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Called to Serve

An Arab-Israeli tennis star uses sports to build understanding


Fahoum Fahoum, who discovered tennis at age seven and became Israel’s first Arab top-ranked junior, believes that sports promotes communication. “Everyone speaks tennis,” says Fahoum, TC Assistant Director of Major Gifts and Corporate & Foundation Relations. “Sports creates what [TC conflict resolution theorist] Morton Deutsch calls positive interdependence, where ‘if you swim, I swim, and if you sink, I sink.’”

At a Hebrew-language Jewish school, Fahoum and his sister were the only Arab children. As an undergraduate at Connecticut’s Quinnipiac University, he promoted intercultural awareness and tolerance. Now a graduate student in Negotiation & Conflict Resolution at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies, Fahoum studied with Peter Coleman, Director of TC’s International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution, and aided the Center’s research.   

Fahoum speaks at college Hillel organizations and Jewish youth camps, where he is often the first Arab-Israeli his audiences have met. “They want to celebrate Israel, and I complete the puzzle so that they can celebrate it fully,” he says. “The words ‘Palestinian’ and ‘Israeli’ are often perceived as mutually exclusive, but I show you can embrace both.”

—Kat Stephens-Mothudi

Published Tuesday, Jul 12, 2016

Fahoum Fahoum
Fahoum Fahoum (Photograph: Deborah Feingold)