A diverse plenary panel consisting of a Nobel Laureate, the chief architect of President Barack Obama's two successful presidential campaigns, a New York Times best-selling scholar, and an award-winning Hollywood actress participated in a spirited discussion on the psychological aspects of attaining Israeli-Palestinian peace, online dating and leadership. The panel was moderated by Tamar Ish Shalom, host of the daily evening news on Israel's Channel Ten, and included Prof. Daniel Kahneman; David Axelrod; Prof. Dan Ariely; and Sharon Stone.

Kahneman, a Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences, discussed the psychological aspects of making peace: "We cannot expect change to rise from individuals or mass politics. It will occur because of leadership. Leaders can change things. Leaders can convince people that the risks are worth taking for the future, even in light of current pain."

Axelrod, former Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama and inaugural Director of the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago, emphasized that being a leader is more than about simply winning an election; it is the ability to make difficult and unpopular decisions for the sake of long-term needs. He cited the example of the U.S. government's "bailout" of its automobile industry in the midst of the country's deep recession in early 2009, which though deeply unpopular at the time, led to the industry's robust recovery.


Ariely, New York Times best-selling author and scholar on decision making and behavioral economics at Duke University, spoke about improving the limitations of online dating. Noting that people relate more to experience than to information, he created an online dating platform that asked questions about participants' experiences instead on data about them. He found that these participants were happier about their online dating experience than those who used data-based platforms.

Stone, an Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe- and Emmy- Award winning actress and humanitarian activist. said that education is the foundation of building peace, highlighting the need to learn from the values that we teach our children, including sharing, trusting, and working together. "Visionary leadership is to pursue what is good and right, and rising above the mire of the status quo," adding that everyone has within them the tools to be a leader.

Facing Tomorrow 2013 takes place from June 18-20, 2013 at Jerusalem's International Convention Center. The conference is organized in partnership with Hebrew University.