Tomorrow's Women

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Tomorrow's Women
Nonprofit organization
FoundersAnael Harpaz, Rachel Kaufman, Debra Sugerman
Santa Fe, New Mexico
United States of America

Tomorrow’s Women (formerly Creativity for Peace) is a non-profit grassroots organization that teaches young Palestinian and Israeli women to partner as leaders.[1] The organization was founded in 2003 and its hallmark program, the Young Leader Program, brings together sixteen young Israeli and Palestinian women for a year-long leadership experience. It begins with a three-week summer intensive in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and continues with workshops in Palestine and Israel.[2] The organization’s mission is to train young Palestinian and Israeli women to partner as leaders by transforming anger and prejudice to mutual respect, facilitating an understanding of the other, and inspiring action to promote equality, peace, and justice.[3]


The organization ​was founded as Creativity for Peace in 2003 by artist and filmmaker Debra Sugerman, peace activist and writer Anael Harpaz, and Rachel Kaufman, a humanitarian and psychotherapist with extensive experience working with Palestinian and Israeli peace groups. During the second intifada (2000-2005), these women believed that violence and the conflict would not be resolved by the government. They felt that empowered young women had the most potential to impact their communities and create peace when equipped with the tools, skills, and confidence to lead.[4]


Creativity for Peace began in 2003 with a vision by Rachel Kaufman, Anael Harpaz, and Debra Sugerman, who led the organization until 2007.[4] Dottie Indyke continued to expand and lead the organization for the next twelve years, retiring in 2019. In the spring of that year, the organization announced a new Executive Director, Tarrie Burnett, who has led the transition to Tomorrow’s Women.[5]

Name Change

Since its founding, the mission of the organization has been rooted in the empowerment of young women, leadership, and peace-building, and in supporting the role women play in shaping the vision of a better tomorrow. To align with the core mission, the organization officially changed its name to Tomorrow’s Women in 2020.[5]

Work with Women

Tomorrow’s Women is the only cross-border organization that fully dedicates its work to young women and their peacebuilding potential in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.[1]

One of the main goals of the organization is working toward more meaningful implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace, and security, which has been approved by both the Palestinian Authority and the Israel Knesset.[1] The resolution stresses the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peace negotiations, calling for their equal participation and involvement in official peace talks.[6] It urges actors to ensure gender perspectives and address all aspects of reconciliation, such as human rights protection of women during and after conflict.[6][1]

Tomorrow’s Women believes that women’s participation in conflict transformation is a crucial step to ensure that gender equality and women’s perspectives are incorporated into peacemaking strategies. A key aspect of their work is to provide participants in the program with the training and experiences to initiate a dialogue around sustainable peace once they return to their communities.[4][1]


Tomorrow’s Women envisions a time when young women will be leaders on the road to peace, and a time when the occupation ends and justice and human rights prevail in Israel and Palestine.[7]

The organization takes an apolitical approach to the challenges faced in the region. Staff and individuals involved in the work of Tomorrow’s Women have multiple perspectives and ideas about political solutions but all share the conviction that peace can be achieved through non-violent means.[8] Before coming to camp, the young women often have preconceived notions about the other side and uphold different narratives about the conflict. The purpose of camp is to help them encounter and understand one another’s personal experiences growing up in the conflict, their fears and traumas, rather than political positions.[9] The organization’s work is rooted in the belief that “an enemy is someone whose story you’ve never heard,” focusing on the personal story as a way to humanize the other side and develop mutual understanding.[10][11][7] Over the course of the three weeks, stereotypes and prejudices that keep them apart are examined and deconstructed.[1]


Summer Peace Program

For three weeks each summer, the organization hosts 16 young women in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Half of the participants are Palestinian from Israel and the West Bank and half are Israeli Jewish, ages 15-17. For the majority of them, it is the first time they’ve been brought together outside of the conflict, or have met someone from the other side.[2]

The organization’s core programs incorporate the methodology of compassionate listening and authentic speaking, combined with therapeutic art.[12] Participants experience 40 hours of group dialogue, led by trained facilitators from Israel and Palestine, where for three hours a day, they practice speaking about their perspectives and experiences and ask questions to understand one another’s points of view.[11]

The art program is led by professional art therapists and includes projects across multiple visual art disciplines to help the young women collaborate creatively. In the art groups, the young women use art materials to process their experiences in camp, develop self-understanding, and explore their feelings about the conflict between Palestine and Israel.[13][14][12] They take several local field trips and spend a considerable amount of downtime together at camp. A key component of the experience is living communally, where a Palestinian and an Israeli camper are assigned to a room together.[14]

Selection Process

To become a Young Leader, applicants must complete a written application, provide references, undergo several interviews by staff in Israel and Palestine, and speak English, as all activities and workshops are conducted in English. Applicants must also demonstrate leadership potential and a commitment to social justice.[15]


The cost of attendance for the year-long Young Leader program is $1,000, with several scholarships awarded each year based on financial need.[14]

Young Leader Training and Life after Camp

When participants return home after camp, they continue to work together during Young Leader Training, a year-long commitment that consists of workshops and gatherings in the region to help them put into practice the leadership and facilitation skills learned at camp.[2] Participants attend six weekend seminars where they learn about various dimensions of the conflict, such as gender issues, and conflicting media and historical narratives.[14] They also have the opportunity to create and organize social justice projects to continue deepening the skills of working and leading together.[3] Following camp and Young Leader training, participants are still supported in multiple areas of their lives with ongoing alumnae gatherings, advanced leadership training, emotional support, mentorship, and academic scholarships.[4]


