Aug 2013 / The story of Hand in Hand pioneering schools, almost the only bilingual ones in Israel, and the joint Arab - Jewish communities surrounding them. (Shafiq Masalha, PhD, President Hand In Hand)
Empowerment and Resilience in Children Everywhere (ERICE)
Its Mission StatementGuided by the belief that children everywhere are to be cherished and that respect for and protection of children is a shared human value, ERICE works to promote human rights, joint action, training and interventional projects focused on enhancing the well-being of children and families affected by the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. ERICE brings together child mental health professionals from Israel and Palestine to formulate and accomplish joint projects to enhance the well being of children and families that neighbor one another in this strife-torn region of the world.
The initial plans to establish ERICE took place following a meeting of parents of children (both Arab-Israeli and Jewish Israeli) enrolled in a Kindergarten at the YMCA in Jerusalem 2004 organized by Shafiq Masalha, PhD.
The first formal meeting of the group was sponsored by Fondazione Child and was held in Berlin at the Italian Embassy in 2004. The second formal meeting took place in Erice (Sicily, Italy) in 2005. During that meeting the group adopted the name E.R.I.C.E., not only in honor of the name of the place but also an acronym of their common goal (Empowerment and Resilience in Children Everywhere).
Subsequent meetings have taken place in Rome, Florence and in the region. The most recent ERICE meeting took place in August 2013 at the Innocenti Centre in Florence, Italy. Forty professionals took part in this meeting sponsored by Fondazione Child, the Fetzer Institute and Yale University.
The Current Leadership of ERICE
- President: Shafiq Masalha, PhD
- Board of Directors: Hazem AShour, MD; Morshid Farhat, MD, MPH, JD, MBA; Alan Apter, MD; Tawfiq Salman, MD; and Itamar Lurie, PhD
- Co-ordinator: Maya Fennig
Members of the ERICE group include: Arab-Israeli academics, physicians and psychologists; Jewish Israeli academics, physicians and psychologists; and Palestinian academics, physicians and psychologists.
Formation of a Non-Governmental Organization
Thanks to the efforts of Dr. Ernesto Caffo and the leadership of Fondazione Child, ERICE has been established as a new NGO based in Italy. This evolutionary step has been supported by ERICE's partner organizations and institutions: Fondazione Child, International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC), UNICEF, the Fetzer Institute and Yale University.
At present, a number of projects are being developed including Joint Palestinian-Israeli Training Programs for mental health professionals to enhance the resilience, safety and well-being of children and their families.