Abraham Path Initiative Term Paper

Pages: 7 (2309 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: History - Israel

Furthermore, if it does partner with outside entities it should do so in a manner that is holistic: it should seek out local groups to generate buy-in and support but should do so in all of the nations in which it has a presence, in a broad and inclusive fashion. Within the nations when it partners with local entities, it should also seek out a number of supportive parties. For example, when in Palestine, it created joint ventures with academic and business organizations, including " Bethlehem University, the Palestine Wildlife Society, the Siraj Center (a cultural tourism organization), and Rozana (a cultural heritage society)" (Leary, Sebenius, & Weiss 2009: 13).

Open source v. hierarchy to create the AP's network of volunteers?

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Donations and volunteerism are critical to fund the effort required to run the AP. It is easy to see how various entities might wish to contribute, including church organizations within the U.S., groups that wish to promote peace in the Middle East, and supporters of Israel. However, disparate volunteers can be challenging to coordinate for over-burdened staff. Still, given the risks that are posed for on-site volunteers, coordination by an outside entity seems wise, given the need to brief incoming help in the culture of the region. The free-for-all model of volunteerism which has proven to be so successful with Wikipedia and Mozilla is not comparable, given that these exist in virtual space and do not have the territorial risks and passions as does a project in the Middle East. Volunteer orientation; screening groups that wish to volunteer to make sure they do not have ulterior motives; and keeping track of organizations once they are on the trail are all examples of functions that would behoove the API to oversee.

The Path as platform?

Term Paper on Abraham Path Initiative Assignment

The AP can be a valuable source of tourism revenue for areas where travelers have traditionally shied away from, given the perceived risks of traveling to the Middle East. The stress upon hospitality and openness in the construction of the trail, including homestays, is designed to act as a counterbalance to such fears. Particularly for underdeveloped regions such as the Palestinian territories, it is hoped that the Path will encourage tourism and economic growth in a powerful fashion, empowering the community in a constructive way.

For those who have already walked the Path, many have reported that the experience is a powerful one, not simply retracing the steps of Abraham but by feeling the warmth of giving and kindness they experience. The Path "is constituted by the act of walking along routes with deep cultural and historical meaning and through the collaborations relating to hospitality that are made possible…For even though the physical trails lie within the sovereign territory of many nations, the Path itself cannot truly be 'owned' by any government, constituency, and certainly, not by the API itself. The Path's real stakeholders… are the villagers through which the Path goes as well as those who journey on it" Leary, Sebenius, & Weiss 2009: 14). The Path does not belong to the API (there is a critical distinction between the Path and the Initiative) but to the people who make it possible.


Currently the API is donor-based, but it is hoped that as it becomes more popular, it will be able to derive revenue from other sources, including walkers as well as other strategic partners. However, once again, to ensure the minimum amount of divisiveness, financial independence is vital and accepting large donations from controversial sources must be avoided. Although governments may support their junctures of the trail, undue support from one government might once again inflame suspicious. Academic institutional support might be a more viable option, given the trust which was extended to Harvard at the beginning of the creation of the API.

Air v. ground activities?

Obviously donations can be encouraged via media attention, given the importance of donations. But this media coverage must be managed carefully to avoid overtaxing the resources of the Path.

Risk management

A terrorist incident or regional conflict which shuts down part of the Path is perhaps the most obvious risk. These incidents, however, could be provoked by rumors about ulterior motives about the organizers. Travelers must be carefully briefed to behave in a religiously sensitive manner and although promoting peace is a goal, the interests of the participants in their own, personal goals such as improving their economies must never be overlooked.

The Abraham Path must likely keep its name, given the need for a succinct albeit imperfect title given that no words could completely encompass all of the claims of the area of various groups. In the future, the Abraham Path Initiative may need to change itself to a name such as 'Friends of the Abraham Path' to distinguish itself in a critical fashion from the Path itself.

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