Among the 300+ alumnae of the program, Young Leaders are pursuing careers across journalism, education, human rights, non-profit work, law, and government. Many alumnae have continued working with youth, leading creative workshops in the US, Palestine and Israel focused on communication, conflict resolution, and leadership.[16] Others have spoken and taught workshops at international economic and government forums (including the United Nations and World Economic Forum), various conferences, universities, and high schools about their personal journeys and efforts to transform conflict.[17]

Academic Scholarships

When available, Tomorrow’s Women offers academic scholarships to young women in the program with financial need and high leadership and peacemaking potential.[14]

Alumnae Gatherings

Each year, the organization holds gatherings to which all the young women in the program are invited. These include mother/daughter seminars, emotional resilience training, or meetings with a specific focus, such as writing music and performing.[14]

Gaza Girls Program

The Gaza Girls program was created in 2019 to honor Young Leader Bessan Abuelaish. The program brings together Tomorrow’s Women alumnae in Israel, the West Bank, and the U.S. with participants living in the Gaza Strip. Home to a population of approximately 2 million people, including some 1.4 million Palestinian refugees, the Gaza Strip has been under continuous blockade from the Israeli government since 2007.[18] The organization developed an approach to overcome travel restrictions for young Gazans, whose opportunities to connect across borders are extremely limited.

Through a series of online meetings facilitated by Tomorrow’s Women staff and board members, Gazan participants are introduced to the core methods of compassionate listening and authentic speaking, taught leadership and peacemaking skills, and are able to share their personal stories. The goal of the program is to inspire hope for the Gaza Girls, and through connections to the outside world, find ways for them to continue their studies and share their reality of growing up in the region.[19]

In 2004, Bessan Abuelaish, a 15-year-old from Gaza, attended camp. Despite the many hardships she had faced during her young life, Bessan refused to give up her hope for peace. Five years later, Bessan was tragically killed in the fighting between Israel and Gaza, along with her two sisters and a cousin. Bessan’s memory lives on in a multitude of ways: Her father Izzeldin Abuelaish, a medical doctor, published a book in remembrance of her called I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor’s Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity; Tomorrow’s Women co-founder and filmmaker, Debra Sugerman created the documentary film Broken as a tribute to her legacy as a peacemaker.[19]

Peace Ambassador Program

In 2015, Tomorrow’s Women created the Peace Ambassador Program for young American women from Santa Fe. For six months, they go through training in leadership, communication, conflict-transformation and other skills that address issues of equity and inclusion. They meet and engage in projects and dialogue with the Palestinian and Israeli young women during the summer camp.

The goals of the program are to teach skills for transforming conflict at home, school, and in other areas of their lives. Participants also learn about Israeli and Palestinian culture, politics, and history.[20]

See Also

  • Alliance for Middle East Peace
  • Combatants for Peace
  • MEET - Middle East Education through Technology
  • Neve Shalom – Wāħat as-Salām
  • OneVoice Movement
  • The Parents Circle-Families Forum
  • Seeds of Peace


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 "Paving the way for women's inclusion in Palestinian and Israeli peacebuilding". Peace Insight. Retrieved 2021-01-09.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Tomorrow's Women: Q&A with Yaara Tal and Deema Yusuf". BORGEN. 2020-10-22. Retrieved 2021-01-09.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Fact Sheet" (PDF). Tomorrow's Women. Retrieved 9 January 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "Non-profit Tomorrow's Women". JChoice. Retrieved 2021-01-09.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. 5.0 5.1 "New Name and Brand Identity for Creativity for Peace". Tomorrow's Women. Retrieved 2021-01-09.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Landmark resolution on Women, Peace and Security (Security Council resolution 1325)". Retrieved 2021-01-09.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Statement of Philosophy". Tomorrow's Women. Retrieved 2021-01-10.
  8. Levin, Jennifer. "Giving peace a chance: Voices From Israel and Palestine". Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved 2021-01-10.
  9. "Palestinian, Israeli girls camping for peace in US wilderness". Arab News. 2017-08-07. Retrieved 2021-01-10.
  10. "Childhood and Selfhood: Irene Butter in Conversation with Andrew Solomon". Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. Retrieved 2021-01-10.
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Israeli and Palestinian Young Women Learning to Let Down Their Defenses at Camp". The Jewish Outlook. Retrieved 2021-01-10.
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Creativity for Peace". Mightycause. Retrieved 2021-01-10.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. Taggart, Frankie. "In US wilderness, Palestinian and Israeli girls camp for coexistence". Times of Israel. Retrieved 2021-01-10.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 "Tomorrow's Women". GuideStar. Retrieved 2021-01-10.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. Worrall, Kathryn. "Creativity for Peace camp builds ties among Israeli and Palestinian girls". Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved 2021-01-10.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. "Accomplishments in Leadership and Peacemaking" (PDF). Tomorrow's Women. Retrieved 10 January 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. "Group Promoting Peace Between Israel And Palestine Visits Las Cruces". KRWG Public Media. Retrieved 10 January 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. "Gaza Strip". UNRWA. Retrieved 2021-01-10.
  19. 19.0 19.1 "Gaza Girls Program". Tomorrow's Women. Retrieved 2021-01-10.
  20. "Young People Discover Generosity and Gratitude Go Hand in Hand". Santa Fean Magazine. 2020-12-01. Retrieved 2021-01-10.

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