Report from the 2019 PIYE Polish-Israeli Youth Exchange

In July and September 2019, thirty young people from Poland and Israel took part in the Polish-Israeli Youth Exchange program (PIYE). It was the last edition of this oldest POLIN Museum program realized in cooperation with the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland.

We invited young people (aged between 20 and 35) from Poland and Israel who are educators, students and activists interested in the subject of multi-culturalism, history of Polish-Jewish relations and Polish-Jewish dialogue.

The PIYE program was divided into two parts: the first leg took part in Poland (9-13 July 2019) and the second in Israel (23-27 September 2019). In the course of ten days of the program duration (5 days in Warsaw and 5 days in Tel Aviv) the participants took part in lectures, workshops, urban walks and study visits aimed at initiating partner activities that bolster Polish-Jewish dialogue within local communities in Poland and in Israel.

During the five days in Poland, the program participants attended, among others: a series of workshops introducing the “theory of change” method that is increasingly often employed in the process of project work or in study visits. They got acquainted with the work of Stacja Muranów Association or the Jewish Community Center, and they toured the Museum of Warsaw Rising. There were some events aimed at integration organized as well.

During the second leg in Israel, the program of events was enriched with “Self-Education Presentation”, namely short lectures-presentations delivered by the PIYE participants which touched upon the issues that they found particularly pressing in the context of Polish-Israeli relations. They developed and presented introduction to debates on issues such as: “2019 Elections in Israel”, “Israel’s Cultural and Religious Diversity”, “Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.”

In Israel, the participants attended several urban walks with local guide, Ilan Lonai. They learnt about the beginnings of Tel Aviv with an emphasis on Modernist architecture; they also got acquainted with the history of Yaffo. One-day trip to Jerusalem was a vital part of the program. It included a guided tour of Yad Vashem with Orit Margaliot which concluded with a discussion.

The outcome of the 14th edition of PIYE was developing new partnerships, joint ideas for activities aimed to build and to strengthen Polish-Jewish relations.