AJC Project Interchange, in coordination with AJC’s Asia Pacific Institute (API), hosted a delegation of nine Chinese academic leaders in Israel for a week of experiential learning and knowledge-sharing. The participants represented a diverse group of universities and think tanks from large cities and small towns all throughout China. During their week in Israel, the delegation engaged in briefings with high-level Jewish and Arab-Israeli leaders and officials, and met with top Israeli scholars on the Middle East and Asian Studies programs from Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University, and Haifa University. Meetings with speakers who represented start-ups in the Arab-Israeli and Jewish sectors and with prominent journalists were also on the schedule. The group visited the Einstein Archive, Israel Museum, Shrine of the Book and Yad Vashem Memorial Museum, which provided them with an orientation to Israeli culture and history.
Photo Gallery: Chinese Academic Leaders — August 2016
Project Interchange, in coordination with the Israeli Mission to the UN, hosted its largest seminar in Israel of UN Ambassadors, which included eleven ambassadors representing a diverse array of countries. Despite being the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel routinely faces harsh criticism and condemnation at the United Nations. Throughout their week in Israel, UN Ambassadors were provided with a deeper understanding of the geopolitical and security challenges facing Israel, Israel’s perspective on foreign policy, and the diversity and richness of Israeli society. Visits to sites around the country demonstrated Israel’s role as a world leader in innovations with global impact and its progress as a multi-faceted nation. Additionally, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, who recently became the first Israeli to head a permanent committee in the UN, attended many of the sessions with the delegation. The ambassadors engaged in high-level briefings with Israeli officials, such as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein, and Ambassador Dore Gold, Director General at Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Additional private meetings took place on topics specific to the United Nations 2030 Global Agenda including: special needs, gender equality and women’s empowerment, and food security. The delegation traversed much of Israel, including the Northern border and Southern region, and conducted meetings with leaders in the Palestinian Authority.
AJC Project Interchange, in collaboration with AJC’s Arthur and Rochelle Belfer Institute for Latino and Latin American Affairs (BILLA) and the Jewish community of Uruguay, hosted its first seminar in Israel comprised of senators, congressmen, and other top political leaders from Uruguay. The strong relationship between Israel and Uruguay began when Uruguay became the first country in South America to officially recognize Israel and opened the first Israeli Embassy in Latin America in November 1948. This seminar included high-level briefings with members of Knesset (Israel’s Parliament) and government officials, such as Yuval Steinitz, Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water, along with site visits throughout Israel, provided participants with first-hand understanding of the geopolitical difficulties facing Israel and the region, an overview of Israel’s strategic environment and the diversity and richness of Israeli society. Also on the agenda were meetings with the Palestinian leaders who provided additional insight into life in the Palestinian Authority and the complexities of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. Sessions of special interest to Uruguayan leaders included: Israel’s approaches to water reclamation and management, innovations in agriculture, challenges facing secondary educational systems, and Israel’s prison system and approaches to reducing recidivism. Speakers also discussed Arab-Jewish coexistence efforts, human rights, and Israel’s legal system.
This seminar was made possible through the generous support of the Paul and Balbina Schifter Memorial fund.
Photo Gallery: Uruguayan Political Leaders — July 2016
In coordination with AJC’s Transatlantic Institute, AJC Project Interchange hosted a delegation of European diplomats and advisors to MEPs (Members of European Parliament) from Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Germany, Hungary, Romania, Slovak Republic and Spain in Israel. Through site visits and meetings with Israeli and Palestinian officials and experts in foreign policy and security issues, participants gained first-hand views of important issues they often face in their roles in the European Parliament and European Union. Private meetings and dinners with the participants’ counterparts in the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament) provided a platform for knowledge-sharing and relationship building. Sessions throughout the week also focused on Israeli-Palestinian coexistence initiatives, Israel’s geopolitical strategy and challenges, high-tech innovation in Israel, diversity in Israeli society, and humanitarian aid programs. Additionally, participants travelled to the Palestinian Authority and met with Palestinian officials and experts.
Photo Gallery: EU Officials — May 2016
AJC Project Interchange, in collaboration with AJC’s Asia Pacific Institute, brought a delegation of Indian opinion leaders to Israel for a week of educational learning. As the world’s largest democracy, and home to over 160 million Muslims, India’s influence in world affairs is ever-increasing. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1992, collaboration between India and Israel has soared in a variety of fields, such as defense, science, technology and water resources. This seminar allowed for journalists, politicians, policy analysts and entrepreneurs from India to deepen their understanding of Israel’s geostrategic concerns, and provided exposure to Israel’s political dynamism, ethnic and religious diversity, and its entrepreneurial expertise. Meetings included sessions with Members of Knesset (Israel’s Parliament), discussions about Israel’s high tech innovation, a tour of a water desalination plant, and visits to Israel’s Northern border and Southern district to discuss Israel’s geopolitical stance in the region. During the week participants also traveled to Ramallah in the Palestinian Authority and met with Palestinian experts to discuss society and politics.
