20 years of Willy Brandt Center Jerusalem. These entail a multitude of stories about political and cultural exchange, tales of encounter and discourse, and people fully committed to peace and dialogue. At this year’s anniversary Annual Conference we thanked all our fellows and comrades along the way; we celebrated with our partners and disussed new perspectives for the next 20 years to come.
On Friday, 30th of September, we started with an official reception in the Willy Brandt Center in Jerusalem. We were glad to welcome Andrea Nahles, founder member of the Willy Brandt Center and secretary of Labour and Social Affairs, German embassador in Israel, Dr. Clemens von Goetze, the head of the Representative Office in Ramallah, Peter Beerwerth, a delegation of Members of the German Bundestag with Kerstin Griese, Eva Hoegl, Baerbel Bas and Dagmar Schmidt and representatives of all our partnerorganisations. The Chairwomen of Jusos, Johanna Uekermann, stated the history, support and deep ties between Jusos and Willy Brandt Center: “In the last twenty years we have seen times of hope which brought us closer together and we have seen times where cooperation seemed hardly possible. But the ties between our organisations were never lost and we always have found ways to find back together. Mostly because of the people on all sides who believe in the values and the goals of the Willy Brandt Center and who fight for that against all odds inside their respective societies. We as Jusos cannot even imagine how this struggle is for you, but we are proud, that through the WBC we can still support you in this struggle. And be assured: We will continue to do so”!
All our partnerorganisations and friends of the Willy Brandt Center were invited to join the Annual Conference in Tantur on Saturday, 1st of October. On several panels politicians and young activists discussed issues like how to be a left activist in times of conflict and possible approaches to solve the conflict. Maya Peretz, former member of the political team in the Willy Brandt Center and representative of Young Labour described the challenges and goals of our work: “It is hard to understand that people see the same reality, but different. I see one thing, and my Palestinian partner see the other thing. We have complete different life. It is a progress, that they also understand me. We form a different way of communication. We were not only partners, we were friends.” Andrea Nahles also reminded on Saturday at the historical and unique moment of founding the Willy Brandt Center: “I have to mention the people founding the Willy Brandt Center, Ofer Dekel and Sabri Tomezi. We tried to have a personal relation. We were motivated by the big politics. And you have to be a little bit naive. You have to do it.”
During workshop-sessions in the afternoon organized by activists of our partnerorganisations, we talked about the economic situation in the region, about work in parliament and coalition etc.
Thank you for joining our Annual Conference; we are looking forward to see you on upcoming events in the Willy Brandt Center Jerusalem!