Student organizations fundraise for Seeds of Peace

first_imgSC Students for Israel and 12 other student organizations hosted a fundraising gala at Founders Park to benefit Seeds of Peace, a nonprofit and apolitical organization that promotes conflict resolution and mediation efforts. On Tuesday evening, individual student groups offered different activities to gain attraction among visitors.Activities included a performance from Asli Baat, a South Asian a cappella group, making peace flags with the International Student Association, turban-tying with the Sikh Student Association and a camp song activity by Camp Kesem. The event also brought an Indian food truck whose proceeds went towards the fundraiser.Seeds of Peace is a New York-based organization which recruits young individuals from conflict areas in the Middle East and South Asia to spend a summer in Maine participating in mediation workshops.Maya Fried, co-president emeritus of SCSI and a senior double majoring in philosophy, politics, and law and creative writing, explained that SCSI chose Seeds of Peace as their beneficiary because the organization’s goals were inspiring.“As an American nonprofit that brings Israeli, Palestinian, Indian, Pakistani and American refugee youth to a summer camp in Maine, Seeds of Peace is truly striving to be an all-encompassing organization when it comes to peace education and mediation,” Fried said.Fried explained that Seeds for Peace camp allows youths to come together and view each other as equals.“For many of these teenagers, Seeds of Peace camp is the first time they will come face to face with the ‘other’…The intent is to cultivate peace-minded individuals that can return to their homes and take on roles that will promote peace and equality,” Fried said.All of the money raised at the gala will be donated to Seeds of Peace to help fund the organization’s summer camps. Fried also emphasized the apolitical nature of the fundraiser.“This isn’t about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or the Indian-Pakistani conflict in isolation — it’s about all of the people in regions struggling for a semblance of quiet and safety, and it’s about the power that the youth in those places have for their futures,” she said.Fried foresees a fundraiser of this nature becoming an annual event at USC, and she hopes more students groups get involved since some did decline.“It is regrettable that neither the Palestinian nor the Pakistani group are cosponsoring the gala, an event we initially created in hopes of emulating how the organization itself bridges gaps between those communities in conflict. Unfortunately those groups at USC chose not to participate, but the success we’ve had joining with other organizations and hopefully will have at the event itself gives me hope that next year we can all come together for such a cause and truly put politics and otherwise aside for the premise of peace.”Similarly, Shreya Sharma, a first-year computer science graduate student from India and the director of relations for the Association of Indian Students, reiterated how the event takes no political angle, something unexpected.“It is really important for us to give out the right message. If the right message is not getting through, then this whole thing about us trying to achieve peace can actually do the opposite,” Sharma said.Sharma noted that peace is especially attainable at USC because of its diverse demography.“The sole message we want to leave to people is that we are all students studying at USC, which is the one of the most internationally diverse university in the world. Even if our countries are at war, we can make peace here,” Sharma said. “If we can set up an example of peace, we’re definitely aiding in the worldwide peace effort.”The Unruh Institute of Politics also cosponsored the event. Dan Schnur, executive director of the institute, said that he hoped that the event would increase awareness and promote an open discussion among the student body.“We want to help expose their work to a broader campus audience,” Schnur said. “Events like [the Seeds of Peace Gala] are perfect opportunities for students to realize that their differences are greatly outweighed by their common interests and goals.”Correction: A previous version of this story stated that an a cappella group called Asli Beat performed at the event. The group is actually called Asli Baat. The Daily Trojan regrets the error.last_img read more