Welcome ladies and Gentleman, my name is Noa Shapira. I am a member of New Story Leadership 2012 , and it is my pleasure to welcome you to our final formal event.

A human rights activist from Gaza, a student from London, a journalist, former officers of the Israeli defense force; Young professionals from Tul Karem, Ramallah, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem – come together to DC for two months, to meet who is considered to be the enemy.

They left behind a career, a husband, girlfriends, homes – and came for a summer of uncertainty, of questions, of challenges. And all of that – in a foreign language. Why?

We all have something in common. We grew up in a conflict zone; some live behind the walls, some served in the army; some occupied, some survivors of terror attacks. Some had a heart full of hate, some just felt numb to reality. But we all had a changing, defining moment. One morning, reality knocked on our door, and forced us to take a stand, and make a difference.

“This world demands the qualities of youth”, said Robert Kennedy in 1966, “not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease”.

Tonight you will hear speeches from six extraordinary people that will share with you their personal insights on their complicated realities. We invite you to open your hearts and minds.

by Noa Shapira

New Story Leadership 276 Carroll Street NW Washington, DC 20012 Phone: 240-476-1123