1999 Albert Schweitzer Award of Excellence

Givat Haviva

The recipient of the 1999 Albert Schweitzer Award of Excellence is a prominent organization dedicated to peace, justice, and dialogue in Israel and Palestine, Givat Haviva. The Award was presented at the opening convocation of Chapman University. Founded in 1949, Givat Haviva is a center for Jewish and Arab discussion and education. The mission of the center, according to its statement of purpose, is “to cope with the major issues that are on the agenda of Israeli society, and to foster educational initiatives, research and community work in the fields of peace, democracy, coexistence, tolerance and social solidarity.” Dr. Sarah Ozacky-Lazar, one of the directors of the Jewish-Arab Center for Peace of Givat Hivava, accepted the Award on behalf of the organization. She later wrote about the challenges Givat Haviva faces in the context of the violence and unrest in Israel and Palestine:

“The road to peace between Israel and Palestine, in which we have believed for many years and have worked towards strengthening it by people-to-people activity, is full of higher obstacles and seems longer than ever. The efforts of many years to build relations of confidence and civil partnership between Jewish and Arab citizens within the State of Israel have absorbed hard blows from both sides that have left open wounds which will take a long time to heal…

“We turn to you, our friends and supporters in Israel and the world-be with us in these difficult hours, propose ideas to us, share with us your thoughts and support us in the continuation of our work. It has been proved more than ever how preferable the road of dialogue and discussion is to the road of violence and killing. We have seen before our eyes how horrible is the alternative and we are determined and committed to continue our efforts of reconciliation and healing the wounds to the best of our ability.”

For additional information about Givat Haviva, see the Givat Haviva website.