Endorsements

ENDORSEMENTS

“My So-Called Enemy” is so unique and inspirational that it should be mandatory for all students and young people to watch around the world. Politicians, especially those involved in conflict resolution, should encourage the public to view it. I congratulate Lisa Gossels for her humanity and courage in making this film.
- Ayse Heinbecker Former President, Women’s World Forum, United Nations, NY.

“My So-Called Enemy” is a must see film! Its messages about the importance of inclusion, tolerance and respect have global relevance. I feel truly fortunate to have had the opportunity to see this film and hope it will be shown to the youth of our communities, for they are the leaders of tomorrow.
- Staff Sergeant Shaun Brabazon, Diversity and Race Relations, Ottawa Police Service

We screened “My So-Called Enemy” as part of our interfaith/intergroup initiatives. This film offered our campus a complex and compelling look at the real lives of young women within Israel and Palestine and sparked deep conversations about nationhood, identity, forgiveness and relationships. I don’t believe we’ll find anything better than what “My So-Called Enemy” presented. Thanks for your amazing work!
- Ross Wantland, Assistant Director Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Lisa – Thank you for your time at Amherst College. Your warmth, transparency, enthusiasm and creativity have engaged our campus in a way that few people have. It is my hope and belief that your time with students, faculty and staff in workshops, discussions and the film screenings of “My So-Called Enemy” will have a transformative, ripple effect that will endure long after your visit to our campus. May God bless your continued work in conflict resolution, identity and peacemaking. I look forward to our continued contact. 
- Rev. Paul Sorrentino, Director of Religious & Spiritual Life, Amherst College

It was such a blessing and honor to have Lisa Gossels on our campus. Not only did she facilitate a film discussion of ‘My So Called Enemy’ which garnered over 200 participants, but also a dinner and dialogue with select student leaders. At the dinner, students were challenged to think about their individual identities as well as how to create a space of respect, civility and mutual understanding on UNC Charlotte’s campus. The students were very engaged and since then have gathered with the deans of students and SGA president to continue the discussion. Bonds were formed and barriers were torn down.

Lisa has such a kind spirit and was great to work with from the very beginning. She was willing to go beyond facilitating the film and genuinely wanted to engage our campus. She met with our students individually, visited classrooms, had a reception with our partners in academic affairs, and encouraged our campus to ‘build bridges of understanding in our community.’ I highly suggest bringing her to your campus.
– Kimberly D. Turner, Director, Multicultural Resource Center, University of North Carolina – Charlotte

The inspiration behind inviting Lisa Gossels to Mount Holyoke College was hope – hope for having honest conversations even in the situations when positive outcomes seem too hard to achieve. It felt like a good match, the work that Lisa has been producing and our efforts in the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life of embracing the human bond as the most powerful tool in creating dialogue that moves people towards alternative solutions to those being framed for us by political agendas and exploitation of religious interpretation.

With “My So-Called Enemy,” Lisa compassionately enters the worlds and realities of young women whose lives are deeply affected by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Bringing her perceptive and expansive lens to the impassioned and often painful sentiments which are expressed, as well as the growing understandings and relationships which form as these Israeli and Palestinian young women really listen to and share with each other, we find ourselves opening our hearts and minds to new possibilities, thinking differently about the potential limitations imposed by narratives, identities and labels. Lisa invites us to bring our full selves to the table, and no matter how difficult, to keep on talking … and listening.
– Elizaveta Lozovaya, College Chaplain and Advisor to the Muslim Community; Amelia Ender, College Chaplain and Advisor to the Jewish Community; Mount Holyoke College

Lisa – Thank you for so much for your heartwarming and amazing movie and for giving our UN International School community such a gift. Although our school teaches our kids to be peacemakers, Queens, NY is so far-removed from what is happening on in so many parts of the world. Your movie and your presence last night brought it back to reality for us – that WE have to be part of the change (like the quote from Gandhi that the girls wrote on the wall) and we need to be part of the conversation. I know so many of our parents and friends were deeply moved and touched by your film. I have no doubt that all of them will carry your film and its message in our thoughts and hearts forever. I just pray that we all continue to remember that feeling and to do something about it.
- Yvonne Tsang, President Parents’ Association, United Nations International School, Queens (NY)

I loved the film! I plan to show “My So-Called Enemy” in my History of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict course next semester. My students often complain that my courses are depressing. Showing “My So-Called Enemy” will teach my students that something more than war and hatred is possible, and the power to make that change starts one-on-one!
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Elyse Semerdjian, Associate Professor Islamic World/Middle Eastern History, Whitman College (Walla Walla, WA)

On Wednesday, my Philosophy of Peace and Nonviolent Action class and I attended the screening of the award winning film, “My So-Called Enemy” at our college. I believe the film has great pedagogical potential across many disciplines, and I want to make you aware that SRJC Media Services has acquired a copy of the film for use in our classrooms.

