The Middle East Peace and Democracy Circle (MEPDC) offers WDN members the opportunity to broaden and deepen their knowledge of the region’s complex issues. The Circle has two primary goals:
- 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 ongoing 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.
Our Current Focus
The Circle is particularly interested in educating the membership about groups promoting peace and democracy, with a special interest in supporting the inclusion of women and diverse voices in such efforts.
One such project that the Circle has supported over the last two years is Just Vision’s media project Local Call. An independent Hebrew-language media platform, Local Call promotes civic awareness and activism aimed at ending the occupation and promoting values of pluralism and equality. Its intersectional approach amplifies stories of women’s leadership along with other marginalized groups. It also directly engages struggles for gender equity and ending gender-based violence, and serves as a platform for sharing best practices across nonviolent grassroots movements.
From 2003 through 2011, WDN’s Mideast Peace Circle focused on the Israel-Palestine conflict. In 2011, the Circle undertook a strategic planning process and decided to broaden the frame of its work to become the Middle East Peace and Democracy Circle.
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, 14 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. And in 2014, members of the Circle lobbied on our WDN on the Hill trip to promote the Women, Peace, and Security Act in partnership with our Women Building a Just Peace Circle.