given to the clarification of group dynamics against the background of political tensions in the Middle East, and to ways for continuing FAB’s work if the political situation should escalate further.


Using creative methods like sculpture work, we were able to envisage the basis for a continuation of FAB’s work, and work out next steps and new projects.

Special attention was put onto the clarification of the group-dynamic within the current politically tense situation in the Middle-East leading to the question what could be helpful in case a political escalation occurs. The two nations, coming out of the conflict-area introduced „loaded words“, such as zionism, independent state of Palestine into the circle of the three nations, and opened up the space for the opinion of the other.

The seminar was attended by a guest from the University of Neubrandenburg. The university would like to incorporate the Peace Carrier Training in the curricula for their students. Discussions were held about cooperation of the University with FAB and about how such a program could be established.





International Student Seminar / Final meeting Peace-Carrier Training - IV
and FAB planning seminar

1th - 4th March 2012 YMCA Jerusalem
23 participants from Israel and Germany

Initiation and organisation: Brigitta M.M. Mahr
Facilitator and consultant: James Bampfield
Co-director: Ben Eyckmans


This meeting was expanded from the original final student meeting into a reflection and planning session on the future work of FAB.


The background to this decision was the development of the political situation (the settlement policy of the Israeli government and the anti-normalisation policy of the Palestinian leadership), which made it impossible for Palestinian students to attend this meeting. Venue and date for the meeting also had to be shifted. Eventually, two Palestinian members were able to join and to explain the situation. Together, the meeting then explored future possibilities of continuing or work together. 


For the attending students this was the last international meeting. Concluding sessions in national settings followed.


Israeli and German participants expressed their joint attitude towards the political situation through a protest banner (see picture).




Wall from Palestinian side


FAB Seminar Supervision
9th -10th Dec. 2011, Seminar house Talitha Kumi, Beit Jala
22 participants from Israel, Palestinian territories and Germany (incl. students)

Initiation and organisation: Brigitta M.M. Mahr
Facilitator and consultant: James Bampfield
Co-facilitator: Ben Eyckmans

Development and strengthening of relations between the national groups and individual FAB members; reflections about individual and national loyalities. Exploration of diverging commitment among participants and Mentors within the course work produced deepened insights into and a better understanding of the different social conditions in the daily lives of Palestinians, Israelis, and Germans, as well as of cultural differences between them and their influence on our joint work in FAB.





Forgetting can be helpful - but Remembering is necessary
Meeting about the German-Jewish past
4th - 6th Nov. 2011, Bad Honnef
22 participants from Israel and Germany (incl. students)

Initiation and organisation: Brigitta M.M. Mahr
Facilitator and consultant: Prof. Dr. Björn Krondorfer
Co-facilitator: Dr. med. Elke Horn

The aim of the seminar was to encourage participants to open up to the difficult and sensitive issues resulting from our common German-Jewish past, which continue to complicate the dialogue and inhibit the meeting of hearts and minds between Germans and Jews. An assessment of subjects which continue to remain taboo for Germans and Israelis was followed by reflections and discussions about the present meaning of the Holocaust in Germany and Israel.

Sculpture-work in mixed groups about the subject „What are we allowed to forget and what should be remembered“.


Special format of constellation-work: „The spirit coming out of the box of oblivion/forgetting“.




Work with sculptures - Israeli Group (detail)
Work with sculptures - Palestinian Group


Empathy without Borders -

(German) Desires and the Jewish Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

29 th Apr. 2011, Workshop of the 5th International Conference Würzburg "Conflict Transformation and Mysticism"
31 participants from Israel, Palestinian territories, Germany and participants of the conference

Initiation and moderation: Brigitta M.M. Mahr
Facilitator: Brigitta M. M. Mahr, Prof. Dr. Björn Krondorfer

FAB International. Public Relation (PR). Presentation of the vision and the goals of FAB.

Joint work with sculptures: Participants in the seminar and FAB members created three groups; each agreed on a sculpture to express their national identity; this was followed by analyses and interpretations of the differences and parallels between the sculptures.  




