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Space To Breathe

Space To Breathe

Want to have a cultural experience which is about more than simply visiting a place? Want to get to know real people and their real lives in an area of deep division, violence and injustice?

Space to Breathe is a human engagement processes with ‘the other,’ in order to build habits and practices of peace in contested spaces. Young adults from the Middle East (Jewish & Arab Israeli / Palestinian Muslim & Christian) and from Ireland / Northern Ireland (Protestant, RC, Muslim & Jewish), in dialogue with each other regarding their lived experience of life within disputed territories. Irish and Northern Irish young people travel to Palestine, and then to Israel, meeting with young people on both sides of the wall. Several months later, Israeli and Palestinian young people travel to Ireland to take part in a residential program with the Irish and Northern Irish participants. Using ‘Art of Hosting’ techniques and other cultural engagement tools, participants build a framework of understanding that enables action toward the overall stated aim of the initiative.


This Year’s Program

Middle East: Dep Dublin 9th January 2020 - Return Dublin 18th January 2020

Ireland: Prog begins 28th February 2020 -  Ends 4th March 2020

Closing Date for Applications: 8th November

Cost to students €750

This is roughly half the cost of the program per person. The remainder is sought through philanthropic and other funding


Quotes From Past Participants

“The emotion I feel I need to acknowledge is gratitude. I am so grateful to have met such wonderful and inspirational people, and to have seen with my own eyes real evidence of the conflict. The trip has literally restored my faith in the ability of peace to act as a solution to major (and seemingly impossible) issues, and knowing that Israelis/Palestinians saw genuine worth in our participation has motivated me in a major way to do all I can to engage in communication and promote peace in the future.”


“I haven’t had such a surreal 9 days in my short life time. Usually when you’re on a peace/resolution programme you really are in a safe space to discuss and have the craic with those on the programme. On the Space to Breathe programme you really are interacting with people, places and ideologies that are currently being intoxicated by conflict. That sense of uncertainty maybe even fear, at times, led to a greater bond with those who participated, it also led to a deeper awareness of what conflict really is”

“A Space to Breathe became a space to grow. If there were a single sentence to summarise my experience it would be that.”


“Seeing first hand what people encountered everyday hurt my heart, never mind how I felt I couldn’t help … One thing I did learn is that everyone will experience conflict in their life whether it’s on a large scale as we experienced in Israel and Palestine or small scale. The conflict doesn’t define who we are, it’s our reaction to the conflict defines the kind of person we are. This is a huge challenge for all of us (including myself) when conflict enters our life do we run away, fight for our corner or do we communicate and try to resolve it. This is how peace is found”


“Making friends with those I was brought up to believe as the enemy is something that maybe could only have happened on this trip. The programme has achieved its goal of allowing us to breathe in contested spaces while challenging the very core of my reality.”

“Our debriefing time ranged from joyous (after sharing seemingly endless meals topped off with Arabic coffee) to utterly distraught (after particularly difficult conversations). But it is sitting in this very tension – between wonder and hard reality, enjoyment and deep thought, love and fear – that made Space to Breathe so valuable to me. All of us were dedicated to taking an unflinching look at circumstances around us … I went to Israel and Palestine to put faces, names, personal histories to the news and books I had read. I could not have anticipated the amazing trip that unfolded from day one … Being a foreigner who has just barely glimpsed these places and culture, all I have is my narrow perspective, and I’ve tried to not make sweeping generalizations. However, I do want to pay homage to the brilliant people I met – Israeli, Palestinian, Irish – and their beautiful willingness to share their powerful stories. Sitting next to each of those special people as our bus zig-zagged across the rolling country, date palms and orchards and cities softening in sandy sunlight, is a sensation of profound openness that I will carry with me wherever my path leads next.”


Photos From The Trip