While many believe that interventions with at-risk and disadvantaged teenagers have a low possibility of success, Chaim Peri, PhD, has put his deep and abiding faith in the power of human connections to work, providing a home environment to transform and heal teenagers from all over the world.
These youth, deprived of any base that can be called home and the deep security that it provides, find it in Yemin Orde Wingate Youth Village, a home and school environment outside of Haifa, Israel, serving more than 500 teenagers from around the world. Having suffered some form of trauma, including abandonment, separation and displacement, these teens find care, education, self-esteem, character building and leadership training, along with emphasis on Jewish and universal values, at Yemin Orde. For more than three decades, Peri’s guidance and leadership have touched the lives of hundreds of young people, many of whom have gone on to become leaders in their own right.
A lifelong advocate for the role of education in unlocking human potential, Peri outlined his educational philosophy, called “The Village Way,” in his book “Teenagers Educated the Village Way.” This philosophy offers a deeply sensitive approach to the needs of adolescent survivors of trauma and displacement. It is already embraced in 17 educational institutions in Israel through Yemin Orde Educational Initiatives, which Peri established in 2006, and provides the educational blueprint for inspiring a new generation.
His methods encourage teens to pursue their talents and goals and to take on leadership positions, volunteer their skills and rely on their Yemin Orde “family” when necessary. The Village is always open to its graduates and supports alumni during their period of military service and lifecycle events.
Peri is a recipient of multiple honors from Israel’s government, such as the Guardian of the Child Award and the Exemplary Educator Award. Additionally, he was honored to light a ceremonial torch during the official opening of the Independence Day celebration in Jerusalem.
Honorary Degree Citation
Teenagers who have survived trauma and displacement have a home and hope for the future as a result of the legacy you have built at Yemin Orde, your school and community in the hills over Boston’s sister city of Haifa. Your unique educational philosophy provides a lifelong foundation of character, values, educational attainment and leadership training that these teens can build on for a successful future. Your philosophy is being put into practice through Yemin Orde Educational Initiatives, broadening the impact of the successful techniques you have employed and inspiring a new generation of teachers and philanthropists. Yemin Orde’s “rhythm of life” principle, a concept that restores a normal routine to a child, including communal meals, daily school attendance and a sense of belonging, has been adopted in Rwanda to afford children the opportunity to grow into fully functioning adults.
At Brandeis, we believe that an undergraduate education may be for four years but you are a Brandeisian for life. Therefore, we salute your creation of a lifelong community for those who have been fortunate enough to call Yemin Orde their home. We are proud to award you our highest honor.