In the informal education sector, aChord Center is working with Atid Yisraeli (Israeli Future), a national collaboration between the Ministry of Education and the Israel Association of Community Centers (IACC) aimed at reducing tensions between groups in an informal education framework. As part of this initiative, we are in the first year of a three-year pilot designed to advance the values of shared society in Community Centers in five mixed cities (Jerusalem, Haifa, Akko, Lod, and Tel Aviv-Yafo). aChord Center serves as a professional expert for Atid Yisraeli, providing training and consultation for the IACC leadership and coordinators, developing tailored tools that fit the informal education framework, creating guidelines for inter-group meetings and initiatives, and developing a user-friendly platform for displaying ongoing research and evaluation findings to promote data-driven programming. The program is designed to mobilize the Community Centers and ancillary programs serving the populations of these cities, engaging their staffs to begin a collaborative process designed to foster and strengthen mutual acquaintance and cooperative relations in the planning and running of local community programs.
“The work we do together is very useful to me in terms of creating a common language for our Project. Yesterday I met my Coordinators in Akko, and I was able to speak with them in a way they understood and in a way that had the desired effect. This was possible because I was using terminology regarding 'Contact' and the different kinds of contact there are, which is something that we learned from you [aChord Center].” Yafit Haikin, Atid Yisraeli Program Director.
The IACC welcomed the Center and the partnership, and its leadership is mobilized and willing to invest in the process. This increases the chances of integration and expansion of the program within the IACC beyond the current pilot. Already, the IACC has asked the Center to work on a deeper level in Akko, the target city we have focused on with additional trainings and consulting during the first year of the pilot. In Akko, we have conducted trainings with leadership and staff from both the Jewish and Arab Community Centers designed to deepen the understanding of implicit psychological processes that underlie social interactions and the effective social-psychological interventions for reducing stereotypes, creating shared identity, managing diversity, etc. We have been asked to work “closer to the ground” by providing trainings to the “frontline staff” – the instructors of the Atid Yisraeli initiatives themselves. In Akko, we are consulting the Community Centers on how to go about a joint work plan of citywide initiatives using methods and approaches from social psychology. IACC has asked us to expand the same model from Akko to the other four mixed cities that are part of the Atid Yisraeli program.