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New Hampshire Readies for 23rd Global Peace Event


Local Non-Profit Announces Youth Leaders Selected to Participate in the 2009/2010 Peace Initiative

New Hampshire Readies for 23rd Global Peace Event
Portsmouth, NH, September 28, 2009 --(PR.com)-- Friends Forever, a 501(c)(3) global non-partisan advocacy and awareness organization dedicated to peace, today announced the names of youth leaders selected to participate in this year’s “Life Raft” program, which is aimed at organizing young people, particularly in violence –stricken countries like Ireland and Israel, to address the challenges that threaten their communities and to work together for peace. On October 17th, 40 teens from these two countries will arrive in the United States to kick off their year long program. Friends Forever, which has been organizing these programs for the past 23 years, relies on the grassroots support of individuals and enterprises that are passionate about eliminating violence in tumultuous regions of the world by promoting tolerance, understanding and showcasing what it possible.

“Working at the grassroots level, I have seen how powerful it is to arm young people with the tools they need to affect change, promote peace and spread a culture of mutual respect and understanding,” said Stephen Martineau, executive director, Friends Forever. “The initial two-week Life Raft program in America is a critical step in our success; it helps to solidify the students’ commitment to the project, energize their dedication to being an agent of change and expose them to real-world examples of what is possible through their efforts.”

Friend Forever’s members work in their local communities domestically and internationally to raise awareness and help build programs that will support these young Irish and Israeli leaders as they team to address the challenges that face their communities. The organization works closely with local experts, regional leaders and educational institutions to promote healthy communication within disparate fractions and to end violence.

Teens selected for the organization’s “Life Raft” program spend the first two-weeks in the United States. Once in the United States, the groups form a new common identity of being either Irish or Israeli instead of along religious lines. During program Life Raft, they complete rigorous leadership, conflict resolution and tolerance workshops, along with community service and interactions with local companies for insight into America's melting pot. For many, this program is the first time they have shared a dinner table with their supposed adversary and for the entire two-week period these teens will live side-by-side. At the end of this phase, these youth leader will return to their homes to continue the remainder of the program with new friends and skills that will empower them to lead their communities in peaceful coexistence.

Teens selected for this year’s program include:
Matthew De Largy, Bangor, Ireland
Anna Gilmore, Bangor, Ireland
Sarah Cartin, Bangor, Ireland
Junior Afrifa, Bangor, Ireland
Karl Beare, Bangor, Ireland
Melissa Gaffney, Bangor, Ireland
Lorna Bryson, Bangor, Ireland
Annie McWilliams, Bangor, Ireland
Matthew Draynor, Bangor, Ireland
Niall McAvera, Bangor, Ireland

Julie Tourish, Belfast, Ireland
Niamh O’Connor, Belfast, Ireland
James William Donaghy, Belfast, Ireland
Mollie Copeland, Belfast, Ireland
Aimee Marie McLaughlin, Belfast, Ireland
Gareth James Leeman, Belfast, Ireland
Daniel James Hayes, Belfast, Ireland
Laura Marie McCullough, Belfast, Ireland
Eoin Peter McShane, Belfast, Ireland
Mark James Irvine, Belfast, Ireland
Omodoyinsola Olunafikayomi Dada, Belfast, Ireland

Ryan James Mcgonigle, Carrickfergus, Ireland
Ellen Michelle Haveron, Carrickfergus, Ireland
Rebecca Clare Love, Carrickfergus, Ireland
Brian Michael Mcquillan, Carrickfergus, Ireland
Stephen Arthur Beattie, Carrickfergus, Ireland
Jason Marcus Alex Allen, Carrickfergus, Ireland
Natasha Lynne Swan, Carrickfergus, Ireland
Joshua Michael Baxter, Carrickfergus, Ireland
Karina Sinead Kruk, Carrickfergus, Ireland
Catherine Holly Mcgonigle, Carrickfergus, Ireland

Jamil Habib Allah, Israel
Safa Habib Allah , Israel
Ammar Habib Allah, Israel
Rana Habib Allah, Israel
Dror Ginat, Israel
Yassmin Hawita, Israel
Shani Kagan, Israel
Tareq Abu Leil, Israel
Efrat Menahem, Israel
Noa Mazor, Israel
Yaniv Peri, Israel
Ohad Shari, Israel

“Since founding the organization in 1986, we have asked teens that are committed to fighting against violence in their communities to participate in an involved applicant process. With limited resources, Friends Forever enrolls only a select few that have demonstrated their passion for peace and are recognized as leaders within their communities,” noted Robert Raiche, Founder & Chairman Emeritus. “It is a honor for these teens to be chosen from the lengthy list of qualified applicants, and it represents the start of a life-changing journey for all that participate.”

This year’s program is funded by the generous support of Friends Forever members and with kind contributions from local organizations including the Portsmouth, NH and Danvers, MA Rotary Clubs; domestic and international YMCA; Camp Kieve; Fields of Vision; The University of New Hampshire; Boston Museum of Science; Gill Fishman Associates; Liberty Information Technology; SLAB Media, Hancock Associates, National Grid and ICE Worldwide.

For information about how you can participate contact:
Steve Martineau +1 603.433.7607 smartineau@friendsforeverusa.org

About Friends Forever
Friends Forever is a 501(c)(3) global non-partisan advocacy and awareness organization dedicated to peace, particularly in Ireland and Israel. Friend Forever’s members work in their local communities domestically and internationally to raise awareness and help build programming that will support these young Irish and Israeli leaders as they team to address the challenges that face their communities. The organization works closely with local experts, regional leaders and educational institutions to promote healthy communication within disparate fractions and to end violence.

Since 1986, Friends Forever has built hundreds of lasting friendships across the cultural, religious, and political divides of Northern Ireland and Israel. The organization brings together multi-faith teens to live, laugh, learn, and volunteer together in host communities in New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts. These youth leaders, upon completing Friends Forever's unique two-week "Life Raft" experience, return home to perpetuate tolerance in their own communities. For information please visit, www.friendsforeverusa.org

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Contact Information
Friends Forever
Jocely Philbrook
+ 1 978-707-2000
Contact
http://www.friendsforeverusa.org/
Stephen Martineau
+ 1 603.433.7607
smartineau@friendsforeverusa.org

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