Gina Ross

Appreciation versus Degradation 

International Student Seminar / Peace-Carrier Training - III
26th –28th Apr. 2011, Frankfurt/M.
31 participants from Israel, Palestinian territories and Germany

Initiation and organisation: Brigitta M.M. Mahr
Facilitator and consultant: Gina Ross and 10 assistents

The aim of this seminar was to familiarize participants with the nature of traumatic experiences, its effect on the individual and at the collective level, and ways to heal them.

Gina Ross, the well-respected psychotherapist and founder of the International Trauma-Healing Institute, USA, and the Israeli Trauma Center in Jerusalem, lectured on the characteristics, classification and stages of traumatic experiences.

Two days of group and pairexercises on trauma work were held under the professional supervision of Gina Ross and their assistants, using the trauma therapeutic method of „Somatic Experiencing“ developed by Peter A. Levine. 




Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum Jerusalem
Lifta, destroyed Palestinian village

FAB Student Training 2010/11  part 2  34 min.

Israeli Independence versus Palestinian Catastrophe Al Nakba

International Student Seminar / Peace-Carrier Training - II
3rd -5th March 2011, Christmas Hotel East-Jerusalem
24 participants from Israel, Palestinian territories and Germany

Initiation and organisation: Brigitta M.M. Mahr, Mamoun Kassem.
Facilitators: Zidan Jwihan, Palestinian Territories
Avner Dinur, Israel
Suleyman Nijem (Visit Palestinian villages)

In this second seminar, the prospective Palestinian, Israeli, and German Peace-Carriers explored the Israeli-Palestinian and Jewish-German past. Together they visited Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem. The students walked through the museum in groups composed of one Palestinian, one Israeli and one German participant, accompanied by a Mentor. In this way they were better able to exchange their impressions to support each other.


During the visit of the villages Lifta, Sataf, Al Qastal and Al Malhah, which were destroyed during the „Nakba“, participants were confronted with the Israeli-Palestinian past. Together, the students listened to memories from the past and learned how the land of the former villages is used today. It was especially moving to hear that quite a few of the displaced Palestinian families still retain the keys to their abandoned houses, passing them on to the next generations as a sign of their hopes for their return.

FAB Student Training 2010/11 - part 1 UT EN 16 min.

Regaining Hope through Self-Awareness

1st International Student Seminar / Peace-Carrier Training - I
2nd -10st Aug. 2010, Seminar house Talitha Kumi Beit Jala / Bethlehem
42 participants from Israel, the Palestinian territories and Germany


Initiation and organisation: Brigitta M.M. Mahr

Co-organisation: Mamoun Kassem, Alon Gayer
Facilitator and consultant: Prof. Dr. Björn Krondorfer
Facilitator: James Bampfield
National Facilitators:

Zidan Jwihan, Palestinian Territories
Avner Dinur, Israel
Andreas Beier, Germany
Constellation work: Dr. Albrecht Mahr

This seminar formed the core of the 2-year Peace-Carrier training program. 24 students, 8 from each group, took part. A parallel process was organized for the group of Mentors.


The participants had already prepared for in their respective national contexts. They had thus gained a deepened knowledge about the Israeli-Arab conflict and the Holocaust, and they had acquired skills in intercultural communication. They also had explored their own and their family biographies and reflected on their own personal attitudes towards the conflict.


The main aims of the seminar were to listen to the views and to understand the perceptions of the other sides in this trialogue; to gain a deeper understanding of conflict dynamics, to remain in contact and stay in dialogue with the others despite painful memories, prejudice and traumata, preserving their own capacity to empathize with others; and to explore together viable paths to oppose violence and contain its effects in violent surroundings.


Key modules of the seminar:

“Loaded words” exercise: Dialogues on phrases loaded with conflict potential, which easily trigger emotional reactions.

Exercises on communication, conflict management and active listening.

“Witnessing circles”: Sharing personal experiences of fear, violence and its effects. While one group was talking, another was listening and the third supporting.

Systemic Constellations Work: Individual and collective fields of conflict were explored and worked on.


Excursion to Jerusalem: Visit of historical sites and museums, which included some debasing experiences at checkpoints for the Palestinians, although they had a special official permission for this visit.


