Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Scott Kennedy, Presente!

It was with great sadness that the US Campaign family learned this weekend, during our semi-annual Steering Committee meeting, of the loss of our good friend Scott Kennedy.  Having seen Scott just recently at our 10th Annual National Organizers' Conference, it is such a shock and terrible loss to us all to suddenly realize that we will no longer benefit from his passion, wisdom, and commitment.

Scott was an amazing, tireless, and dedicated activist for a just peace in Palestine/Israel.  His loss is inestimable.  My fondest memory of Scott is of him driving me around his beloved and beautiful Santa Cruz during an organizing tour he arranged and listening to him describe how as mayor he commemorated the killing of Rachel Corrie by declaring an official Rachel Corrie Day in her memory.

Below, we reprint a beautiful note on Scott's passing from member group Interfaith Peace-Builders, whose Board of Directors was chaired by Scott.  In the note, please find information on how you can extend your condolences to Scott's family through IFPB.

With heartfelt condolences to Scott's family and boundless admiration for his life's work,

Josh Ruebner
National Advocacy Director
US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation        

Scott Kennedy, Presente!

Dear Friends,

We write today with sad news.  Scott Kennedy, chair of the IFPB board of directors, trip leader for many, and friend to us all, has passed away.  Scott died Saturday in his sleep in Santa Cruz, CA, just one week after co-leading the latest Interfaith Peace-Builders Olive Harvest Delegation.

With the shock and hurt of the news still fresh, we all mourn and wish peace for his family.  To say that Scott had an enormous impact on Interfaith Peace-Builders would be an understatement.  Our work of sending delegations (39 since 2001) was rooted in delegation work that he pioneered, starting with a trip that Scott and Allan Solomonow led in 1975.  Since that time, Scott’s work with the Resource Center for Nonviolence, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, and Middle East Witness all contributed significantly to the program that we know as Interfaith Peace-Builders today.  
Scott has been a tireless advocate, a dedicated trip leader, an active and engaged board member, and a joy to learn from and work with.

His work with IFPB was but one of his many projects which spread from Santa Cruz, the city he loved unconditionally, to Israel/Palestine, whose nonviolent leaders he supported at all costs.  He dedicated his life to helping others, to seeking justice, and to spreading the power of active nonviolence.

When Scott received the El-Hibri Peace Education Prize in 2008, IFPB Senior Fellow Joe Groves wrote a tribute to Scott.  We include it here:

I have worked with Scott Kennedy on Middle East peace education for twenty years in many varied venues. What fun! Even though we live on opposite coasts, our collaboration has been consistent, from forming Middle East Witness to take delegations to Israel/Palestine, to working together on FOR’s Middle East Task Force, to collaborating on FOR’s Interfaith Peace-Builders Program, to creating an independent Interfaith Peace-Builders organization. That’s one of Scott’s defining features—creating anew by building on strong and deep relationships.  Programs can come and go—it’s the people who are crucial. A second defining feature is that Scott makes the work fun, in a deep, complex way that far exceeds laughter (although there is plenty of that). It’s fun stemming from creativity, imagination, stimulating conversation, immense energy, and profound commitment to the work of Middle East peace. We need all of those qualities to sustain work on Israel/Palestine in the midst of consistently grim and discouraging realities. Someone who brings fun to Middle East work—what more can you ask! And what better way to lead in peace education.  

If you'd like, you may also watch this online video where Scott describes some of his work with IFPB.

We invite you to send any condolence letters (letters only, please) to IFPB  (1326 9th St., NW, Washington DC 20001) and we’ll bundle them together with other notes from others who he touched through his work with IFPB.

More information on Scott is provided in these online obituaries:


Scott will be very sorely missed.  And we feel the utmost gratitude to have known, worked, and laughed with him.

In Peace, 

Joe, Mike, Jake, and Emily, IFPB Staff

Ilise, Mark, Doug, Mary Ann, Mara, Gerald, Sandra, Richard, Rami, Allie, Shakeel, Barbara, Hanan, Darryl, and Cathy, 
IFPB Board