It’s a five minute walk for Dana Salah to reach The Bean coffee shop on 12th Street and Broadway on a rainy Sunday afternoon. The 22 year-old young woman is cozily bundled up in a maroon sweater, thick scarf, and hijab against the dreary December weather. In Dana’s hometown, the village of Bethlehem in the West Bank of Palestine, it’s a balmy 73°. But the weather isn’t the biggest difference that Dana notices — it’s that five minute walk.
“In my country I get up two hours before the university because there are checkpoints. It makes life difficult,” Dana says. “The life here is totally different than Palestine. Totally free.”
This semester is Dana’s first as an NYU student. She’s here as part of a university program which brings four Israeli and four Palestinian students to the school for a semester of classes and intensive dialogue about the conflict in their homeland. The program’s mission is made clear by its name: Paths to Peace.
“I want to have this chance to talk to Israeli people,” Dana says. “I wasn’t allowed to go to Israel so I never had the chance to talk to Israeli people.” Read more…