Despite the recent upheaval in the Middle East, an unprecedented calm permeated Space Camp Turkey, July 16-23. For the first time in the camp’s six-year existence, Jewish and Palestinian kids participated in a weeklong Global Friendship Through Space Education program that also featured American Astronaut Shannon Lucid—a veteran of five space flights and record-holder for the most flight hours in orbit of any woman in the world.
”Space Camp Turkey provides a wonderful opportunity for peers to meet in a non-threatening environment and to understand other cultures. We all need to work together to ensure we take care of planet Earth for ourselves and future generations. Just like the exploration of space, this involves an international effort,” remarked Lucid, who spent 188 days in space aboard the Russian space station Mir.
Space Camp Turkey’s second international E-Pal Week of the summer united email pals from Thurgood Marshall Academy and Miribal Sisters Campus in New York City, New York and Enka School in Istanbul, Turkey with students from Tefen School, Migdal Tefen, Israel.
As part of a yearlong Partner School Science Program (PSSP) that is sponsored by Space Camp Turkey’s GFTSE foundation, American schools are paired with schools in Turkey and Israel and Turkish schools collaborate with schools in Bulgaria. Students email each other, complete space-related science projects on NASA`s distance-learning website, participate in three-way video conferences between the schools and NASA`s Johnson Space Center, and ultimately meet at a special session at Space Camp Turkey, called E-Pal Week.
Other international participants included Israelis and Palestinians from the Peres Center for Peace in Tel Aviv and Greeks from A` Tositseio-Arsakeio High School Ekali and Varvakios School in Athens.
During the camp’s special events night, when students and teachers make presentations about their cultures, Israeli and Palestinian children harmonized the following lyrics:
We can show you the world
Two people living together
Israelis and Palestinians
Living side by side
On a small piece of land
Two cultures living together
Hebrew, Arabic, English
We all just want the same
EA whole new world
No to fighting, yes to peace
And so we sing this song, for you to know
That our group can make a whole new world.