Support the Abraham Path now and Double Your Impact!

Donate to help the Abraham Path reach more communities in 2015. A generous sponsor is matching donations until December 31st, so your gift makes twice the difference this year.

Your investment in the path connects people and communities.  

This week a family proudly welcomed walkers into their home and shared a meal they prepared. A child met a traveler and wondered about the world outside her community.

This month our local partners hosted a Photography Exhibition at Bethlehem University, displaying the students’ unique perspective on the path.


Photo Credit: Beata Andonia/API

This year the Abraham Path added its 1,000th kilometer, connecting over 100 communities in 15 regions. Each step is an opportunity for discovery and dialogue, connecting people and their stories. A recent piece by National Geographic captures this as Paul Salopek recounts his experiences along the Abraham Path. 

These moments on the path are only possible thanks to your support. 

You may support the Abraham Path Initiative by donating online, by bank transfer or by check. 

#DonationTuesday

Dear Friends,

 “It was like a light coming on here.  We got connected to the world and that makes us feel hope. Everyone in the village is always asking when the next walkers are coming.”

This comment from a villager about the Abraham Path sums up for me what the Path is all about: connection and understanding, prosperity and hope.

As I reflect on the past year of on-the-ground progress on the Abraham Path, as well as the often tragic news still coming from the Middle East, I find myself wondering – how has such an audacious project become so real and so resilient?

The most important reason is YOU. Donors, walkers, and friends like you provide the support we need to weather an unpredictable political climate and create lasting, sustainable impact.

API Board Trip - Jenin, Gilboa, Ajloun (David LandforGemma1
Photo Credit: Kelsey Whiting-Jones

The Abraham Path is an innovative platform for good, a project that creates connection and economic opportunity for people and communities in the region while empowering them to share their stories with the world. The Path is a concrete, local project that anyone can participate in – as a donor, a walker, a partner, and a friend.

I am grateful that earlier this year National Geographic Traveler magazine named the Abraham Path as the best new walking trail in the world.

Today is #GivingTuesday. If you believe as I do in the power of human connection and economic opportunity to create a better world, then please join me in donating to the Abraham Path Initiative today!

If you make a donation by December 31st, I personally will be happy to match it, doubling your impact.

With much appreciation,

William Ury

Chair, Abraham Path Initiative

Donate

 

 

 

 

Abraham Path Initiative Receives World Bank Grant

$2.3 Million Grant Bolsters Economic Development on the Abraham Path in the West Bank

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Autumn 2014 has seen a bustle of new activities popping up along the Abraham Path between Jenin and Hebron. Girl and boy scout trail clean-up events, university photography competitions, guided weekly walks, homestay trainings, trail analysis thru-hikes, and educational meetings with Palestinian municipalities are just a few examples of the hive of activity that is energizing the path.

These activities are largely possible thanks to a two-year, $2.3 million grant from the World Bank State and Peacebuilding Fund for a project entitled “Abraham Path/Masar Ibrahim: Economic Development Across Fragile Communities.” The Abraham Path Initiative and Palestinian partner organizations will utilize the funds to engage more communities, bring more walkers, and increase job creation and income generation on the path, especially for women and youth.

“This investment by the World Bank allows one of the most innovative social change projects in the Middle East to grow to scale,” commented Stefan Szepesi, Executive Director of the Abraham Path Initiative.

The main elements of the grant include:

  • Investment in People and Institutions, including a comprehensive one-year guide training program by Bethlehem University and capacity building for local partner organizations
  • Path Development, including increasing trail distance in the north and south and improving maps and other practical hiker materials
  • Marketing, Business Development, and Communication, including outreach to tour operators, profiles on points of interest, and production of marketing materials
  • Action Research, including the publication of 10 research papers which analyze the impact of the Abraham Path and capture lessons about job creation through trail development

API partners with Masar Ibrahim al Khalil, a Palestinian nonprofit developing the path in the West Bank that is comprised of a union with the Rozana Association, the Siraj CenterPalestine Wildlife Society and Bethlehem University Institute for Community Partnership.

