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Crossroads:
graduate studies

Palestinian Alum Spreading Nonviolence

Husam JubranOne day about a year ago, a graduate of EMU’s Conflict Transformation Program was training a group of Palestinians in nonviolent conflict transformation—something obviously very different than suicide bombings. The instructor was Husam Jubran (G 04), and one of his most devoted trainees was a man named Amer Daraghma.

Daraghma spent hours each day traveling to and from the training workshop. The traveling was dangerous. He had to face young, nervous Israeli soldiers at multiple checkpoints. He had to circumvent road closures. He had to forgo earning money to help support his large family. Yet for three straight days Daraghma was in his seat each morning when Husam Jubran’s lessons on nonviolent conflict transformation began.

Then Daraghma failed to appear. It was the fourth and last day of the workshop. Worried, Jubran sought news of Daraghma. Jubran discovered that Daraghma’s home in a refugee camp— where 14 people lived under crowded conditions—had been demolished by the Israeli army the night before.


In addition to training in nonviolent resistance, Husam Jubran’s Holy Land Trust launched an “Until When?” campaign in late 2004. The goal of the campaign is to make individuals, families and communities aware of the impact of violence in all of its forms against children.

Twelve neighboring homes, sheltering an average of seven persons each, were damaged in the process. The demolition was apparently punishment for an act by one of Daraghma’s brothers two years earlier. Without consulting his family, the brother took his life in a suicide bombing.

“Daraghma has chosen another path,” says Jubran. “Yet it is a path made more difficult by Israel’s punishment of himself, his family, and his neighbors for a crime they didn’t commit.” Another participant in the same workshop, Fareed Al-Atrash, suffered the critical shooting of his brother who was participating in an unarmed protest against an Israeli action. Husam Jubran is one of 39 students who earned their masters degree from the Conflict Transformation Program (CTP) in 2004.

“I developed the training sessions on nonviolent resistance based on my studying at CTP,” Jubran wrote in a recent e-mail. “The ability to put together training about facilitation, conflict, nonviolence, peacebuilding, and human rights didn’t come to me from heaven. It came because of the hard work and great courses I had at CTP.” Jubran added that he also wished to give credit to the Fellowship of Reconciliation for teaching him about nonviolent action. [Husam Jubran’s curriculum can be found online at www.holylandtrust.org/pnr_nvt.html.] Now that Jubran is back in his home country, applying the lessons learned at CTP, Jubran says he realizes that CTP “is one of the best programs in the world. I witness this fact every day through my work.” Jubran is laboring at a frenetic pace to train people throughout Palestine in the techniques of nonviolent conflict transformation, as pioneered by Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and others. In 2004 alone, Jubran trained about 600 people in 21 separate workshops. Last June, for example, Jubran attracted 320 participants to four days of training in a village near Ramalleh. Jubran’s workshops attract people from different faiths and backgrounds: Muslims, Christians, non-religious, men, women, young, and old. They came from towns, villages and refugee camps.

“Many people from different villages are approaching us to do nonviolence trainings,” Jubran reports. “Our main “There is no exit unless we defeat the pillars of injustice through the power of nonviolence.”

Palestinian alum spreading nonviolence Photo courtesy of Husam Jubran (center) problem is that there are not enough qualified trainers. That is why I am working with five trainers—three females and two males—to prepare them to lead training on their own.”

Jubran works under the umbrella of a non-profit organization, the Holy Land Trust, whose peace work receives support from the Mennonite Central Committee. Due to the popularity of his trainings, Jubran is producing a “culturally appropriate” manual in English and Arabic to spread the theories and practices of nonviolent conflict transformation more widely.

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Jubran lives in Bethlehem where he is visited for part of each week by his wife, Jumana, and two-year-old daughter, Mayar. The daughter was born in Harrisonburg in 2003 while Jubran was studying at EMU.

They are not able to live as a family because of an Israeli law that prevents Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip from family unification if they are married to Israelis or Jerusalemites. Jubran’s situation drives him to work harder for a just and lasting peace in the holy land. “There is no exit,” he says, “unless we defeat the pillars of injustice through the power of nonviolence.”

—Bonnie Price Lofton (G 04), CTP director of development graduate studies