Top U.S. University Presidents and Chancellors Visit Israel and Explore Areas for Academic Collaboration

June 20th, 2016

U.S.: Myra Clark-Siegel,
Israel: Avital Leibovich,

Top U.S. University Presidents and Chancellors Visit Israel and Explore Areas for Academic Collaboration
11th Annual AJC Project Interchange Seminar for University Leaders

June 20, 2016 – (Jerusalem, Israel) – A delegation of presidents and chancellors from top U.S. universities and colleges recently travelled to Israel with AJC Project Interchange (PI), (American Jewish Committee), to learn about Israeli innovation and discover opportunities for bilateral academic partnerships. Participants met one-on-one with their counterparts from Israeli universities, including the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, Hebrew University, and IDC Herzliya to discuss areas of mutual interest.

“This seminar was a rare opportunity to explore academic collaboration on a global level,” said University of California President Janet Napolitano, who chaired the seminar and was actively involved in the recruitment of participants. “The meetings among worldwide educational leaders furthered the exchange of cross-cultural ideas on innovation and learning and have established a foundation for additional collaboration down the road with Israel partners.”

Campuses represented included Claremont McKenna College, George Washington University, Oberlin College, Occidental College, Saint Louis University, Syracuse University, and the University of California.

Along with meeting their Israeli counterparts, participants were exposed to an array of complex issues facing Israel and the region through sessions with renowned experts and site visits throughout Israel. Discussions with Israeli government officials, academic and civil society leaders focused on Israel’s high-tech and entrepreneurship landscape, security challenges, diversity in Israeli society, programs for Israeli-Palestinian cooperation, the peace process, and Israel’s approach to global humanitarian aid.

The delegation also visited Ramallah in the West Bank and met with Palestinian experts on Palestinian society, innovation and entrepreneurship.

“We were delighted to host this delegation of elite American university presidents and chancellors led by President Napolitano,” said Robin Levenston, Project Interchange Executive Director. “AJC Project Interchange aims to provide a platform to open up dialogues for mutually beneficial partnerships and collaborations in the future.”

This delegation marked the 11th annual PI seminar for university presidents. Past seminars have resulted in innovative partnerships, including the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute and the Miami-Dade College-Tel Aviv University MOU.

The delegation included Presidents and Chancellors from:

  • University of California, widely regarded as one of the top university systems in the world with ten campuses, more than 250,000 students and 21,000 faculty members, and 1.6 million alumni;
  • Claremont McKenna College, ranks as the ninth best liberal arts college by U.S. News & World Report;
  • George Washington University, the Elliott School of International Affairs is recognized among the top ten international affairs programs in the U.S.;
  • Oberlin College, named by Forbes as the best college in Ohio;
  • Occidental College, selected as a community engagement institution by the Carnegie Foundation, becoming one of a handful of liberal arts colleges to be so designated for its commitment to collaboration with the community;
  • Saint Louis University, known for its top rated (#1) health law graduate program and its top ten rated (#7) entrepreneurship and international business undergraduate programs;
  • Syracuse University, recognized by U.S. News & World Report as the top graduate school for public affairs.
  • AJC Project Interchange
    For nearly 35 years, Project Interchange, a nonprofit educational institute of AJC (American Jewish Committee) has brought over 6,000 influential figures to Israel from 90+ countries and all 50 U.S. states, offering them broad exposure and firsthand understanding of the complex issues facing Israel and the region. For more, visit