Daniel Lubetzky is going to win the Nobel Peace Prize one day. You read it here first. Daniel is the founder of PeaceWorks, a not-only-for-profit business based on the principle that economic interdependence eventually can overcome socio-political turmoil. Basically they get people on opposite sides of a conflict to work together to produce high-end foodstuffs. But that’s only half the story.
The PeaceWorks Foundation — a group I have been working with for a few weeks now — is the non-profit wing of the company. Their main project is OneVoice, a unique grass-roots effort to promote the views of the vast swath of moderate Israelis and Palestinians. The process is fairly simple. Once Israelis and Palestinians are registered to vote with OneVoice (both online and by volunteers on the ground) they are asked to state their opinions on a variety of issues. The referenda are rolled out in phases and contribute to a progressively more honed and unified position statement that will eventually be forwarded as a mandate to global leaders. One interesting point is that, in an effort to promote negotiation, absolute rejection of a proposal is not allowed. You are alloted a limited number of points with which to register your relative level of discord. Use too many on any one issue and you may not have the ability to reject a point later in the vote. The mechanism is a gravitational pull to the center.
There’s a real urgency now with the upcoming Palestinian elections. Daniel and his team are preparing for television coverage, new voting, and a high probability that a supporter of the OneVoice initiative will succeed Arafat. To capture some of this momentum, they’ve created a blog. It’s nascent, but look for it to mature rapidly in the coming week or so.
I’m proud to be a part of this.