As a 2007 Advocacy Project Fellow for Peace I am preparing to work in the East Jerusalem office of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. The Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) is Germany’s oldest and largest political foundation. Founded in the aftermath of WWI, banned by the Nazis and reborn under the Marshall Plan, the FES is a living monument to democracy. With a staff of nearly 600, an annual budget of 111 million Euros and offices in 90 countries, the FES hardly resembles the small organizations that my Advocacy Project colleagues will work with. It does, however, play a role in advancing international cooperation and engendering positive peace similar to AP partners in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Guatemala, Italy and elsewhere.
I was placed as an AP Peace Fellow with the FES largely because of my familiarity with the organization. Since September 2006 I have been working for the FES office in Washington. As Congressional Liaison I coordinate meetings between Members of the German Parliament and Members of the US Congress, inform the Hill about Berlin, inform Berlin about the Hill and research transatlantic cooperation around the world- often in the Middle East. As an AP fellow I will leave my colleagues on K Street for a new home in East Jerusalem without leaving the FES global network.
In the Middle East, the FES works in both the Palestinian Territories and Israel. On the FES Palestine website you will read: “With respect to the government of the Palestinian Autonomous Areas, their topics include supporting reform efforts of the executive, social security systems, and financial policies. With respect to civil society, they include political surveys, adult education, elections, universities as elements of a pluralistic public, gender politics, and labor organizations. With respect to international dialogue, they work to establish fora in Germany and Europe, encounters of future political leaders, cross-border co-operation with Israeli partners and encounters with Arab neighbors.”
As an American working with a German foundation in a predominantly Palestinian community in Israel my fellowship alone conjures a litany of sensitive questions. In the coming months I plan to explore these issues as well as survey the realities of living and working in Jerusalem.
Posted By Erin Wroblewski
Posted May 23rd, 2007