For more information on the World Bank grant, see www.worldbank.abrahampath.org. Follow our progress on social media!

 

Photo Credits: Sumaya Agha/API

Volunteers Waymark the Abraham Path in Ajloun

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson 

The newly waymarked section of the Abraham Path is the first waymarked trail in all of Jordan! This May, groups of volunteers from the local Jordanian Youth Organization, the Peace Corps, and the UK Friends of Abraham’s Path helped waymark the Abraham Path in the region of Ajloun. Led by local guides from the Al Ayoun Society and Abraham Path Initiative staff, the groups ventured out onto the trail with paint brushes in hand.

Walkers will now find red and white blazes painted on rocks and metal poles all along the route. More weekend groups led by the Al Ayoun Society and members of local communities went out throughout the month of May to complete marking the entire trail across the Ajloun region.

Between the city of Ajloun and the Jordan Valley, walkers wander from an Arab citadel past Byzantine mosaics and Roman ruins, through expansive forests and green wadis, happening upon megalithic dolmens and hot springs, enjoying the hospitality of villages in between.  In the village of Rasoun, walkers may visit theRoyal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) Soap House, Calligraphy House, and Biscuit House, all run by local women and showcasing locally-made products.

The Abraham Path in the Ajloun region is comprised of five walking stages or five days of walking, covering approximately 55 kilometers (34 miles). Trail surfaces vary from earthen farm tracks to rugged footpaths to paved roads in order to balance the Abraham Path’s connection to communities, nature, and historic and cultural sites. The route of the Abraham Path has been scouted locally by the communities it connects in coordination with partners in the Abraham Path network. Most of these walking trails are re-purposed ancient ways, familiar to locals and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

Many sections of the Abraham Path in other regions are currently also marked or are in the process of being waymarked. Waymarking is an essential tool not only for navigation and trail safety, but also for helping to focus environmental impact on one specific pathway. Waymarking makes the trails more accessible to people from both the local community and the global community.

The newly-marked Abraham Path will now be woven into the landscape of Ajloun for generations to come. 

Connect with the Abraham Path around the World!

Though the path may be in the Middle East, the global network of people who support the vision of the Abraham Path is growing every day.

You can get involved too! Abraham Path Chapters are nonprofit organizations or groups around the world made up of volunteers from within a single country or region who have been inspired by the Abraham Path. Chapters promote education and awareness about the path, stimulate travelers  from their own communities to visit the path, and organize fundraising events to help develop the path further.

Current Abraham Path Chapters

  • The Brazil Chapter, Caminho de Abraão, has been sending student groups to the path for years and has taken the lead in organizing special events, Abrahamic seminars, and exhibits that connect their community to the path. This past fall, the Brazil Chapter hosted their 5th annual Caminho da Paz race, drawing 8,000 participants to the streets of São Paulo.
  • The UK Friends of the Abraham Path is a registered charity based in London dedicated to inspiring UK walkers to travel on the Abraham Path. The UK Friends has hosted information sessions and worked with Leeds Metropolitan University in organizing annual student exchanges on the on the path. Their next group walk is coming up this May. You can read about their most recent trip here. 
  • Spanish volunteers from Barcelona and Madrid have formed a Spanish Chapter, Amigos del Camino de Abraham. They have developed a beautiful presence online and are currently preparing for their first trip to the path with Spanish students.

Future Chapters

A group of Abraham Path supporters is just about to launch the Italian Chapter, Amici Italiani del Cammino di Abramo and release a new website. Until then, you may connect with our Italian friends on their Facebook group page here.

There are presently volunteers working on also establishing chapters in CanadaChile and Australia/New Zealand.

Please Contact Us or reach out in the links above if you would like to connect with any of these current and future chapter groups or if you’d like to help start a new Abraham Path Chapter in your country!

