On March 23–24 2017, the Mandel Center for Leadership in the Negev gathered 29 graduates just outside Jerusalem for a two-day retreat that focused on social protests. During the course of the retreat, the group explored critical social issues relevant to the Negev with important thinkers who are leading changes and initiatives in arts and culture, Jewish-Arab relations, conservation of open spaces, development of urban green lungs, and the promotion of multiple aspects of quality of life in cities and throughout the entire region.
The retreat was based on study that focuses both on theory and practice. Participants prepared for the retreat by reading two theoretical papers: Avner de-Shalit’s “The Ten Commandments of How to Fail in an Ecological Campaign," and Eitan Alimi’s “Naming a Child: On the Similarities and Dissimilarities between Social Movements and Interest Groups.” The concepts examined in these articles were explored in an opening lecture by Dr. Noa Milman and were referred to in sessions throughout the retreat, which helped the graduates gain an understanding of how protests succeed (or don’t), as well as what works better and what works worse.
The retreat also included two experiential workshops: a hip hop music workshop led by the poet Amir Manshof at “HaMiffal” (“The Factory” – an art and cultural space in Jerusalem), and a photography workshop led by artists from the Nagar School of Photography in Musrara.
A follow-up meeting for participants, facilitated by Dr. Noa Milman, will provide graduates interested in this topic, as well as graduates leading protests on the ground, with an opportunity for further exploration of theoretical aspects of the use of protests – in the broadest sense of the term – as a tool for change.