The voice of the future
EMIS students and teachers visited with Israel president Mr. Ruvi Rivlin today at his official residence. Mr Rivlin said for him this was one the most moving moments of his presidency, seeing how education is used as a force for peace in our region
To read Ameen Haj Yahia's speech to President Reuven Rivlin click this link: http://em-is.org/en/OurGraduates/120
Ameen Haj Yahia; speech to President Reuven Rivlin
"Honorable President, fellow EMISers, esteemed guests,
My name is Ameen Haj Yahia, a 17 year old 2nd year student at EMIS, and I am honored to have the ability stand here and present both myself and the Eastern Mediterranean International School today in front of His Excellency, President Reuven Rivlin.
Sir, I am Palestinian and I am Israeli, and that is not an oxymoron. I’m proud of being both Palestinian and Israeli, being part of societies that have so much development and culture embedded within them.
I come from a village in the center of this country called Tayibe, but I was born and raised in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat, and so I, like you Mr. President, am a proud Jerusalemite. This city that both our peoples share is marred by conflict and scarred with a lasting pain, paid for by the lives of our innocent civilians, the likes of my close friend Muhammad Abu Khdeir, whose fate we all know too well.
To me, this school is an opportunity. With the amazing opportunities and multicultural people you are surrounded by at EMIS, you are encouraged to leave your comfort zone: to venture far and deep into your stretch zone where you are able to experience the wonders of life and to expand your horizons. No matter who we are or where we come from each of us is a part, of something greater, more consequential than we individually are.
The mission of the school enables us to see that education is not only bound to the classroom but to the whole academic experience. I can say with certainty that I have learned much more about myself and others through late night discussions and random conversations than I would have ever learned in a traditional classroom. I have been exposed to a myriad of opinions on various issues, something I am proud of associating with and internalizing. Sir, with our unity and cooperation in EMIS, we do big things. We create opportunity through unity. Because we dare to dream. We realize that our destiny is our choice. We share common hopes, common creed, and we don’t give up.
Finally, I endow you, Mr. President, with the responsibility of fostering the vitality that both sides, the Palestinian and the Israeli, begin the initial contacts towards building a lasting peace, based upon the same values our school stands upon: coexistence, sustainability, freedom, equality, education, and innovation. Sir, we must realize the importance of shared economic opportunities and startup ventures as a means of cooperation and development to reach common satisfaction and a valuable interdependence. Only when both sides work together through educating one another, sharing personal experiences, and helping each other develop will we pave a road towards a lasting peace.
One issue that was conveyed repeatedly through interviews with people from Members of Knesset to Jerusalemite shop owners during Jerusalem week is that the persistence of this arduous and burdensome conflict is due to the shroud of fear that envelopes this region. This shroud blinds us from seeing and deafens us from hearing the experiences of the other side. “Prolonged conflict indicates that both sides are inherently mistaken,” and as such, Mr. President, our human nature binds us to find the long-overdue solution to this strife. In the end of the day, we all seek freedom, equality and purpose, and we would all like to see this land flourish. The great Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish said, " "على هذا الارض ما يستحق الحيا or “On this land there is what deserves living for”. Maybe a solution to this conflict will enhance the reasons as to living on this splendid land.