Further elements: Memory work, sculpture work, meditation exercises, reflection units, cultural evenings, soccer and dance, planning of peace-supporting activities and preparations for the return to the normal daily surroundings and difficulties at home.


Key ingredients for the success of this seminar were the mix of different approaches and methodologies, the fact that there was enough time for national groups to meet on their own, and the strong support by our Mentors who were experienced in trauma work.




Work with sculptures Israeli Group
Work with sculptures Palestinian Group

Seminar „Peace is a tree and grows slowly“
6th - 9th Aug. 2009, Notre Dame Center, East Jerusalem
21 participants from Israel, the Palestinian territories and Germany

Initiation and organisation: Brigitta M.M. Mahr, Mamoun Kassem
Facilitator and consultant: Prof. Dr. Björn Krondorfer

New participants and Mentors from the Palestinian territories and from Israel, mainly from the South around Sderot, met for the first time with Germans.

Key elements:

Work with sculptures: Every group agreed on a common ensemble of body postures meant to illustrate different aspects of their respective national identities. Comparison and discussion of the differences and similarities of the three sculptures.   

Planning for the joint preparation of the first international training program in 2010.


report (pdf) »




Work on family biographies

29th May – 1st June 2009, Seminar-house Wasmuthhausen Germany
15 participants from Germany

Initiation and organisation: Brigitta M.M. Mahr
Facilitator and consultant: Prof. Dr. Björn Krondorfer

Meeting of German members with the intention to clarify their own personal, cultural and national background and their position within the trilateral framework of FAB’s  Palestinian-Israeli-German peace work.

Starting by exploring their own cultural roots and family upbringings, the perspective was then broadened to the tri-partite approach of FAB by introducing standpoints from the other groups.

report (pdf) »
Wall Beit Jala / Bethlehem

Meeting of the Facilitators
12th - 15th Aug. 2008, Seminar-house Talitha Kumi, Beit Jala16 participants from Israel, Palestinian territories and Germany


Initiation and organisation: Brigitta M.M. Mahr


Discussion, definition and agreement on the internal and external structure of FAB.  First outline of the international training program.




FAB Mentors – Pilotproject 2007 / Trailer 7 min.

Pilot project for mentors „Let me see through your eyes“  
6th – 18th Oct. 2007 Seminar-house Reimlingen Germany   
32 participants from Israel, Palestinian territories and Germany

Initiation and organisation: Brigitta M.M. Mahr
Osama Natsheh, Palestinian territories
Sharon Leshem-Zinger, Israel
Andreas Beier, Germany 
Constellation work: Dr. Albrecht Mahr
Art-project: Guido Kratz                                                                         

The purpose of this seminar was to introduce the Mentors, who had not met before, to come to know each other through intense personal encounters. Thus, they were able to gain a deeper understanding of the dynamics of conflict in the Middle East, to connect with each other and work together as a group, and to familiarize themselves with their tasks as supporters of the students in the Peace-Carrier-Program.

Under the guidance of the Facilitators, the participants followed the process of the students in their later training. The purpose was to change the „hostile view“ towards the other group and to develop a firm orientation towards peaceful cooperation.

Dr. Albrecht Mahr, founder of the Institute for Constellation-Work and Integrative Solutions, in his work with the group brought out the continuing relevance of past aspects of the conflict in the Middle East and experiences from the time of the Holocaust and World War II.


Following the method of "Compassionate Listening", Palestinians, Israelis and Germans also were able to share personal experiences with each other that had affected their own life and work, as well as that of their families.


Further methods: Work in mixed groups of three, in national groups, an arts project and informal gatherings.

In the final gathering all participants emphasized the importance of their experiences and the necessity to continue the work.


report 1 (pdf) »          report 2 (pdf) »  




Configuration of Friendship Across Borders e.V.

2004 – 2007 numerous meetings in Israel, Palestinian territories

and Germany with Jewish Israelis, Palestinians and Germans


Basic work to organise and establish an Israeli, Palestinian and German group. Exchange and development of common targets concerning the future work of FAB. Preparation and planning of the pilot project "Let me see through your eyes“.



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