…The conflict in that region provides a backdrop for the film, but the primary focus of the film is the transformative and re-humanizing power of compassionate listening and the forging of personal connections between people who are, due to their circumstances, supposed to see each “other” as enemies. The film is not at all a “message” film though;  it is remarkably non-ideological and makes no attempt to simplify the complicated or offer easy solutions to the seemingly intractable difficulties faced by the subjects of the film. It is a personal and sometimes painfully intimate portrait of the deep psychological complexities young people encounter when faced with historic social conflict in their personal and public lives. Triumphs of friendship in apparently impossible circumstances, heartbreak and frustration with the terrible costs of conflict, and the gradual coming of age of each of the participants in the film are all addressed beautifully.

The subject matter of “My So-Called Enemy” is, in my estimation, applicable to so many of the conflicts our students likely face (or will face) in their lives. Whether the issue is immigration, economic class, race, religion, etc, there are numerous touch points in the film that will likely speak to the personal experiences and challenges our students struggle with and so provide a valuable starting point for important dialogue.
- Sean Martin, Professor of Philosophy, Santa Rosa Junior College (CA)

It was such a pleasure to have you on campus with “My So-Called Enemy” this week! I’ve been getting nothing but raves about your visit. Thank you for sharing your incredible energy and generosity and creativity with the students and faculty. The professors whose classes you visited were absolutely enthusiastic about what a wonderful perspective and level of awareness you brought to the students, and several are still getting emails from students thanking them for the visit. I read five or six papers by students of mine who saw the movie. All began with something like, “I didn’t really know anything about the situation there” and all were painfully struck by the emotional cost of living in a war, something they had clearly not thought about before. I am so grateful to you.
- Ann Murphy, Director, Peace and Conflict Studies Program, Assumption College (Worcester, MA)

Lisa Gossels was a wonderful campus guest and the “My So-Called Enemy” screening was a huge success. Lisa is able to connect with students, faculty, staff, and community members and did so in formal venues as well as in informal settings. (In five classroom visits and two meals with students and faculty.) The documentary engaged both young and old and lent itself to a lively discussion following the screening. I was very impressed by the diversity of the audience and the number of people who stayed for a follow-up discussion. I highly recommend “My So-Called Enemy” as an entertaining and educational piece that is engaging and provocative.
- Mayo Bulloch, Director, Educational Enhancement Programs, Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH)

I first saw Lisa Gossels’ remarkable film at Upstate Films in Rhinebeck, NY. I was captivated from the very first frame of this beautifully articulated piece about six young girls from two very different cultures struggling to remain true to themselves, their family and their country. “My So-Called Enemy” is a moving, frustrating, enlightening film. Ms. Gossels has a unique ability to connect with her audience on an emotional, intellectual and spiritual level.
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Dean Goldberg, Assistant Professor, Communication Arts, Mount Saint Mary College (Newburgh, NY)

Lisa – I can’t thank you enough for what you provided our students. I have attended and put on several events but I have never seen a presenter that could not only provide relevance, but you reached the souls of so many. It was comforting and exciting to see the students reaching out to you as they did. I hope that, like the ripples flowing out from a pebble dropped in a pond, these students will take the love that you shared and give it openly to all they encounter. Through our compassion and empathy we will make the world a better place, regardless of the hatefulness that surrounds us. As Martin Luther King said, only love can conquer hate. Again, thank you for sharing your time and your being with us.
– Raymond Shaw, Diversity Committee, Mount San Jacinto College

“My So-Called Enemy” is a rare film about Palestinian-Israeli coexistence that goes far beyond documenting a one-time encounter at a peace camp; rather, it follows six of its compelling subjects for seven years to reveal the way the young women’s attitudes and relationships are tested as they mature and as the conflict deepens. These complex, articulate young women not only change one another’s views about what it takes to live side-by-side in peace; through this remarkable and touching film, they teach us something profound as well.
- Bruce Berkowitz, Program Coordinator, Associated Student Productions, Sonoma State University

