In 2015, Indiana Center for Middle East Peace (ICMEP) celebrated its tenth anniversary as a 501c3 organization serving Northeast Indiana. And it was the most active and successful year of its existence.
ICMEP hosted the following programs:
- Dr. Clay Carson, Stanford University’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Research Institute, with a screening of film, Martin Luther King in Palestine.
- Screening of the films, Slingshot Hip-Hop and Girl Rising.
- Matthew Duss, Foundation for Middle East Peace, who awarded ICMEP with a one-time grant of $5000.
- William Plitt, Friends of Tent of Nations North America, with Daoud Nassar skyping in from Bethlehem.
- Dr. Stephen Walt, Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, on “The Iran Deal and US Middle East Foreign Policy.”
- Archbishop Elias Chacour, Mar Elias Educational Institutions, for the 2015 ICMEP Annual Gala.
- Jennifer Bing and Joyce Cassel, AFSC, The No Way to Treat a Child campaign.
- Sam Jarjour, Amar Masri, Caleb Jehl, with Fulbright scholar, Troy, and their travels to “Help Syrian Refugees.”
- Rev. Dr. Cotton Fite, Episcopal Peace Fellowship, Director, Seraj Library Project.
- Phyllis Bennis, Institute for Policy Studies, “Syrian Refugees, ISIS, and US Policy.”
- ICMEP hosted Allen County’s first ArabFest, with an attendance of over 2500 over two days.
ICMEP strengthened its relationship with Manchester University’s Peace Studies Institute. We received a $3000 grant to support videoconferencing capabilities with the Wi’am Center in Bethlehem. We also partnered with MU’s Peace Studies Institute in sharing speakers Matthew Duss and Phyllis Bennis.
ICMEP also strengthened its partnering with organizations in Palestine and Israel and advocacy work, identifying and providing financial support for five mission partners in Palestine and Israel:
- Mar Elias Educational Institutions, Ibillin, Galilee
- Multipurpose Community Resource Center’s Women’s Center and Clinic, Nablus
- Arrowwad Theater and Cultural Teaching Center, Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem
- Tent of Nations farm,Bethlehem
- Wi’am Conflict Resolution and Transformation Center, Bethlehem.
ICMEP was able to make a grant of at least $1000 to each of its mission partners.
- Hosted ArabFeast (thank you, Suha Abbasi) to financially support our mission partners in Palestine and Israel.
- Met with representatives of the Arab American Action Network in Chicago, including Rasmea Odeh, in preparation for A Rally to Support Rasmea, with her skyping in from Chicago, and raising funds for her appeal.
- Wrote the Petition arguing against Indiana’s anti-BDS resolution, and the catalyst for organizing more than 12 peace/justice organizations in its support.
- Commemorated the one-year anniversary of the Israeli assault on Gaza, with Jewish Voice for Peace-Indiana’s Mark Sniderman, and with a screening of The War Around Us.
- Hosted the pro-Iran Deal demonstration and delivered petitions to our congressional representatives.
- Was the catalyst for (and convened) the community meeting to begin planning for resettling Syrian refugees.
- Raised over $11,000 for humanitarian aid for Help Syrian Refugees.
- Vigil for Jerusalem, solidarity for the people of the West Bank protesting increased US military aid to Israel.
- Advocated with congressional representatives regarding the No Way to Treat a Child campaign.
- Partnered with groups in Huntington, North Manchester, Kendallville, and Berne, IN, to screen The Stones Cry Out with free-will offerings to support our mission partners in Palestine and Israel.
- Partnered with National Lawyers Guild, Jewish Voice for Peace-Indiana, and Veterans for Peace (and published its own Statement) petitioning Indiana’s political leaders for Syrian refugee resettlement in the state.
Michael led his 11th ‘Come and See Solidarity Tour’ of Palestine and Israel in which they meet with Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religious, political, and NGO leaders working for a just peace and full human rights. During the trip, the participants met with each of ICMEP’s mission partners.
Michael began to establish close partnerships with like-minded organizations in southern Michigan, Dayton and Toledo in Ohio, and in Indianapolis, IN.
Through a generous, anonymous grant, ICMEP was able to contract with Jameel Brenneman as its Social Media Coordinator (webpage, Facebook, Twitter).
ICMEP also built an infrastructure to say ‘thank you’ for every contribution.
ICMEP hired an accounting and bookkeeping firm to assist in our financial, salary, and tax preparations.
ICMEP was accepted as a partner organization of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.
Michael was recognized by the Allen County Peace and Justice Commission as its 2015 ‘Peacemaker of the Year,’ acknowledging his many years of peace and justice advocacy and interfaith work, especially recognizing the educational and advocacy work of Indiana Center for Middle East Peace.
ICMEP was recognized by the Muslim Alliance of Indiana with its 2015 ‘Award for Interfaith Excellence.’
Even with expanded programming, including ArabFest, and paying a full-time salary, ICMEP ended 2015 with a budget surplus, and more important, we are noticing new people coming to our events, building partnerships with other like-minded organizations locally, regionally, and nationally, and ICMEP is being recognized for its work.
Submitted by L. Michael Spath, Executive Director
1 December 2015