Click on this link to download the Frequently Asked Questions in pdf.
If you have another question, you can contact the project leader Maaike (maaikehh-at-hotmail.com).
What is COME Foundation?
COME Foundation is a private Dutch foundation that organizes annually a 10 to 12 day dialogue seminar for young Palestinians and Israelis to give them the opportunity to meet and get to know each other.
Who is involved in Foundation COME?
COME Foundation has a Dutch board, which guarantees the continuity of the organization of the seminars and raises financial resources for this. In addition, the foundation has a committee consisting of two Dutch members (one of whom is the project leader) and a number of Israeli and Palestinian members. These ‘local committee members’ are former seminar participants. The committee is responsible for preparing and implementing the program and for recruiting, selecting and preparing the participants.
Who funds the organization? Does a government support COME?
The board of COME Foundation applies every year for funds from several Dutch foundations. In addition, the Foundation has several hundred individual contributors who yearly give money for the work of COME. COME Foundation does not receive any money from any government (not the Dutch nor any other European government, and not the Israeli or the Palestinian governments) nor organizations specially linked to Israel or Palestine. In this way, COME wants to maintain its impartiality and be able to determine its own course.
What is the aim of the organization?
The main objective of the foundation is to organize dialogue seminars on neutral ground in which Israeli and Palestinian youth (both living in Israel and in the occupied Palestinian territories) can meet each other, in the context of the conflict situation in the Middle East. By organizing these seminars, COME Foundation wants to show its multiple commitment.
Who is running the program? Is it a voluntary or paid job?
The foundation has a committee consisting of two Dutch members (one of whom is the project leader) and a number of Israeli and Palestinian members. These ‘local committee members’ are former seminar participants. The committee is responsible for preparing and implementing the program and for the recruitment, selection and preparation of the participants. The project leader functions as the bridge between the local committee and the Dutch board. Except for the project leader, all the committee members and board members do their work for COME Foundation on a voluntary basis.
Why is the meeting in Cyprus?
COME Foundation wants to organize the seminar in a neutral place outside the daily lives of the participants. Cyprus is neutral, close by, and has a familiar atmosphere.
Why are three groups participating?
Three ‘circumstantial’ (as we call them) groups participate in the seminar: ’67 Palestinians (Palestinians living in the occupied Palestinian territories), ’48 Palestinians (Palestinian Arabs living inside Israel) and Jewish Israelis. This division does not reflect any political idea of COME Foundation, but reflects practical issues concerning the preparation and travel arrangements of participants. In addition, former seminars have taught us that with this division participants will get the most out of the activities of the seminar. In the event that one of the three groups does not or cannot participate, COME Foundation cancels the seminar.
What is the division of numbers of participants?
Yearly we have around 30 participants. Last years, there have been seven ’48 Palestinian participants, ten ’67 Palestinian and 13 Jewish Israeli participants. In activities for smaller and bigger groups, past seminars taught us that a division similar to this suits different activities the most.
What is expected from a participant?
We expect active participation in all activities from the participants, the openness to meet the other sides and the willingness to listen to the stories.
Are the participants expected to continue with activities after the seminar?
COME Foundation does not expect participants to continue or organize activities after the seminar. The Foundation organizes the seminars as a one-time experience for participants. In the past however, it has happened that COME gave logistical and financial support for a second meeting, but only after requests from participants.
Is COME accepting everyone?
COME Foundation accepts everyone as a participant, no matter what his or her background is: religious or non-religious, politically involved or not, right or left wing oriented. However, some conditions are set: the level of spoken English should be good; age range is between 20 and 35 years, with participants preferably between 25 and 30; participants should have the willingness to tell their story and listen to the other sides; and each group should reflect the diversity inside each society.