Jerry and Sis Levin on speaking tour

Hi WILPF members and branch contacts:

As coordinator for the WILPF Middle East Campaign Speakers' Bureau, one of my tasks is to let you know when interesting speakers about the Middle East might be coming to your area.

It is an especially enjoyable task when such notable speakers as Jerry and Sis Levin are the ones who are coming. There is great interest in what they have to say, some of it stemming from Jerry's experience of having been a hostage in Lebanon. Some of you may recall that he was a reporter who spent quite a bit of time as a hostage, but then managed to escape. There has been a book about this, as well as a movie, so a lot of people are familiar with his story.

Today, Jerry and Sis are working in the West Bank, affiliated with the Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), ironically the group that is currently worried about the fate of four of its members being held hostage in Iraq.

The aim of Jerry and Sis' tour this time is twofold, according to him: "1)to update audiences, and ... 2) to raise support for our program in Palestine". Sis also runs a project in Bethlehem (Children of Abraham) which teaches teachers how to teach peace and nonviolence in the classroom systemically pre-k through university. They are looking for peace and justice venues, churches, Muslim groups, Town and Gown settings, and universities.

They have not set up all of their local venues, and they are anxious to speak in a variety of places. They also are looking for ways to get press coverage of their appearances. (By the way, they specifically state that they are willing to present the Sunday homily at churches or to do adult forums in church settings.)

Here is something else you need to know (from Jerry's email to me): "While in an area in addition to a $400 honoraria per venue we would also appreciate the opportunity to ask for individual donations at each event to help defray our travel costs. That's so we can, if possible, devote the honoraria entirely to our overseas budet. We also will bring copies of my books West Bank Diary and Reflections on my first Noel to sell to also raise funds. Finally, to economize we would like to be "hosted" in private homes while in a particular area." And, Jerry tells me, they do a power point presentation and bring their own power point projector.

Here is their tentative schedule for the tour. If you are interested in helping to set something up, you can contact Jerry directly. Let him know you heard about it from me.

March 24th through 28th--Houston area March 31 through April 3rd--Tempe/Phoenix area April 4th through April 11th--Southern California (based in L.A.)
April 12, 13, 14--Fresno, San Raphael, Chico (in that order)
April 15-20--Oregon area April 21-16--Tacoma/Seattle area April 27-30--Vancouver area They are especially looking for more venues in Southern California and Tacoma/Seattle/Vancouver area.

They also plan to go to the following areas in May, and can use more speaking engagements in any and all of them:

May 2--Lincoln, Nebraska May 4-6--Goshen, Indiana and through May 17th, they are considering the following cities:
Indianapolis, Eastern Iowa, Louisville, Kentucky, Chicago area, and Cleveland. If they get firm invitations from any location near those, they are also willing to divert.

Finally, I have heard Jerry speak, and I have friends who have heard Sis. Their message is up-to-date, cogent, and urgent. They will give you solid things to do that are in keeping with our goals in the Middle East Campaign. We hope you will find a way to hear them if they are anywhere near your locale. And if you are able to host them, it is sure to be a good experience.

Contact Jerry directly at jlevin320 at yahoo.com.

Barbara Taft

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