National Geographic Rates the Abraham Path the #1 New Walking Trail in the World

National Geographic Traveller rates the Abraham Path the world’s #1 new walking trail. The path truly comes to life in this beautiful traveler’s piece.

National Geographic’s Ben Lerwill writes, “The landscape has a hardiness that conceals gifts: mistletoe, wagtails, dragonflies and pink cyclamen. … We sleep in welcoming homestays. I learn that lamb-filled flatbreads and pomegranate juice make good hiking fuel, and the valleys glow gold at first light.”

“We are delighted to share with you this important milestone for the Abraham Path. We are humbled and grateful to all those in the Middle East and around the world who have worked with such enthusiasm and courage to make the Path worthy of this remarkable recognition. With your help, we can build a path of discovery and human connection for the ages, a genuine beacon of hope for a better and kinder world.”  – William Ury, Founder and Chair of the Abraham Path Initiative

Ben walked with Habib, a long-time guide on the Abraham Path in Palestine.

Weekly Walks on a New Section of the Abraham Path

We are excited to announce a successful start to weekly walks between Jenin and Nablus! February 7 and 9 API local partner the Rozana Association led two well-received walks on the new section. Twenty-eight people from around the world participated in the walks.
Keeping in the tradition of Abraham, the route between Jenin to Nablus is developed around historical points of interest, including Canaanite sites from the period Abraham spent in the region. At the beginning of the route walkers enjoyed hiking up the green Canaanite Tel Ta’anaek filled with almond blossoms, red poppies, and cyclamen in bloom. A group toured the Burqin Church, considered the third-oldest church in the world, and enjoyed a home-cooked lunch in an Ottoman era house in Araba. The weekly walks are a great opportunity to experience the landscape, history, and culture of the region.
This weekend walkers will continue to appreciate the sites, including the panoramic view from Jebal Hureish, featuring Mt. Hermon on a clear day, and Roman ruins in the beautiful village of Sebastiya. As is tradition with weekly walks, participating walkers will enjoy an afternoon lunch hosted by a local family or women’s association along the path.

Thanks to a generous grant from the USAID Compete project we are able to provide complimentary transportation and a local trail guide for each walk.

Walks between Jenin and Nablus will continue through March 9th. For the complete schedule and more information about walks on the Abraham Path, visit our weekly walks calendar. 

This is Your Last Chance to Support the Path in 2013

We have had an amazing year.  If you support our mission to create a long-distance walking trail across the Middle East or if you connect with the vision of the Abraham Path to inspire hope, please consider making a donation today. All of the funding for the development of the Abraham Path comes mostly from individuals like you!

With your help we can:

  • scout new path stages with local guides
  • create detailed cartography and trail descriptions
  • mark the route using local signage
  • provide small-scale community infrastructure and home stay renovations
  • reach out to new communities on the path through local village councils and women’s associations
  • promote exchange opportunities for local youth and women
  • conduct local guide and host training in wilderness safety, first aid, English, and leadership skills
  • gather stories, research, photography, and film of communities and sites of historical and cultural significance along the route which will come together in the all-path online guidebook
With your help the Abraham Path will continue to come alive across the Middle East and in the hearts of millions around the world.

This is your last chance to give in 2013 to support the path forward!

Make your tax-deductible gift to the Abraham Path Initiative today. 
We have a Matching Grant

your $1 = $2

until December 31 (at midnight)!

You may support the Abraham Path Initiative by donating online, by bank transfer or by bank check.

Checks may be made out to Abraham Path Initiative and mailed to:
Abraham Path Initiative
1563 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
USA

The Abraham Path Initiative is a US-registered 501c3 non-profit organization and accepts tax deductible donations in the United States. Tax deductible donations can also be made from the UK via the UK Friends of Abraham’s Path.
For all of our donating options, please visit our donate page at
http://www.abrahampath.org/connect/donate/

The Path Ahead

This year, thanks to supporters like you and our hardworking partners in the Middle East and around the world, we have made great progress on the Abraham Path, inspiring understanding, prosperity, and hope for humanity! I feel truly grateful.

