Thursday, January 20, 2011

Lauren Blaxter: The Bard Palestinian Cooperation

Lauren Blaxter is a student at Bard College in the Hudson Valley and is a coordinator for the Bard Palestinian Youth Initiative (BPYI), formerly the Bard Palestine Cooperation (BPC). The BPYI was founded in 2009 by Mujahed Sarsur who was born in the West Bank village of Mas-ha and is in the Bard College class of 2012. Lauren traveled for the first time to Mas-ha during the summer of 2010 as a participant in the Bard Palestinian Youth Initiative's outreach to young girls in the village and became a coordinator because of the profound impact the program had on her. This unique organization aims to foster a human connection between a diverse group of Bard students and the Palestinian residents of Mas-ha in order to form cultural understanding in a region where individuals are often reduced to the status of objects due to the tragic conflicts that continue to claim a grim toll of human lives. Our conversation ranges from Mujahed's original trip in 2009 when he made a groundbreaking visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum with a group of Palestinian youth to Lauren's experiences forming human relationships that have given depth to critical issues which transcend politics and borders.

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