‘Israel, Palestine and Me:’ Reflection and Dialogue Event Planned
Kent State University’s School of Peace and Conflict Studies and School of Communications Studies are collaborating on an event to bring students together to talk about the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.
The event, “Israel, Palestine and Me: Students' Forum for Reflection and Dialogue,” will take place at 4 p.m. on Nov. 16, in the May 4 Reflection Gallery (Room 141) of Taylor Hall.
R. Neil Cooper, Ph.D., director of the School of Peace and Conflict Studies, said the purpose of the forum is to create a safe, welcoming space for currently enrolled Kent State students of all backgrounds “to reflect on the events unfolding in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank, and other areas in the region, listen to each other and to seek a deeper and broader understanding of the issues at stake for both parties.”
Kent State faculty members from the School of Peace and Conflict Studies who have experience leading discussions and facilitating dialogue will be on hand to assist participants but will not be lecturing on the issue.
“This is not designed as an event where we will be taking a particular position on the conflict,” Cooper said. “Rather, it is very much designed as a forum for students to reflect on the current violence and to share their questions, concerns and anxieties.”
A further aim of the event, Cooper said, “is to help students develop the tools for finding accurate, reputable, reliable media sources and for constructively engaging in discussions about the events unfolding each day in this conflict.”
Israel declared war on Hamas after the Islamist militant group launched a brutal attack on Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,400 in Israel and kidnapping more than 240. Israel retaliated by launching an air and ground offensive on Gaza, vowing to eliminate the militant group. The most recent death toll estimates from the conflict include more than 10,000 in Gaza.
Kent State President Todd Diacon, soon after the conflict began, issued a statement urging the campus community "to practice and follow our Kent State core values, including kindness and respect in all we do, coupled with a commitment to the freedom of expression."
Cooper said knowledge of Israel-Palestine relations is not required for students to attend the event and take part. “Students should come prepared to discuss what the events in Gaza and Israel mean to them,” he said.
Students interested in attending should email their RSVP by Nov. 14, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Food will be provided at the event.