Friday, October 21, 2016

Heba El-Hendi (will not be taking the second part of the course)

Seeds of Peace: Does it Build Close Maintained Ties Between Palestinian and Israeli Youth?

I am interested in using social network analysis to better understand relationships built through a non-profit organization called Seeds of Peace (SoP).  I worked for the organization at the summer camp in 2013 and 2014, and I volunteered with their regional programming in Israel/Palestine from 2014-2016.

Seeds of Peace is a non-profit started back in 1993 to inspire and cultivate new generations of global leaders in communities divided by conflict. Seeds of Peace aims to equip youth with the skills and relationships they need to accelerate social, economic, and political changes essential for peace. The mission is executed through two approaches
1) Personal transformation at summer camp in Maine
§  Camp "shifts attitudes and perceptions AND builds respect and empathy
2) Societal change through regional programming:
§  Year-round leadership development programs strengthen relationships and leadership capacities
The communities served through the camp and regional programming are from four different delegations from the Middle East: Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt and three different delegations from South Asia: Afghanistan, Pakistan, India. There are also campers from the US that are present at camp.

Before coming to the summer camp, each delegation meets frequently to prepare the youth and their families for the youth's experience abroad. Typically the Israeli delegation ranges from 40-45 campers and the Palestinian delegation ranges from 25-35 campers.

The organization is well known for its work with Palestinian & Israeli youth. The regional programming both in Israel and Palestine are the most extensive and well staffed out of all the communities mentioned above. Seeds of Peace's donors tend to be US citizens who primarily donate because of Seeds of Peace's work with youth from Israel/Palestine.

Research Question:
1) Does Seeds of Peace International foster strong relationship ties between Palestinians and Israeli youth through summer camp and if so, are these ties maintained after camp ends?
2) If there are relations between the two groups, in what ways do they maintain their relationships after camp ends?
Independently in person, via web, or in person via regional programming events

Network Survey Question:
First Day of Camp
1) Below you'll find a list of everyone at camp. Please indicate how often you interacted with these people at camp.
Network Values:
0= Do Not Know this person/Never met this person
1= Infrequently
2= Somewhat Frequently
3= Frequently
4= Very Frequently

Last Day of Camp
1) Below you'll find a list of everyone at camp. Please indicate how often you interacted with these people at camp.
Network Values:
0= Do Not Know this person/Never met this person
1= Infrequently
2= Somewhat Frequently
3= Frequently
4= Very Frequently

Post Camp Question
1) Below you'll find a list of everyone from the Israeli and Palestinian delegation.
A) Please indicate how often you interact with the following people post camp
B) If you do interact with the people from the list, please indicate in which way(s) you interact.

Network Values
0= Do Not Know this person/Never met this person
1= Infrequently
2= Somewhat Frequently
3= Frequently
4= Very Frequently

Interaction: Web (Social Media), In Person (without a Seeds Event), at Seeds of Peace Organized Events (Regional Programming)
1= Web, In Person, Seeds Organized Events (Regional Programming)
2= Web, Seeds Organized Events
3= Web, In Person
4= Web
5= In Person
6= In Person, Seeds Organized Events
7= Seeds Organized Event

Why the Research Question and Why Use SNA:

              While SoP's mission isn't solely focused on Israeli-Palestinian youth relationships built, if Palestinians and Israelis build bonds and maintain those bonds after camp, then the organization can use that information to appeal to donors. Most donors give to SoP because of SoP's work with Israeli-Palestinian youth.
              The network can help show that the campers foster friendships between Palestinians and Israelis. Furthermore, the network can highlight weaknesses and strengths regarding the effectiveness of regional programming in bringing these youth together again after camp. The network data will showcase how these youth interact, allowing SoP an insight on the interaction patterns.
I would like to emphasize that the network question and answers be used within a framework regarding the realities of the conflict. Understanding the context of the conflict, most Palestinians living in the West Bank will not be physically meeting frequently with Israeli-Jews/Arab-Israelis because of difficulties in acquiring permits to enter Israel. While this will direct the answers to part B in a particular direction, it's still important for the organization to know so that they can plan their social media tactics accordingly.

Seeds of Peace conducts a survey on the first day of camp to gauge a camper's perceptions of the 'other side.' My use of the terminology 'other side' demonstrates how a Palestinian perceives an Israeli and vice versa. On the last day of camp, Seeds of Peace also has the campers filling out a similar survey to see if the camper experienced a transformation regarding their understanding/perception of the 'other side.'

A year after camp, Seeds of Peace also conducts a regional survey looking at the effectiveness of their regional programming.

While I do not have the data for my exact network question, I could easily include the network questions listed above in the surveys to collect the data necessary for analysis.  The surveys used by SoP will also enable me to gather attribute data including: nationality, ethnicity, age, gender, and hometown. I would specifically be looking at data for 2017 campers and their answers from the 2018 one-year later survey


First I would look at the 1st day of camp network and use cliques to clearly show the divide between the Israeli and Palestinian delegation. Because the two delegations have not met yet, it will be evident that they have not formed relationships yet.

Second, I would look at the last day of camp network and will immediately notice the increased number of ties. I would dichotomize the network and focus on the network values of 4 or more (frequently and very frequently) so I could better analyze if the campers build sound relationships.

Using centrality measures, I would be able to pinpoint specific campers who played an integral role in connecting people together while at camp. I would look at betweeness to see who is on the path to the most influential campers. Furthermore, I would use degree measures to see who had the most connections. And lastly, it would be important to see who is the most influential camper, by using eigenvector measures. While this does not highlight directly if Israeli and Palestinian campers are building relationships, it shows general trends that occurred at camp.

To see if there have been relationships built across delegations I would primarily utilize clique analysis.

After analyzing the 1st day and last day camp surveys, I would move on to the one year post-camp survey to see if the relationships formed have been maintained, and if so, how they have been maintained.

I would first look at the number of ties and compare that to the number of ties in the last day camp survey. I would then dichotomize the network to the same value measure used before (4 or more).  I then would look at the same centrality measures motioned before to see if the trends continued. I then would use subgroup clique analysis to see if there is separation between the two delegations or if they equally maintain relations across delegations. I would utilize the answers from the ways campers interact, by seeing which interaction method has the highest answer and which one has the lowest answer.

1 comment:

Christopher Tunnard said...

You've got a grip on what SNA can do, and I think that you should share this idea with Seeds of Peace. Before you do, think about your Question. You describe it well in your explanatory paragraph, but consider reformulating it to clarify the value of the SNA work you'd do, e.g.: "Can SNA help support the conclusion that SOPI fosters strong relationship ties..." Also, think about the survey questions a bit. You only seem to ask about communication frequency; wouldn't it be more meaningful to expand it to collaboration, shared issues, and leadership, along the lines of W2W? This is a great start on something potentially very meaningful to SOPI; I hope you'll be able to do it someday.