Friends Without Borders

The direct exchange between Israelis and Iranians reminded me of the work of Friends Without Borders, a peace campaign created to encourage cross-border friendships in conflict zones, building connections directly between people. It’s original focus was a massive letter writing campaign between children in India and Pakistan, which became the largest peace effort in both India and Pakistan’s history. As they explain, “Children have a natural instinct toward friendship and will jump to reach out and create new friends, when given the opportunity. The simple act of writing a letter leaves deep and lasting impressions that help to humanize ‘the other.’ These are the seeds that promise to mature into a safer, friendlier world.”

Here is an inspiring short film about the history of Friends Without Borders and the enormous impact it has had both in India and Pakistan. It serves as a model for building peace, using the natural goodness of children and the power to connect through letters and the internet…

Friends Without Borders is a new approach to world peace. All across India, tens of thousands of children have been writing heartfelt letters to the students in Pakistan. And all across Pakistan, tens of thousands of children are replying with heartfelt letters back. New connections are being made. New friendships are being formed. It’s an amazing story, which features the World’s Largest Love Letter and an epic peace concert on the border of India and Pakistan….

Countries have borders, friends don’t.

Loving the “enemy”

“To the Iranian people, to all the fathers, mothers, children, brothers and sisters, for there to be a war between us, first we must be afraid of each other, we must hate. I’m not afraid of you, I don’t hate you. I don’t even know you.”

That was the beginning of a letter to the Iranian people by two Israeli graphic designers. Fed up with the growing hysteria over a possible war between their countries, Ronny Edri and Michal Tamir, a couple from Tel Aviv, decided to take matters into their own hands and reach out directly to the Iranian people on behalf of the Israeli people. The Israeli people do not want a war, as recent polls have confirmed, and it appears that the majority of Iranian people do not want war either.

It all started when Ronny and Michal partnered with a small preparatory design school called Pushpin Mehina, and uploaded posters to its Facebook page of themselves with their children above the message, “Iranians, we will never bomb your country, we love you.”…

“So I thought, Why not try to reach the other side; to bypass the generals and see if Iranians really hate me?”