I have just returned from the Middle East, propelled once again by the tremendous efforts, resilience, and optimism that characterize our partner organizations and the individuals that drive them.
I was in the Middle East, in part, to attend the official opening ceremony of the newest centre in the ICAN network. On January 21, the Sderot Social Rights Centre (SSRC) formally opened its doors. During a very moving ceremony the genuine excitement of community volunteers was palpable. Sderot is one of southern Israel’s poorest communities and is less than five kilometers from the border with the Gaza Strip. During the ceremony, one of the volunteers shared with all those present that they “are not alone, that they are part of something larger, and that there are 10 other ICAN centres connected to McGill University, in Israel, Palestine and Jordan, that share a common vision and that are working in parallel to empower their citizens, their communities and their societies”. I was particularly moved by this, and wanted to share it with you and with all those who continue to believe in and support our efforts.
Over the last 15 years, McGill’s International Community Action Network (ICAN), formerly the McGill Middle East Program, has grown into a veritable signature project in the Middle East that now affects over 120,000 individuals annually in some of the most marginalized communities of Jordan, Israel and Palestine. Using the strengths of ordinary people, ICAN continues to spearhead social change and civic engagement in all three societies, engendering a culture of peace in individuals and communities, supporting the shift from feelings of unworthiness to self-respect, from hopelessness to optimism, from violence to resourcefulness, and from alienation to belonging.
For more information about ICAN and its newest centre, please click on the following links:
Director of Global Operations, ICAN