From 2003 through 2011, WDN’s Mideast Peace Circle (MEPC) focused on the Israel-Palestine conflict. In 2007, the Circle established two primary goals to:
- Fund progressive peace initiatives for a just, sustainable, and non-violent resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, using a feminist lens;
- Create a framework for an on-going process that includes learning and dialogue, and an opportunity to respond to the conflict in a way that feels authentic, informed and constructive, and acknowledges a variety of perspectives.
Moved by the recent revolutions and changing political landscape in the Middle East region, in 2011 the Circle undertook a strategic planning process to redefine its goals and objectives and consider an expanded geographical focus for the Circle’s work. The Circle became the Middle East Peace and Democracy Circle (MEPDC) and combines education and action activities to offer its members the opportunity to broaden and deepen their knowledge of the region’s complex issues.
- In 2007, the MEPC funded the first U.S. tour of the International Women’s Commission (IWC), which brings together Palestinian, Israeli, and international women dedicated to an end of the Israeli occupation and a just peace based on international law, human rights, and equality. The goal of this tour was to promote public discussion and support for the peace process and to amplify women’s voices and increase their visibility as peacemakers.
- Since its inception, the Circle has sponsored regular educational activities focused on broadening and deepening our community’s understanding of the complex, critical issues in the Middle East, with a particular focus on the role of women in conflict resolution.
- In 2009, fourteen members of the Circle participated in a trip to Israel/Palestine with the goals of experiencing the cultures, narratives, history, women’s leadership, current realities, and the progressive efforts in the region.
- The trip mobilized members of the MEPC to participate in a collaborative funding initiative. Members raised $115,000 in support of organizations working for peace and justice in the region.
- In 2010 the Mideast Peace Circle became as an Executive Producer of the award-winning documentary film Budrus, an inspiring documentary about a small Palestinian village in the Occupied Territories that promotes the power and effectiveness of nonviolent, grassroots change.
- In February 2012, a group of WDN members traveled to Israel and the Palestinian Territory on a Congressional Women’s Leadership Mission, organized in partnership with the J Street Education Fund.
The Middle East Peace and Democracy Circle addresses the Israel/Palestine conflict by focusing on the broader region’s complex history, current realities, challenges, and transformations. Through education and individual and collaborative philanthropic efforts, it supports and advocates for a constructive and equitable U.S. policy that promotes stability, peace and security, and economic viability of the region’s emerging democracies. The Circle’s education and action activities aim to elevate and strengthen progressive women’s leadership in all aspects of the public discourse, in the U.S. and the Middle East.