Over the past year, the CEELI Institute and the International Bar Association (IBA) partnered to organize a ground breaking program bringing together young lawyers from the Middle East to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the role international law can play in resolving this conflict. This diverse group of young lawyers has met quarterly at the Institute in Prague for a series of three-day meetings, during which participants came to know one another, and employed communication techniques that enabled them to speak honestly, exchange views, examine applicable principles of international law, and jointly explore difficult, emotional issues affecting Israel and Palestine.
On Friday, September 23, in the context of the IBA’s annual Rule of Law Forum, in Washington, the two organizations co-hosted a panel that examined, for an audience of over 300 people, this unusual process and the experiences of some of the young lawyers who participated in this dialogue. The Israeli, Arab, and American mentors who conceived, organized, and facilitated these discussions also shared insights about what they observed and learned from their engagement in the project. Together with a panel of experienced former diplomats and negotiators who have dealt with the complex issues that plague the region, the group addressed how international law can help lead to potential solutions and compromises, which could bring about change in one of the most persistent conflicts and gravest threats to the rule of law in the world.