AEI–Open Windows is a Palestinian organization that furthers education, peace building and dialogue in the Palestinian cities of Bethlehem, Ramallah and Hebron. After the Institute’s creation in 1986 its locality in central Bethlehem was used for providing classes to Palestinian youth on a broad variety of subjects, including computer programs, business administration and languages. While being forced to intermittently close and open during the first Intifada, the AEI provided complementary and remedial coaching programs for youth while schools were closed.
In 1997, the AEI opened channels of communication and cooperation with the Dutch Euro-Arab Dialogue From Below/Interchurch Peace Movement - (EAD/IKV) initiative and in 2000 became an affiliated branch of Pax Christi International (a Catholic peace movement formerly headed by His Beatitude Mgr. Patriarch Michel Sabbah). AEI’s main local outreach is a network of some 15 schools in the Bethlehem, Hebron and Ramallah areas.
AEI appeals to international volunteers to share in its peace work. Its supervising board is composed of distinguished community members, including teachers and headmasters from a range of schools and departments of Bethlehem University. AEI also works closely together with Palestinian NGOs at both a local and national level, especially in the fields of education and non-violent activities.
AEI’s work is growing fast. At present some 9 groups form the backbone of AEI’s activities: four women’s group, four youth groups, and a family/parents group. The youths take part in different projects supported by mainly European development organizations and governments. Several of the projects relate to international computer or face-to-face exchanges. AEI-Open Windows has a Youth House and a School of Communication in which courses on the effective communication of the Palestinian identity and reality stand central.