GaliLead program takes steps toward world peace

The Tartan is proud that Carnegie Mellon is on its way to becoming a leader in brokering peace in the Middle East. Last June, future Arab and Jewish leaders came together at Carnegie Mellon as part of a new initiative to foster positive relations in the Middle East. The 21 leaders were first-year fellows in the GaliLead Project, a grassroots effort to cultivate a new generation of leaders for the Galilee region in northern Israel.

Not only was the project aimed at reaching out to the global community and strengthening Carnegie Mellon’s ties abroad, it was also an interdisciplinary program that incorporated faculty from the Tepper School of Business, the Heinz School of Public Policy and Management, and the department of psychology. GaliLead focused on both leadership training and policy implementation in order to develop a contingent of Arab and Israeli students who are ready and willing to go back into Galilee and create social change.

Faculty experts in psychology, organizational behavior, and performance effectiveness advised the students on how best to forestall further conflict and promote community building. The students hope that their projects and ideas will generate more interest in the GaliLead and other “community-change” projects.

GaliLead is not the first time that enterprising Carnegie Mellon faculty and students have tried to tackle the ongoing troubles between Israel and Palestine. Two years ago, the Entertainment Technology Center launched the groundbreaking PeaceMaker video game.

PeaceMaker, aimed specifically at Arab and Isreali teenagers, allowed players to choose between the role of Israeli prime minister and Palestinian president so that they could get a better understanding of how the peace process can work. It used the same basic format as violent strategy games to show that peace can be just as challenging as violence.

GaliLead and PeaceMaker, while two drastically different projects, demonstrate that this university is acutely aware of global conflict and is committed, through creative and interdisciplinary means, to being part of
the solution.