Photo Gallery: Indian Opinion Leaders — May 2016
AJC Project Interchange, in coordination with the Arthur and Rochelle Belfer Institute for Latino and Latin American Affairs (BILLA), hosted its first delegation of Colombian media leaders for a week of educational briefings in Israel. Colombia is widely regarded as Israel’s most trusted ally in Latin America and the PI seminar developed for this elite group opened up dialogues and collaboration opportunities with Israeli counterparts. Participants met with high-level journalists, government officials and civic leaders from across Israeli society. Sessions throughout the week included discussions about Arab-Israeli society, security challenges in the region, Israel’s foreign policy, Palestinian society and the peace process, co-existence and humanitarian aid, advancements in technology (such as water desalination), and more. The delegation traversed much of Israel, including Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the Northern borders and the Southern region via helicopter, and also visited historic and religious sites of importance. As with all Project Interchange delegations, meetings and site visits occurred in the Palestinian Authority.
We thank the Klaff Family Foundation and the Jewish Federation of Colombia for their generous support of this delegation.
Photo Gallery: Colombian Media Leaders - April 2016
Project Interchange, in collaboration with the Arthur and Rochelle Belfer Institute of Latino and Latin American Affairs (BILLA), hosted a delegation of six Chilean Members of Congress and three prominent journalists in Israel. The seminar focused on Israeli foreign policy and domestic politics, Israel’s relationship with Chile and Latin America, regional dynamics, Palestinian society, the Israeli-Palestinian relationship, developments in high tech, and media reporting in the region. Sessions on the itinerary included high-level briefings with the participant’s counterparts in the Knesset (Parliament) from the Israel-Chile Parliament Friendship Group, and members of the diplomatic corps. The delegation traveled throughout Israel, including Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the Galilee, the Northern border and Southern region, and they also spent time in Ramallah and Bethlehem (within the Palestinian Authority) meeting with Palestinian leaders as well as Palestinian Authority Officials.
We thank the Klaff Family Foundation and the Comunidad Judia de Chile (Chilean Jewish Community) for their generous support of this delegation.
Photo Gallery: Chilean Politicians and Media Experts - March 2016
A delegation of 13 Rhodes Scholars from Australia, Germany, India, Kenya, the United Kingdom, and the United States traveled to Israel with AJC Project Interchange for a week of learning. The participants were all graduate students at Oxford University and were Rhodes Scholarship recipients, one of the world’s most prestigious international graduate scholarships. PI has a long history of developing educational seminars in Israel for Rhodes Scholars and this seminar marked the 13th such program for these elite graduate students. Sessions focused on Israel’s history, society, diversity, and strategic environment, the Israeli-Palestinian relationship, high tech in Israel, the media landscape, humanitarian aid, immigrant integration practices, and more. Meetings with Members of Knesset (Parliament), as well as academic elites and prominent journalists were also on the itinerary. Participants traversed much of Israel, and visited the Palestinian Authority for meetings and site visits.
Photo Gallery: Rhodes Scholars - March 2016
AJC Project Interchange, in cooperation with AJC’s Africa Institute, hosted in Israel its fourth delegation of African leaders, specifically focused on agriculture and renewable energy. Members of the delegation included highly accomplished CEOs and entrepreneurs from Ethiopia, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda. While Africa is rich in natural resources, there are important bilateral benefits to be realized through expanded exchange of agricultural technology between Israel and Africa. Studies have shown that advances in agriculture are an extremely effective driver of economic growth in developing economies as it reduces rural poverty, increases food security, and stimulates broad-based economic growth. Since Israel’s founding, the country’s agricultural sector has been tasked with maintaining high yields despite severe and chronic water shortages. For years, Africa has made remarkable advances through the integration of Israeli agricultural technology.
This seminar provided participants with opportunities to explore potential agricultural exchange and collaboration with Israeli counterparts, as well as learn about Israel’s accumulated experience and agrotechnological advances. Sessions with a diverse line-up of speakers also focused on Israel as the Start-Up Nation, Israel’s economy, and Israeli history, politics, society and regional dynamics. Visits to historical and religious sites allowed for an important counterpoint to one on one meetings connecting these important African business leaders with appropriate Israeli start-ups.
Photo Gallery: African Business Leaders - March 2016
In 2015 Israel and Germany celebrated a historic 50 years of diplomatic relations and in February, Project Interchange brought its 8th delegation of German leaders to Israel, coordinated in collaboration with AJC Berlin. As one of the major European countries accepting thousands of migrants, Germany, like many European nations, is struggling to adequately care for and integrate the enormous influx of refugees generated by the Syrian civil war and other conflicts. During this seminar, participants interacted with Israeli experts on immigration and integration, which provided an opportunity to share expertise developed through Israel’s own experience in absorbing immigrants from around the world. Participants also met with Israeli, Arab-Israeli, and Palestinian experts and political leaders. Briefings expanded awareness of Israel’s security environment, media landscape, and contributed to the sharing of best practices in areas such as counter-terrorism, humanitarian aid, and cyber security.
Photo Gallery: German Politicians and Journalists - February 2016