(For complete description, please download here)
On search for a fit property I came across a place right at the edge of Jerusalem about a year ago, which immediately appeared to me as the one and only possible choice. It was convincing by the first sight to be the perfect solution for the project by all criteria and in all needs.
The place is situated close to Yad Va-Shem amidst Jerusalem Forest and has certainly its value for itself. By name of “Merkaz Zippori – Communal Education Center ”, its approximately 70 dunam (22 acres) property with facilities consisting of three major buildings is owned by the Iriah of Jerusalem (Municipality) and run by the Matnasim – Israeli Association of Community Centers. In personal contacts between Eitan Meir, the General Manger of the Iriah, Michael Ben Avi, Manager of Zippori Center and Dr. Benedikt, the later has declared the unanimous interest of the Board of the Amuta to lease or purchase the Merkaz Zippori promises in order to establish the base of The Jerusalem Peace Academy on its campus.
While most people in Israel knowing the place were ridiculing my efforts to run after it saying that I would never even get a foot into it, I trusted my intuition and inner guidance. And in fact on May 2 nd I got the green light from the Manager of the Matnasim for establishing our institution on the Zippori premises. I was offered to start the work right away.
The main buildings are nice stone constructions altogether being in quite a pleasing shape, so it is possible to just move in and start the work – no waste of time with planning, complicated applications for permits and building efforts.
The facilities of the center consist of:
Main Building : 12 offices + reception
4 classrooms (a 15 students)
1 Hall + cafeteria
1 dining hall (app. 120 m²)
1 classroom/piano bar (winter use)
16 guest rooms (62 persons);
Canada Building: 6 offices
1 shelter (computers room)
3 classrooms (25/40/65 students)
20 hotel double rooms (40 pax)
13 bungalows for 52 persons.
Furthermore the premises include
1 big swimming pool
1 sports field,
parking lots, walkways and forests.
So it provides enough space to accommodate all of our projects and to start the work right away. Beside the existing volume there is the good opportunity to further develop the property, allowing an easy expansion of the work in due time.
The staff will consist of 20 - 30 employees plus consultants, lecturers, and outsourcing services staff.
The Seminars for Personal Development and the Post-graduate Course for Young Managers and Entrepreneurs is self-sustained. Other institutions, getting established in Merkaz facilities will contribute to the expenditures and costs in proportion to the space they use.
Our architects have already made a revue of the place for making suggestions. The funds needed for further development of property and facilities will depend on the upcoming needs and the financial support of the sponsors.
Specific projects we will still run in other places. Amongst them will be the “Talitha Kumi Center” in Bethlehem (base of PRIME) rent from the Protestant Church, the “Tantur Center” (base of IPCRI as well as of different kinds of Courses, Conferences and Seminars) owned by the Ecumenical Institute for Theological Studies in Jerusalem on the way to Bethlehem, and the Gamida for Life facilities in Petach Tikva (sheltering the “Education for Life Foundation”).