Lessons from Reconciliation Processes for the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Event Date: Wednesday May 20, 2020
Time: 11:00 am - 12:00 pm ET (US and Canada)
Location: via Zoom


The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and the Middle East Negotiation Initiative
are pleased to present:

A PON Film Series and Panel Event:

Lessons from Reconciliation Processes for the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict


A recording of the panel discussion is available below.

We invite you for a free viewing at your home of the award winning documentary

“One Day After Peace”


And then to join us for a

virtual panel discussion on

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

11:00 am – 12:00 pm ET (US and Canada)


Panel participants:

Robi Damelin

Robi Damelin

Member and Spokesperson for
International Relations, Parents Circle – Families Forum
Film subject

Bassam Aramin

Bassam Aramin

Co-director, Parents Circle – Families Forum

Erez Laufer

Erez Laufer


Gary Mason

Rev. Dr. Gary Mason

Director, Rethinking Conflict

James Sebenius

James Sebenius

Gordon Donaldson Professor of
Business Administration
Harvard Business School

About the film event:

The Panel:  Based on insights from the film, and from Gary Mason’s vast experience in facilitating reconciliation processes in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and following the Good Friday Agreement, as well as Robi Damelin’s and Bassam Aramin’s experiences as participants in reconciliation efforts between Palestinians and Israelis, Professor Jim Sebenius will moderate a panel that will explore the possibility of applying some of these lessons to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its resolution.

The filmOne Day After Peace” (Screenwriters and Directors: Erez Laufer and Miri Laufer) asks whether the means used to resolve the conflict in South Africa can be applied to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict? As someone who experienced both conflicts firsthand, Robi Damelin wonders about this. Born in South Africa during the apartheid era, she later lost her son, who was serving with the Israeli Army reserve in the Occupied Territories. At first she attempted to initiate a dialogue with the Palestinian who killed her child. When her overtures were rejected, she embarked on a journey back to South Africa to learn more about the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s efforts in overcoming years of enmity. Robi’s thought-provoking journey leads from a place of deep personal pain to a belief that a better future is possible.

About the Panelists:

Robi Damelin is the Israeli spokesperson and member of the Parents Circle – Families Forum (PCFF), a group of 600 Israeli and Palestinian families who have lost close family members to the conflict and who work together for reconciliation and a just resolution to the conflict. Robi Damelin’s son, David, was killed by a Palestinian sniper in March of 2002 while he was guarding a checkpoint near a settlement during his army reserve service. Since becoming active in the Parents Circle, Robi has spoken to hundreds and thousands of Israelis and Palestinians and people all over the world to demand that reconciliation be a part of any peace agreement. Robi was named as a 2015 Woman of Impact by Women in the World. In 2014, Robi was selected by the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice as one of four Women PeaceMakers. She is the protagonist featured in the documentary, One Day after Peace.   She regularly contributes to The Forward and Huffington Post.

Bassam Aramin lives in Jericho in the West Bank. At the age of 17, he was incarcerated and spent 7 years in an Israeli jail. He went on to study history and holds an MA in Holocaust studies from the University of Bradford, England. He became a member of the Parents Circle in 2007 after losing his 10-year-old daughter Abir, who was killed by an Israeli border policeman in front of her school. Bassam devotes his time and energies to his conviction for a peaceful, non-violent end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine and to Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation. Bassam is the Palestinian Co-director of the Parents Circle – Families Forum.

Rev. Dr. Gary Mason is a Methodist minister and directs a conflict transformation organization based in Belfast called “Rethinking Conflict.” Prior to this he spent 27 years as a Methodist clergy person in parish ministry in Belfast and has played an integral role in the Northern Irish peace process. He played a key role in establishing the $30 million Skainos project, a world class urban center, developed in a post conflict society as a model of co-existence and shared space. It is acknowledged as the largest faith-based redevelopment project in Western Europe. As a close advisor to Protestant ex-combatants on the civilization efforts of paramilitaries, Gary was instrumental in facilitating negotiations with paramilitaries and government officials, and in 2007 his contribution was formally recognized by the Queen. In 2009, Gary’s church was the stage from which Loyalist paramilitaries announced their weapons decommissioning.

Gary has lectured in political and academic forums throughout Europe, South Africa, the Middle East and the U.S.A. on lessons from the Irish peace process. He has been interviewed on CNN, BBC, ITV and various radio programs. He holds a PhD in Psychology from the University of Ulster, completed his theological studies at Queens University, and a Bachelor’s in Business Studies from the University of Ulster.

Gary is a Senior Research Fellow at the Kennedy Institute for Conflict Intervention at Maynooth University in Ireland. He is an Adjunct Professor at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta. Gary is a faculty advisor and partner to the Harvard University program Negotiation Strategies Institute.

Director Erez Laufer has been working in the documentary world for the last 30 years internationally. He has worked on numerous projects with renowned filmmakers Chris Hegedus and D. A. Pennebaker, including on the Oscar nominated The War Room for Best Documentary (1993). He co-edited Laura Poitras’ Oscar nominated My Country, My Country (2006). His latest film Rabin in His Own Words won the award for Best Documentary at Haifa International Film Festival 2015. His film Mike Brant, Laisse-Moi T’aimer was awarded the 2002 Israeli Academy Award for Best Documentary, and had its international premiere at the Directors Fortnight, Cannes Film Festival 2003. Erez was also involved with numerous international documentary film projects such as STEPS, Why Democracy? and many more.

James Sebenius specializes in analyzing and advising on complex negotiations. He holds the Gordon Donaldson Professorship of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. In 1993, he took the lead in the School’s decision–unique among major business schools–to make negotiation a required course in the MBA Program and to create a Negotiation Unit (department) which he headed for several years. The Negotiation Unit grew to several full-time negotiation faculty teaching the required course to over 800 students per year as well as offering advanced dealmaking and negotiation courses to MBAs, doctoral students, and executives. The Negotiation Unit subsequently merged with the School’s Organization and Markets Unit to form a new Unit, “Negotiation, Organizations, and Markets (NOM).”

Formerly on the faculty of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Jim also currently serves as Vice Chair and as a member of the Executive Committee of the Program on Negotiation (PON) at Harvard Law School. At PON, he chairs the University’s Great Negotiator Award program, which has intensively engaged with negotiators such as Richard Holbrooke, Lakhdar Brahimi, George Mitchell, and Bruce Wasserstein. He also co-directs a project (with Nick Burns and Bob Mnookin) to extensively interview all former U.S. Secretaries of State—including James Baker, George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice—about their most challenging negotiations.


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