Ode reader and conflict resolution expert Craig Zelizer nominated Robi Damelin for her work at advocating peace in Israel and comforting parents who have lost children to war.
Craig Zelizer | Jan/Feb 2009 issue
Robi Damelin emigrated to Tel Aviv from South Africa in 1967. A sniper killed her son David while he was on military reserve duty in March of 2002. David was 28 years old and studying for a master’s degree in the philosophy of education at Tel Aviv University. He strongly believed that through education, he could make a difference in Israel. After David’s death, Robi felt a burning need to do something to try to prevent other parents from experiencing the dreadful pain of losing a child. She closed her successful public relations firm to devote her time and energy to The Parents Circle, a non-profit organization for bereaved Palestinians and Israelis that promotes reconciliation as an alternative to hatred and revenge. By holding workshops, summer camps and events like the Tears of Peace campaign, the organization hopes to persuade families in Israel, Palestine and Lebanon to lay down their hatchets and realize war only creates more pain. When it comes to war, Robi says on The Parents Circle’s website, “There is no winner, only a greater collection of broken hearts.”
Ode’s top 25 Intelligent Optimists by Ode reader Craig Zelizer.
Craig Zelizer, Ode reader and conflict resolution expert in Alexandria, Virginia