Film screening on Nov. 6 will chronicle Arab and Jewish women who struggle to overcome their prejudices, fears and anger through dialogue.

October 30, 2007

DEARBORN / Oct. 30, 2007---The University of Michigan-Dearborn will host a free public screening of the documentary “Refusing to Be Enemies: The Zeitouna Story” at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6 in the auditorium of the campus’s Social Sciences Building as part of the university’s Difficult Dialogues Initiative.

The Laurie White documentary chronicles six Arab and six Jewish women who struggle to overcome their prejudices, fears and anger through dialogue.

"This is an amazing film about a group of women who have a lot to teach us about peace and collaboration, according to Prof. Suzanne Bergeron, director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at UM-Dearborn. “The work they do to bridge divides on the topic of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict shows the power of engaging in difficult dialogue to create personal and social change."

Established Ann Arbor in 2002, the Zeitouna dialogue group works to embody and promote peaceful and just coexistence of Arab and Jewish people through connection, trust, empathy and actions focused on supporting a sustainable future for Palestine and Israel, according to the group’s Web site.

Produced and directed by White, a pioneering member of Zeitouna, which means “olive tree” in Arabic, the film explores the sisterhood of the twelve women who find that their diverse backgrounds have more in common than they originally believed.

The screening is sponsored by UM-Dearborn’s Difficult Dialogues Initiative, the campus’s Women’s and Gender Studies Program and the Office of the Provost.

For more information, contact Prof. Bergeron at




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