Dates: May 25 - June 1, 2015
A delegation of 20 law school students, encompassing students from Cornell, Columbia, Georgetown, Harvard and Yale, traveled to Israel with Project Interchange for a week of discussions with their Israeli counterparts and leading industry experts. This seminar, conducted during the last week of May, was sponsored by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and the Maimonides Fund.
While in Israel, the students met with some of Israel’s top attorneys and had in depth discussions about national security law, international law, law and technology and constitutional law. Sessions throughout the week provided these elite law students with the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of Israel’s legal framework, institutions and political structures, while making meaningful connections. Speakers included Daniel Reisner, Head of Public International Law, Defense and Homeland Security at Herzog, Fox and Neeman who discussed the reality of international law; George Deek, attorney and veteran of the Israeli Diplomatic Corps addressed how, as a Christian Israeli Arab, he decided to become a diplomat and represent Israel around the world; Barry Levenfeld, Senior Partner at Yigal Arnon & Co., spoke about the laws governing the “Start-Up Nation” phenomenon and how they are similar to US laws; and former Chief Justice Dorit Benisch, discussed her time on the Supreme Court.
The group was accompanied by Mark Yudof, former President of the University of California and PI alumnus. Mark played a critical advisory role in shaping the program content and met with the group in Israel.
The delegation left Israel with a more nuanced appreciation for Israel’s complexities, history and current successes and challenges. One participant remarked, “Israel moved from theoretical to tangible. I will think about the people I have met and the places I saw when I hear about Israel on the news.”
Photo Gallery: Law School Students - May 2015
A delegation of influential, Spanish-language Latino journalists from Miami, a hub to Latin America and the Latino community in the United States, visited Israel in April 2015 with Project Interchange, an educational institute of AJC (American Jewish Committee). This initiative was made possible through the leadership and support of AJC’s Latin American Task Force-Miami and was conducted in collaboration with AJC’s Belfer Institute for Latino and Latin American Affairs (BILLA).
Throughout their week in Israel, participants learned about Israeli media, politics, society and diversity, as well as the country’s technological innovation and the geopolitical challenges facing the region. Participants met with distinguished speakers and experts in their field. They met with members of the current government at the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament), learned about security concerns from the North to South, and met both Arab Israelis and Palestinians leaders.
The delegation also visited historic and religious locations of importance in the Galilee and Bethlehem, as well as an exceptionally impactful visit to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Museum, which many participants noted was “one of the more moving experiences of the seminar.” Another highlight was the delegation’s discussion with Henrique Cymerman, Middle East & International Affairs Expert, who spoke at great length about Israel’s strategic environment through the eyes of the media. Participants commented that “his knowledge of the Middle East and explanations were very helpful.”
Photo Gallery: Latino Media Leaders - April 2015
Dates: March 22 - 28, 2015
A delegation of 12 influential Miami entrepreneurs and leaders in the tech start-up community visited Israel in March 2015 with Project Interchange, an educational institute of AJC, to learn from the country’s thriving tech and innovation sector while sharing best practices and networking with their peers. The experience was supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Throughout their week in Israel, these entrepreneurs met with Israeli tech leaders and innovators, including Dr. Yossi Vardi, Vice President at Yalla.co.il, Professor Hossam Haick, Head of the Laboratory for Nanomaterial-Based Devices at the Technion (Israel’s Institute for Technology) and Riman Barakat, a prominent Palestinian entrepreneur. Specific highlights of the trip included a meeting with Enon Landenberg, founder of sFBI (small Factory Big Ideas), a session with Dr. Danny Gold, inventor of the Iron Dome and a panel with influential high-tech leaders (such as Roy Wiesrler, CEO Hutchison-Kinrot Company and Rim Younis, Co-Founder of Alfa-Omega Industry in Nazareth). Participants expanded their knowledge by gaining exposure to the highly diverse tech sector in Israel, which has helped fuel and sustains rapid economic growth in Israel. The best practices and strategies learned during the seminar will be valuable additions to the Miami tech landscape and economy.
Photo Gallery: Miami Entrepreneurs - March 2015
Dates: February 22 - 28, 2015
In February 2015, a pioneering delegation of American Latino film producers, writers, and stage actors visited Israel under the auspices of Project Interchange in cooperation with AJC’s Belfer Institute for Latino and Latin American Affairs (BILLA). During the program, participants learned about the Israel film and art industries and explored possible joint ventures with their Israeli counterparts.
