This afternoon, we had our final seminar session with Justin and Donna. We talked a bit about solutions for the problem of Jerusalem, and whether it should/could be united, internationalized, or divided. The purpose was really to recapitulate what he had learned and try to present the different narratives that we have heard over the past three weeks. Of course, we could not come to a consensus, and every possibility offered opened up a new set of different problems. Justin ended by saying that the point was not to come up with a definitive solution (obviously, that would be impossible), but to educate ourselves and give ourselves a more legitimized voice in conversations about the conflict by experiencing it (or at least observing it and engaging with it) first-hand. It is true that while I still struggle to maintain a grasp on the complexities of Jerusalem, and know that I am missing many more perspectives, I feel that by the time I go back to the States, I will be able to engage more thoroughly in conversations, understand much more about the conflict, and be able to challenge black-and-white thinkers from both sides in a more informed and intellectual manner. In this sense, I do feel that I have benefitted very much from the (only!) 3 weeks we have been here, the speakers we have heard, the sites we have seen, and the classes we have had with Justin, Souleiman, and Donna.
On that note, I am ready for the next portion of this GES, in which I will interact with people on a much more personal level and hopefully gain insight into the branches of the conflict in a very different way.