With a passion for service, Lycoming College’s Cori Mancuso ‘13 is bridging national, cultural and religious divides through a global interfaith movement. This summer, the religion and anthropology major travelled to Israel and Palestine as part of a unique, interfaith delegation to learn more about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Sponsored thy the Interfaith Peace-Builders organization, Mancuso, along with 31 other participants from around the U.S., landed in Tel Aviv on May 21 for a two-week journey through Israel and the West Bank.
“I believe the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the most pressing issues of my generation,” explains Mancuso. “I traveled with Interfaith Peace-Builders because I wanted to learn firsthand how the conflict affects both Palestinians and Israelis and what they are doing in order to promote peace.”
The delegation had the opportunity to meet representatives from prisoners’ rights organizations involved with Palestinian prisoners. They also spoke with Israelis and Palestinians about the environmental effects of their countries’ military occupation.
Mancuso felt drawn to the situation due to her passion for both human rights and the environment. Her greatest learning experience occurred when she met with Palestinians.
“Too often the Palestinians are an invisible people, and when they are finally visible, they are portrayed as terrorists in the mainstream media,” she said. Instead of terrorists, she found a people concerned with promoting peace, equality, justice and freedom through their faiths and traditions – both Christian and Muslim.
When Mancuso returns to campus in the fall, she will continue her work at the College’s Community Service Center and as coordinator of Better Together, an interfaith service group which plans events with local religious leaders and communities.