Highlights throughout this week in Israel included meetings with leading directors and producers in Israel, such as Shira Geffen, a playwright, director, children’s author, and actress, Hagai Levi, film and television director, writer, editor, producer and critic, Ibtisam Mara’ana Menuhin, Arab film director and producer, and Dorit Inbar, General Manager of the Israeli New Foundation for Cinema and Television. Participants also broadened their knowledge of Israel by learning about Israel’s diverse society, complicated political system, its technology and entrepreneurial successes as a Start-Up Nation, and geostrategic challenges.
Photo Gallery: Latino Media & Entertainment Professionals - February 2015
Dates: December 28, 2014 - January 4, 2015
A delegation of 13 students from across the country traveled to Israel with PI over winter break to learn about Israel- its people, culture, and geostrategic dilemmas. All students were leaders in their campus media outlets- whether radio, TV, print, or online- from both private and public universities such as Duke University, Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Georgia, University of Pennsylvania, and Wellesley College.
Throughout the week, the delegation examined complex issues facing Israel and the region, specifically through the lens of the media. Read more »
The Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation Seminar in Israel for California Student Leaders - December 2014/January 2015
Dates: December 28, 2014 - January 4, 2015
Project Interchange gratefully acknowledges the generous support of The Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation, without whose support this seminar for California student leadership would not have been possible.
A select group of 12 student leaders traveled to Israel with PI over their winter break. The delegation included student government and club leaders from private and public universities across California, including Stanford University, University of California- Los Angeles, University of California - Berkeley, San Diego State University, and University of Southern California.
Only a few months after the summer 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, the delegation learned about complex geostrategic and political challenges facing Israel and the region. Participants also met with Israeli students, government officials, civic leaders, and journalists to learn more about Israel’s current societal and economic challenges and successes, its cultural and religious diversity, and its vibrant – sometimes challenging- democracy. Participants also visited the Old City of Jerusalem, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, the Tel Aviv Gay Center, and enjoyed ATV rides through the Judean desert. Read more »
Dates: December 14-18, 2014
In December, PI sponsored a delegation to Israel of American opinion leaders. It included a senior correspondent to The Daily Beast, an editor at the National Review, a national security analyst at FOX News, and the Vice President for Research and Analysis at the Center for Security Policy.
Throughout the week, high-level briefings and site visits gave participants a first-hand understanding of the geopolitical issues currently facing Israel and the region, such as threat of missiles from Gaza, danger of armed conflict with Hezbollah, and unstable border relations with Syria. Read more »
A delegation of presidents and chancellors from top U.S. universities visited Israel in June 2014 to explore opportunities for bilateral academic partnerships and collaboration. The delegation met with counterparts from Bar-Ilan University, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Technion (Israel’s Institute of Technology), Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University of Jerusalem and University of Haifa.
Throughout their week in Israel, the participants met with leaders across a wide array of industries, including areas relevant to their universities such as research, water and environmental sustainability, biotechnology, urbanization and diversity. The delegation arrived in Israel days after the bodies of three missing Israeli teenagers were found in the West Bank and delegates were particularly sensitive to the anxious feeling in the air and the anxiety the seminar speakers expressed.
Shabbat dinner and the cocktail were highlights of the trip as they provided a relaxed atmosphere where the presidents and chancellors could speak with Israelis in an informal manner, experience Israeli culture, and have fun. Participants also noted that the session with Dr. Tal Becker, Principal Deputy Legal Advisor to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was excellent in shedding light on Israel and the peace process.
In May 2014, a group of 16 Ivy League students from Brown University, Yale University, University of Pennsylvania, and Columbia University, traveled to Israel with AJC’s Project Interchange to gain a first-hand understanding of Israel, its successes and challenges, and its role in the wider Middle East. This was the PI’s first delegation of exclusively Ivy League students.
During the seminar, students heard from notable Israelis, Israeli-Arabs, and Palestinians on topics ranging from human rights in Israel, the Arab Israeli community, the integration of minorities, Palestinian society and politics to Israel and the peace process, emergency response through the power of community and the ultra-orthodox community. Students also appreciated the opportunity to visit Ramallah and meet with representatives of the Palestinian Authority. Additionally, the group was moved by its visit to Sderot, a town near the Gaza Strip which experiences regular rocket attacks and has built bomb shelters all over the city.
A delegation of provosts and deans from top U.S. universities visited Israel in January 2014 to explore opportunities for academic partnerships and collaboration.
Throughout the weeklong trip, participants met with administrative and academic leaders from Tel Aviv University (TAU) andthe Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The delegates met with high-ranking leaders of these universities to discuss technological innovations such as the flash drive, Internet Firewall, Skype and the Iron Dome, that were developed based upon research undertaken at TAU. A particular highlight of the seminar included a conversation with Itamar Rabinovich, Israel’s former Ambassador to the United States and President of the Israel Institute. Another noteworthy meeting held by the participants was with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah at his office in Ramallah.