US embassy in Israel and International Photography Festival bring Food for Thought Program to Israeli high school students
On October 11-12, 30 students from communities and towns all over Israeli participated in the Food for Thought program, a collaboration between the US Embassy in Israel and the International Photography Festival. The students came from all over the country to learn from Henry Hargreaves, a renowned professional food photographer from New Zealand and NY. Hargreaves shared with them techniques for taking more interesting and aesthetically pleasing photos, and especially of creatively using food products and ingredients for thought-provoking photos.
The program brought together students from different cultures and backgrounds for a day and a half of intensive, project-based learning. The students were taught not just about photography, but about the message behind photos, and how food can represent personal stories. They also had the chance to try local desserts, like Kanafe and other Arabic sweets, and shared photos and stories about foods that were important to each of them. The students who came are participants in Debate for Peace, a Model UN-based leadership program. Their final product, a photo-book, will be on display at the annual International Photography Festival in Tel Aviv from November 22- December 1.
Terry Davidson, Counselor for Public Affairs, US Embassy Jerusalem, told Diplomacy that “the students displayed incredible connectivity and developed genuine friendships, bridging gaps that too often exist between Jewish and Arab students in Israel.”. He added that “the US Embassy is pleased to support Debate for Peace, as this program has a tremendously positive impact on youth, gives hope and shapes the leaders of tomorrow."
Diplomacy also spoke to several of the participants to ask them about the experience:
Marina Gejekoushian (17 years old from Jerusalem):
Q. How was the experience you had in Food 4 Thought?
A: I enjoyed participating because I got to look at things from a different angle, and I also had the opportunity to meet new people from different backgrounds and religions. I think this project shows people how open-minded we all are because we are willing to work together.
Q. Did the project make you think or feel different about photography and peace?
A: I think this projected helped me take better photos, from different angles and perspectives. I am proud to be part of this program and project, because I got to work with great people and it has shown me how we are working towards our goal--achieving peace.
Daniel Kazikevich (turning 15, from Zefat):
Q. Do you think this project can help to bring peace or something similar?
A: I do believe that such a program can help bring communities closer. Obviously, there’s a difference between diplomacy and culture, but this is a great step for people who are new to the concept and can lead to a greater understanding between different kinds of people: Arabs, Russians, Europeans, Americans, etc.
Q. Did the project make you think or feel differently about photos and peace?
A: I don’t look at photos as a way of showing peace, I see pictures as statements, that somebody/something has achieved something. Also, when looking at the news, usually the pictures are sadder, and showing the less nice parts of a county, so you get used to seeing photos as a way to show the negative side. I always look at the overall experience rather than just one picture.