Middle East Nonviolence and Democracy (MEND) promotes active nonviolence and encourages
alternatives to violence among youth and adults throughout Palestine. MEND employs innovative
methods, especially with the media, and is widely respected for working with authenticity, professionalism
and courage.

Recently there has been a growing interest in alternatives to violence even at the level of long-term
political activists. In fact these activists and community leaders have specifically expressed their
dissatisfaction with the cycle of violence and its results, and requested information and training for active

MEND, having built its reputation on a holistic and creative approach to violence in schools, has taken this
approach further to reach the general population. Working through film, the internet, radio, bumper
stickers, posters, and news advertisements, MEND has changed the local attitude to nonviolence from one
of scepticism or dismissal (when MEND was first established in 1998) to one of interest and appreciation - so
that now even the Palestinian President talks about nonviolence. If there can be a visible nonviolence
movement, this will give hope to all those on both sides who fear the cycle of violence and cannot see
any partners for peace.

MEND is expanding rapidly with the burgeoning interest in nonviolence, and now consists of the
headquarters in East Jerusalem, and eight regional centres for active nonviolence and eleven community
centres/libraries. As an active member in the Arab Partnership for Conflict Prevention and Human Security,
MEND is also rapidly becoming a regional organization.

MEND is registered in three locations:

England (since July 2005) - launched Nov.14 2005 at the London School of Economics
The West Bank/PA areas (since August 2004)
Israel (as an "amuta' - since February 1998)

MEND has no political affiliations and its sole political goal is to promote peace in the Middle East.
MEND does not discriminate - women and men of a wide range of nationalities, religions and political
affiliation work and have worked with us. MEND incorporates gender awareness in all its projects.

The Core Staff at MEND:

  • Lucy Nusseibeh (Founder and Director – MA Oxford, MA Harvard, 2004-2006 Senior Fellow at the
    Women and Public Policy Programme, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University).
  • Hodoub Allan (Finance Officer)
  • Hejazi Jaaberi (Hebron/southern coordinator)
  • Yacoub Rujoub (Izariyya/youth coordinator)
  • Nour Shahadeh (Tul Karem/Northern region coordinator)
  • Adel Ruished (Board Member, Monitoring Committee, MBA Al-Quds University)
  • Suha Lahlo (Jenin)
  • Lama Aslan (Nablus)
  • Amera Sous (secretary)
  • Issa Asslan (project manager)

We work with many experts on a contract basis and have built up a wide and highly professional network
over the years of both Palestinians and internationals. We welcome volunteers throughout the year.

The Board of Trustees:

  • Dr. Marwan Abu Zalaf, Editor-in-Chief, Al-Quds Newspaper
  • Dr. Jantien Dajani, Paediatrician and Director, Spafford Children’s Centre
  • Adel Ruished, Government Relations, Al-Quds University,
  • Dr. Mohammad Shtayyeh, Director PECDAR – former Minister of Housing
  • Ambassador Hind Khoury, Palestinian Ambassador to France
  • Ali Hassoune, Director, Ministry of NGO Affairs
  • Suheil Omary, Director, Acre Children’s Centre

MEND is a Catalyst for Empowerment and Social Transformation

  • How We Work: Four Organisational Principles: Capacity Building, Outreach, Media, Education.

While MEND works holistically towards peace, and more specifically towards empowering Palestinians,
both individually and collectively, towards raising awareness of choice and towards rekindling hope, the
work is based on four organizational pillars, capacity building, outreach, media, and education,
around a core pillar of nonviolence education. The capacity building is an essential component in working
to promote democracy and nonviolence, as it helps people to fulfill their potential and to function better
together in a more participatory way: MEND’s trainings and community centres/libraries and also the work
with schools, fit within this context. MEND trains in the method of participatory video, which increases self-
awareness and crucial planning capacity, at the same time as imparting video skills. MEND is a member of
the Society of Organisational Learning. Outreach is essential through publications and media in order to
reach the many and increasingly isolated communities in this tiny country; because of the actual physical
barriers (many population centres are completely enclosed by the “separation barrier”) that prevent
people leaving their places of residence.

For the same reason, media is essential in order to reach the entire population as effectively as possible; by
working with media to raise awareness both inside the country among Palestinians on issues of
nonviolence, gender, etc., as a source of help and support in times of crisis, as an example, and also outside
the country to articulate the needs and concerns and the humanity of the Palestinians. For instance, one of
MEND’s most successful campaign has been with bumper stickers in Arabic and English, and in Hebrew and
English, with the same slogans in each language, which reach across the common human concerns of both
peoples; e.g. “What about our Children?” Finally, it is only via extensive work with the education system
that future generations will be given the best chance of taking an active part in creating the future they
would like to live. MEND’s materials are distributed via the Ministry of Education and the UNRWA and all our
training work is coordinated with these key educational institutions. All these are organized around the
core values of self-awareness and empowerment.  

  • Our Goals: Peace Via Breaking the Stereotypes, regionally and internationally

Our overall goal is to build a peaceful future in this region and this therefore involves work outside the
Palestinian community, as well as inside. One of the most important, but very difficult obstacles to
overcome, is the image of the Palestinians as terrorists. This image is not only utterly unfair, but in feeding
into Israeli fears, it undermines any possibilities for peace and perpetuates the cycle of violence; polls
show that over 70% pf both Israelis and Palestinians would opt for a two state solution and see the major
problem as lack of trust; it is these majorities that need to be reached and satisfied, and allowed to live
the normal life they crave, not the few extremists. At MEND we are working to change the negative
stereotypes by raising our profile internationally and by giving talks and distributing our films abroad.
We have also started to develop a nonviolence network regionally, starting via a consultation on
nonviolence with women from all over the Middle East, and as co-founders of the Arab Partnership for
Conflict Prevention and Human Security. As founding members of the Global Nonviolent Peaceforce,  our
core staff, the four regional coordinators and one of our board members are now (from October 20 –
November 4th) participating in a regional training and networking initiative with Nova and the Nonviolent

  • Our Justification: The Potential and Need for Nonviolence Now

The power of nonviolence has been demonstrated many times during the previous century, and as wars
affect more civilians and become more potentially devastating, its importance is increasingly
acknowledged. Given the overwhelming balance of military power in favour of Israel, nonviolence is
the only possible way for Palestinians to resist the Israeli occupation. In the context of this conflict (“the
stone in the shoe of the world”) the vicious cycle of violence and violent reactions can only be broken by
a total refusal to continue in that cycle; by a refusal to be provoked into violent reaction, however strong
the emotional need, and by channelling the necessary reactions into nonviolent activities. The occupation
has lasted thirty-nine years; the first war between Israelis and Palestinians was over fifty years ago, and
although in general Jews and Arab Christians and Arab Moslems all lived their lives in reasonable harmony
up until that war, with each day the current conflict continues, the fears and the anger fester more, and
the violence is more likely to erupt uncontrollably and to be reacted to (both for and against) equally