Ashley Moore, a friend of mine, just told me about a couple of her college classmates, Casey and Dana, who started a nonprofit organization with a most unusual mission.
In fact, you may find it hard to believe.
Casey and Dana launched a summer program called the Society for Humanitarian Archaeological Research and Exploration, or “SHARE.” Their primary work is to sponsor archaeological digs in the Middle East and to make it a learning experience. So far, it simply sounds intriguing, right? Keep reading.
At “SHARE,” they take equal numbers of Israeli and Palestinian teens to nearby archaeological digs and have them spend two weeks working and learning relevant history together. They just finished their very first program two weeks ago even though the conflict in the area called for lots of last minute rescheduling for work that was supposed to happen in Gaza.
On their website, you can read the words, “Founded in 2010, SHARE seeks to actively engage young people on all sides of a conflict by providing archaeological training in the field as well as an unbiased, neutral setting within which participants may engage with the past, the present and one another on their own terms.
“We maintain that archaeology can provide a unique opportunity for meaningful dialogue, precisely because of the often contested position it occupies in the socio-political arena. What is more, the highly physical, complicated and goal-oriented nature of archaeological fieldwork requires cooperation and teamwork on a daily basis, fostering camaraderie and the creation of meaningful, lasting relationships.”
Consider this initiative. At a time when their parents or grandparents would never dream of Palestinians and Israelis collaborating on a venture like this, a new generation is open to it. In fact, projects like this might just pave the way for a new reality in the future. Further, I believe there’s never been a better moment to highlight a little good happening in this part of the world. I, for one, am proud of Casey and Dana for what they’re building: an organization by young peopleand about young people.
What Can We Learn From This Initiative?
1. Youth don’t have to be confined by the baggage of their predecessors.
As we lead Generation iY, let’s work to guide them but not impose our prejudice or bigotry on them. Children are wet cement—we must be careful how we shape them.
2. Youth are not limited by the boundaries or scope of past generations.
With a little encouragement, Generation iY can come up with the most incredible ideas and pursue amazing vision that our paradigms don’t allow.
3. Youth should not be reduced to past methods or perspective.
I believe this emerging generation doesn’t seek incremental growth. They want to experience exponential growth by pursuing goals in an entirely new manner.
Do you remember the story of young Steve Jobs, who invited John Sculley to leave PepsiCo in 1983 and lead Apple Computer? When Sculley told him he didn’t want to leave his position, Steve Jobs leaned forward and asked, “Mr. Sculley, do you want to sit around here, making sugar water the rest of your life…or do you want to change the world?”
This is a picture of today. We have a new batch of young adults who aren’t attracted by the idea of making a living or climbing a corporate ladder (if that’s all we have to offer them for a career, most will move back home to mom). They want to change the world. Given a chance to do things entirely differently, they may just do it.
Thanks, Casey and Dana, for the reminder.
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