Working For Peace
Palestinian Fletcher student Amal Jadou – recently named one of three young leaders with the potential to ‘shape tomorrow’s world’ – hopes to make a difference in the Middle East. Medford/Somerville, Mass.
Medford/Somerville, Mass. [05.10.04] "[My mother] challenged me to use this life to make a difference," Fletcher student Amal Jadou told the Boston Globe. The 30-year-old doctoral candidate, recently profiled by the paper, couldn't have picked a broader challenge to rest on her shoulders. The Palestinian scholar hopes not only to learn about conflict in the Middle East - she wants to work to solve it.
"Both sides are exhausted and in pain," Jadou - who is writing her dissertation on the United States' role in Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations - told the Globe. "They cannot go on like this. The Israelis cannot go on with this occupation. And our lives cannot continue like this either."
A reporter and anchor for a Palestinian television network in the 1990s, the Tufts student interviewed dozens of politicians and peacekeepers - but knew it was not her true calling.
"I loved every aspect of it, but it wasn't who I am," Jadou told the Globe. "From age 20, I knew what I wanted to do, which is serve my country and change the status quo."
Jadou decided to return to school to pursue her dream of fostering peace in the Middle East.
Jadou made the decision "while she was huddled under a staircase listening to the roar of artillery explosions and a newscast quoting a U.S. official saying, ‘We have tried all means possible to resolve the Middle East conflict, but we failed,'" reported the Globe. "It was then and there, she says, that she decided to study the full scope of that failure."
In 2001, she began work toward a PhD of Law and Diplomacy at the Fletcher School at Tufts. On track to finish her degree by next spring, Jadou already has her next step planned.
The Tufts student - who won seats on local and regional committees while still an undergraduate in Bethlehem - is setting her sights on a seat on the 88-member Palestinian Legislative Council.
"Even though I still hold older, more traditional values, I would be very progressive on that body," Jadou - who wants to become a voice for prisoner's rights and women's issues - told the Globe.
According to Eileen Babbit - assistant professor of international politics at the Fletcher School and Jadou's thesis advisor - Jadou is a rare leader.
"People from both sides, Jews and Arabs, seek her out," Babbit told the Globe. "She has strong feelings and clear loyalties, but she's a bridge builder, too. And it's hard for people of Amal's generation to be taking that view these days."
Babbit isn't the only one recognizing the potential behind Jadou's passion. The Fletcher student was recently one of only three recipients of a special grant from the Tokyo-based Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund - an organization which supports young scholars with the ability to "shape tomorrow's world."
As Babbit told the Globe, Jadou's talents give her a unique perspective on the conflict she hopes to help solve.
"Most people raised in the conflict are not able to look at it from a broader viewpoint," said Babbitt. "It's really remarkable, and very encouraging, to see her motivation to understand it in more creative ways."