At the Jerusalem Intercultural Center (JICC) we believe that all Jerusalem residents deserve excellent and just access to all services. We also believe that these residents are entitled to be significant partners in the decision making processes regarding all issues that impact them. Since Jerusalem is deeply divided along many identity and cultural lines, this vision requires culturally-oriented approach. Hence, service provision systems must be culturally competent, and decision-making processes should be open to profound cross-cultural discussions among all relevant stakeholders. Community and lay leaders, as well as professionals and agencies, from all of Jerusalem’s spectrum of identities, cultures and ethnic groups – all deserve to be recognized as legitimate stakeholders in the processes that impact the city. Through our unique programs and methodologies, we believe we can bring the reality of Jerusalem closer to our dreams and prayers.
Towards this aim, the JICC maintains a non-partisan approach. Despite the heated controversy surrounding many issues in Jerusalem, we communicate and work equally with all parties. The JICC is a non-profit organization that receives no government financial support, allowing us to retain an independent perspective when working with the mix of identities in Jerusalem. Our commitment to diversity is also reflected in the JICC board, in which many of the Jerusalem identities are represented.
Another interesting trait of the JICC is working without too much publicity. One can read about almost everything we do on our blog, but maintaining a low profile with limited public exposure enables many of the participants in our programs to feel comparably safe. Indeed, in Jerusalem, too much public attention is not always a good thing.
Our methodological approach is based on a few areas of expertise:
- Cultural Competency, adjusting the comprehensive approach to service provision to better serve all relevant cultures, including overcoming language barriers, cross-cultural differences, identity-oriented social and political tensions, etc.
- Educating and training Agents of Change, promoting and advancing relevant professional skills for those who may influence Jerusalem’s future.
- Multicultural Deliberative Democracy, ensuring that all residents have an effective voice in impacting the future of their communities.
- Effective Activism, learning, together with residents from all groups, to effectively use activist power for making positive change in all aspects of life.
- Cross-Cultural Conflict Resolution, bringing a broad range of cultures and identities together to creatively solve and work through community issues.
In each of these areas we maintain and develop state-of-the-art methodologies that are suited for this unique city and to the specific communities in it. We mainly focus on down-to-earth practical professional processes in which tangible outcomes for Jerusalem residents are achieved. This way, we can check our outcomes and demonstrate the usefulness of our methodologies.