I’m a college professor, so not only do I teach a lot, I also think about teaching. I’m aware that there’s an old model of teaching, transmission, in which the figure of authority (me, say) transmits information and expertise to receivers (the students) who then repeat that information and reproduce me and my way of thinking in the world. Now that’s flattering, but it’s not helpful. And there’s a model of documentary, also old, but still very active, which transmits information, and asks the viewer to reproduce it. Gossels does something very different, something that represents the best models of teaching. She sets up an environment in which it is possible not only to have answers, but, far more crucial and far more difficult, to help the viewer learn how to ask the tough and necessary questions. In “My So-Called Enemy” there are no answers, but I hope you agree that, by the end of it, we are far better equipped to ask better questions. These questions are not stuck at their geographical site, either. I can imagine how helpful this film would be in the US dealing with race and class divides that seem to us now so insurmountable. As you will see, the young women in “My So-Called Enemy” work extraordinarily hard to maintain their ethical stances, and in that I think they are a model for anyone, anywhere.

Gossels and “My So-Called Enemy” are a powerful example of the difference between knowing one’s history—which is important to moving forward—and being confined to and beholden to one’s history—which makes moving forward impossible.  It is true of mind, true of heart, clear-eyed and optimistic.  It’s also great documentary filmmaking.
- Alexandra Keller, Associate Professor of Film Studies and  Director, Film Studies Program, Smith College

One of the things that makes both “My So-Called Enemy” and Ms. Gossels as a speaker so valuable to our community at PSU Harrisburg is the approachability of the material, because the film deals with challenging issues through the experience of individuals. The film generated provocative comments and questions, and Lisa responded in a manner that both engaged and informed.

Lisa was also invited to share her experiences as a filmmaker and activist with students in an open and informal setting. She responded to questions that encompassed technical and aesthetic filmmaking issues, fundraising, organizing the story, and communicating with an audience. The students were clearly engaged with her presentation and comfortable with her communication style. They asked questions freely and Ms. Gossels responded with thoughtfulness and candor. As the organizer and professor on record, I appreciated her respectfulness towards my student’s questions and comments, and was struck by her ability to respond to each question so personally.
- Catherine Rios, Associate Professor, Humanities and Communications, Communications Program Coordinator, Penn State Harrisburg

Lisa, what a splendid evening we all had last night at Anshe Emeth. I thank you so very much for being with us and for sharing your precious film with us. I have been getting lots of compliments from many quarters. The girls had to have complete trust in you to be able to take the risks that they did. Of that, I have no doubt! Keep doing the very special and wonderful work that you are doing. Be sure to stay in touch with me as you move forward. And thanks again for your special kindness to me and all of us at Anshe Emeth.
Rabbi Bennett Miller, Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple (New Brunswick, NJ)

On behalf of the Reaching Across Faith Boundaries Task Force and Temple Beth Shalom, I want to express my deep appreciation for your efforts in making this weekend’s movie and subsequent discussion such a success for the 150 attended.  I have received a steady stream of positive feedback about the movie, the event in general and your special passion and insights in particular. Having you there in person added so much. Thank you so much for being there with us, for your vision, for your wonderful work and just for being you.
- Bob Lurie, Organizer, Temple Beth Shalom (Needham, MA)

I love using “My So-Called Enemy” in my class.  There is no better way for young adults to come to an understanding of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, or any conflict, than to see it through the eyes of someone their own age.  We need this generation to come together and learn to genuinely listen, rather than spar off with one another.  Lisa Gossels’ film shows students that they can still listen to and understand other perspectives without surrendering their individuality.  I think every high school and college student should see this enlightening and thought-provoking documentary.
- Ken Emery, Social Science Teacher – Global Perspectives and World History, Maria Carrillo High School, Amnesty International Club Advisor (Santa Rosa, CA)

This past Friday, students from a variety of Arlington High School courses had a chance to view a powerful film called “My So-Called Enemy” and to discuss the film with the director, Lisa Gossels who won an Emmy award in 2001 for her film “The Children of Chabannes.” Students who attended the entire program Friday morning had the opportunity to meet the director after the presentation of the film to discuss the powerful messages of collaboration, conflict resolution and tolerance that the film delivers. The effort was so worth it! Lisa’s exchange with a few students at the very end was priceless. I want to thank everyone for understanding the importance and relevance of these kinds of co-curricular opportunities.
- Dave Ardito, Interim K-12 Director of Visual Art, Arlington (MA) Public Schools

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