Because stories matter.
Because stories have power.
Because stories have the power to change people.
Stories make New Story Leadership different from any other program. NSL focuses on the power of stories as the way for change. For too long, Palestinians and Israelis have been trapped in the old story of war, mistrust, and hatred. Their stories exclude the other side from even being heard. The debate about the conflict and how best to resolve it becomes either a shouting match or a dialogue of the deaf. NSL's goal is to change that. We invite people to step away from their defended positions, and their ideological fortresses and to listen, to really listen, to the stories of the other.
The stories reflect lived experience if they are told with honesty and with vulnerability. If the listeners can open their hearts and their minds to really hear the other, and dare to allow those words and those feelings to penetrate deeply into their soul, then change is possible. We know this is true because we see it happen every summer. NSL believes that in order to change people's minds, you have to change their hearts. Stories have a unique power to do that.
Every year, ten delegates come with ten powerful personal narratives that are shared and heard as invitations to create a new possibility. They start a ripple effect of challenging and changing that old story. We believe, to change the old story, Palestinians and Israelis must create the future, and that by definition is a new story.
This new story has two core chapters.
Chapter One- our Palestinian and Israeli delegates get the opportunity to speak truth to power. Only with NSL can young leaders of Palestine and Israel share their voices in front of the world's most powerful decision makers. Only with NSL can young leaders of Palestine and Israel brief members of Congress and lobby-groups about critical issues. then provide advice on ways to make more effective policies.
Chapter Two- our Palestinian and Israeli delegates create a new story of social change on the ground in the region. There is the story that is told and there is the story that is created by action. We call that story, "Projects for Change," which delegates implement before and after the program. Each project must demonstrate a proven social impact that challenges the status quo of the region and shows the delegate to be a leader.
Change starts here with NSL because ultimately, we believe that if you want to change the world, you have to change the story.