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Published on Aug 12, 2009
A UNDP-supported conflict recovery project in Lebanon , in collaboration with the Government, is breaking down prevailing stereotypes held by Palestinian and Lebanese youth through a unique program. The summer school brings together 22 Lebanese and Palestinian young people in an isolated setting and works with them to build better dialogue skills. It is located deep in the Aley Mountains and far from amy conflict. Lebanon has been riven by conflict for decades, with much of it affecting Palestinians living in refugee camps and their Lebanese neighbors. In 2005, The Lebanese Government made it a priority to improve the living conditions of people living in the refugee camps. The Governments mandate includes economic and social improvements; it also aims to open up dialogue and understanding between the two groups. Over the course of four days, the students talk, they work in team projects and they participate in trust building exercises. The participants are all between the ages of 20 and 30. They are all activists or work for local NGOs in their region. Each year, the project brings in youth from a different part of Lebanon. This year, the Palestinians hail from a refugee camp in the Saida in southern Lebanon. Their Lebanese counterparts are also their neighbors. The students will now be able to return to their communities with new ideas about their neighbors and a shared vision for the future. They will then turn those ideas in to action.