Update on March 14, 2013
International Scholarship gifts allow low-income Arab students in Israel to enroll in these unique schools, where "Peace is Built on Desktops."
In 1982 Father Elias Chacour, a Palestinian Christian who is a 3-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee, founded Mar Elias High School in Ibillin, Israel. He opened the school with 80 students and 4 teachers. Since then, girls have always made up at least half of Mar Elias' student body.
Today almost 3,000 students ages 3-18 attend MEEI's preschool and kindergarten, elementary school, high school, gifted students' program and teacher-training program. About 55% of the students are girls.
The Mar Elias Schools elite status in Israel—with stellar nationalized test scores and a curriculum that emphasizes nonviolent problem-solving and respect for all God's children. Students come from 35 villages throughout Galilee and from as far away as Jerusalem and the Negev. Seventy-five percent of MEEI graduates go on to higher education, many earning advanced degrees, and almost all become leaders in their communities.
Mar Elias intentionally brings students and teachers together from all of Israel's religious and cultural groupings. The cultures and religious heritage of Christians, Muslims, and Jews are celebrated throughout the school year. At MEEI, students are taught formal Arabic starting in first grade, adding Hebrew in second grade and English in 3rd grade, so that from 3rd grade on, every student studies daily all 3 of the languages important to thriving in Israel. Partnerships exist with Jewish schools to be sure that Arabs and Jews have opportunities to know each other as peers.