In 2013 the Abraham Path achieved a long-term dream by becoming a reality in a new way with an online guidebook – see www.abrahampath.org. For the first time ever, you can go online and download maps (including GPS tracks) of the 30 walking segments in seven regions across the Middle East and you can plan your journey by connecting directly with homestay hosts and local tour operators. You can read site descriptions of the extraordinary and historic places along the route like Gobekli Tepe, the world’s oldest temple at 12,000 years. You can browse photos and videos of the landscape, people, and hospitality you will encounter in villages along the way. And you can hear from other travelers through blogs, testimonies, and press. Whether or not you can walk in the Middle East, you can now travel the Abraham Path virtually.

On the ground, our team and local partners have worked hard to extend the path, developing and way-marking new sections in the Negev desert and in southeastern Turkey. And our team led a Wilderness First Aid Training for 16 Palestinian guides, the first course of its kind in the Middle East. Walkers have been heading out on the Abraham Path every week this spring and fall season with our partners the Siraj Center and Experience Jordan. International groups led by Gulf for Good, Mediators Beyond Borders, Eastern Mennonite University, and Leeds Metropolitan University have used the path as a platform for exchange and voluntourism. Two British walkers, Joanne and Laura, were so inspired by their experience that they decided to raise funds for the Abraham Path in Turkey by running a half marathon in Istanbul.

In the past year, the Abraham Path has inspired people worldwide with coverage on CNN, the BBC, the Huffington Post as well as in the Lonely Planet, The Australian, and the London Times. In an ABC-TV special on the Middle East, Christiane Amanpour called the Abraham Path “an unprecedented initiative to break down barriers and foster communication.”

This season as we are reminded of what makes us grateful, we are also reminded of what fills us with hope. I believe in the power of the Abraham Path to inspire hope around the world. I invite you to join me in this extraordinary adventure in whatever way moves you. Please tell your friends and family about us; consider making a gift today or even consider fundraising on behalf of the path. The Abraham Path is poised for liftoff and with your support, we can make it a continuous and connected path, double the number of walking segments, train new guides and create jobs, and thus inspire greater understanding in this world.

I thank you with all my heart for your support! As we walk together side by side on this path, we will build a better world, step by step.

With gratitude and appreciation,


William Ury
Chair, Abraham Path Initiative

P.S. Have a look: NEW Abraham Path Video (1 min).

New Trail Developments on the Abraham Path in the Negev Desert

A new expanded section of the Abraham Path has just been mapped out in the Negev desert!

The seven-day route takes walkers from Abraham’s Well in Beersheva to views overlooking the Dead Sea at the ancient site of Masada. The rugged landscape of the Negev provides a veritable playground for outdoor adventure, with stunning canyons, refreshing oases and fascinating historical sites. The area is also home to over 160,000 Bedouin, nomadic people who keep alive a rich heritage of desert culture, as well as a variety of Jewish and Muslim communities. Apart from heritage sites, walkers will almost certainly spot shepherds tending sheep, goats and camels.

The Abraham Path Initiative worked with Trails Committee of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, the Sidreh Bedouin women’s association, and the community of Lakiya to mark the last portion of the trail with painted blazes, making this 7-stage route the first completely waymarked section of the Abraham Path in the Negev!

We have detailed topographical maps and GPS tracks which you can download directly from our website so you can start your journey. You can prepare for your trip by reading up on the places you’ll find along the way, accommodation options, andtransportation tips particular to this section of the Abraham Path.

Several informal weekend walks are planned for January 2014 on the following dates:

Sunday, January 19
Friday, January 24 to Saturday, January 25
Friday, January 31 OR Saturday, February 1

More details available on our website. Join us!