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Refusing to be Enemies: The Zeitouna Story

Posted on Aug 07 2014 under Cultural Conflict, Previous Programs

Huda Karaman Rosen Laurie White Wadad Abedzena Zumeta







Zeitouna is Arabic for “olive tree” or “olive”.  In the sumer of 2002, a unique sisterhood was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, comprised of six Arab and six Jewish women.  Naming themselves Zeitouna, they unknowingly embarked on a life-changing journey, both personal and socio-political.  Committing to learn to hear each voice in the group has permanently joined them across the divide of their ancestral communities.  Zeitouna’s mission is to embody and promote the peaceful and just coexistence of the Arab and Jewish peoples through connection, trust, empathy, and actions focused on supporting a sustainable future for Palestine and Israel.


Huda Karaman Rosen is a Palestinian living in America since 1962, an advocate for social justice and peace efforts, retired from the health care and education fields, and co-founder of Bustan al-Funun: Foundation for Arab Arts in America.  She has been involved in mediation and conflict resolution since 2008.

Laurie White is a filmmaker, mediator, psychotherapist, community organizer, yoga practitioner and singer-songwriter.  She was privileged to be entrusted with documenting the Zeitouna’s evolution in her film “Refusing to Be Enemies — the Zeitouna Story”.  She is a founding member of Zeitouna.

Wadad Abed was born and raised in Nablus Palestine and immigrated to the US in 1968. She is active in efforts that focus on crossing divides and building bridges. Wadad co-founded Bustan Al-Funun to support Arab Arts in America. She is a member of the Senate of the University Musical Society, and is past president of the Board of Directors of ACCESS. Wadad is a strategic business and marketing consultant.

Zena Zumeta, internationally known as both a mediator and trainer of mediators.  She is president of the Mediation Training & Consultation Institute, Zena Zumeta Mediation Services, and The Collaborative Workplace in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Zena is a lawyer and a former president of the Academy of Family Mediators.  She is the recipient of the the Michigan Lifetime Achievement in Mediation Award; the National Education Association/Saturn Corporation Award for Union-Management Collaboration; the John Haynes Distinguished Mediator Award; and the Kumba Award from the National Conference on Minorities in ADR.

For more Information:  Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue

For more Information:  “The Zeitouna Story”

“The Zeitouna Story” is available on DVDDVD-The Zeitouna Story.  To purchase please email:  lauriewhite@eyedream1world.com

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