Hamline News

CRD Leaves a Lasting Legacy for Peace


The College for Reconciliation (CRD) has gifted the Hamline Global Studies Department $25,000 to support student scholarship and participation in efforts to advance peace in the Middle East.

The CRD was a key component of Hamline faculty members’ participation in U.S. State Department sponsored peace-building efforts between Israel and Arab countries in the Middle East.

Dr. Arie Zmora, husband of Hamline Professor Nurith Zmora, co-founded, with support of Hamline University faculty team and partners from the Middle East, the nonprofit CRD and raised the funds for its operations in Middle East peace-building work. Hamline’s program initially focused on collaborative civics curriculum development for elementary schools in Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Over time, the funding and scope of the programs grew to include high school curricula and expanded further to include work readiness programs.

“We facilitated education projects that brought people together who normally would not even be in the same room,” remembered Professor Zmora.

The CRD was critical to the success of their activities. State Department grants only covered the expenses of bringing participants from the Middle East to Hamline or other program sites around the globe and housing them. A large group of Hamline professors contributed their time, including Nurith Zmora, Colleen Bell, Duane Cady, George Chu, Barbara Elvecrog, Marie Failinger, Ken Fox, Jim Hagen, Sam Imbo, Rob Routhieaux, and Earl Schwartz, which ensured that the instructional components of the program were in place; however, there was no funding for the very important relational aspects of peace building. The CRD filled that funding gap.

“The group needed additional funding to be effective,” said Dr. Zmora. “I knew people and organizations that would support our efforts to build bridges among the participants, so under the advice of Hamline administration, we created the nonprofit organization and went about fundraising.”

The CRD money enabled trips, formal and informal cultural encounters such as visits to theatres, museums, sports events and dinners for the visitors, which facilitated interpersonal engagement and understanding.

“It was in those shared dinners and van rides to Two Harbors, which were only possible because of Arie and the CRD, that Palestinian and Israeli participants could interact, let their guards down and connect,” said Professor Fox.

After thirteen successful years, the CRD board of directors elected to close the nonprofit and present the remaining funds to Hamline’s Global Studies Department to continue the next generation of its work.

“I think that Hamline’s Global Studies Department is in a wonderful position to continue the CRD mission and support the advancement of peace in the Middle East,” noted Dr. Zmora.

The investment will support programs focused on enhancing understanding between Israel and its Middle East neighbors and must focus on students.

“The gift will help our students interested in the Middle East do more and learn more,” says Chair of the Global Studies Department, Professor Leila DeVriese, “The funding provided by the CRD will enable them to attend conferences, engage in fieldwork in the Middle East, develop their language skills, and opens the door to other immersive opportunities.”

For more on Hamline’s work to bring about peace in the Middle East and Dr. Zmora, please see this September 2012 Star Tribune article and a 2013 article titled, Planting the Seeds for Peace that appeared on the Hamline website.