Olfat HaiderOlfat Haider: The Athlete for Peace

Born: September 19, 1970

Haifa, Israel

The Start:

Olfat was born and raised in Haifa, Israel, where she lives today. In her youth, she was an outstanding volleyball player and joined the Israeli National Women’s Team. As the only Arab member, Olfat felt she was living a conflict. She played for a team whose anthem and flag did not represent her. Olfat faced discrimination from both Jewish and Arab societies as she struggled to find her place. These experiences led Olfat to several projects promoting peaceful co-existence between Jewish and Arab youth in Israel. She led and facilitated numerous multicultural and multi-ethnic groups of various ages in wide-ranging projects and initiatives.

Highlights:

“The question is how to overcome discrimination and build bridges.”

  • In 2004, Olfat was invited by the Israeli trekker and mountain climber Doron Erel to join “Breaking the Ice,” an expedition to Antarctica. The “ice” in question was the metaphorical ice separating Jews and Palestinians.
  • Olfat has lead and facilitated numerous multicultural and multi-ethnic groups of various ages in wide-ranging projects and initiatives.
  • Olfat became an Outward Bound instructor in 2005.
  • In 2008 she brought a group of Jewish and Palestinian kids to the United States to climb in the Appalachian Mountains.
  • She has also worked with black and white Americans, bringing the same lessons to an Outward Bound program.
  • Olfat was a Facilitator for the 2009 Young Social Entrepreneurs Program, supported by OB Peace-building and Search for Common Ground.

Education:

  • Olfat is currently pursuing her Masters in Gender Studies at Bar-llan University in Tel Aviv, Israel.
  • Bachelor of Education in Physical Education, University of Haifa
  • Bachelor of Arts in Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Haifa