- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Teenagers from war-torn nations met on Capitol Hill yesterday to share rare moments of optimism for peace.
The 160 13- to 15-year-olds from the Middle East, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan were the graduates of one of the three sessions of the 2002 Seeds of Peace International Camp for Conflict Resolution.
One young woman stood up in front of an audience for the first time in her life.
Struggling to make her message clear, she said: "We are all humans, and all humans love peace. This is the dream of everyone."
Another graduate, Fady Shokair of Haifa, Israel, said that at the camp, "kids play together to be one so they can prove to everyone in the world that Israelis and Palestinians can be together."
At an age were most boys are more concerned with pretty girls and sports, Fady said he is ready to take on enormous responsibility: "I can be the bridge on both sides. My job is to be the bridge of peace."
The campers are chosen by their respective governments to participate in the annual camp in Maine.
"Where else would you ever see an Indian sitting next to a Pakistani, or an American next to an Afghan?" a participant from India asked.
Members of Congress and U.S. and foreign diplomats spoke with participants yesterday on Capitol Hill.
John Wallach, the philanthropist who founded the camp in 1993 as a way to bring Israeli and Palestinian children together, died last week at 59 from lung cancer.
Mr. Wallach was an award-winning White House and Diplomatic correspondent, peace activist and co-author of three books with his wife, Janet Wallach.
He once said of the camp, "The only answer to me was one that would bring the next generation of Arabs and Israelis together before they had been poisoned by the climate of their region."


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