SPECIAL FOR THE AJT //
A delegation of presidents and chancellors from top U.S. universities, including Kennesaw State University President Daniel Papp traveled to Israel on June 30 for a week-long exploration of opportunities for bilateral academic partnerships and collaboration through an educational seminar conducted by Project Interchange, an institute of AJC (American Jewish Committee).
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The delegation is visiting Israeli universities such as Tel Aviv University, the Technion and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, for a series of meetings on relevant areas including brain science, environmental sustainability, biotech, diversity and women’s leadership. The group has learned about state-of-the art research initiatives and ground-breaking innovation in the Jewish State as well as unique academia-to-industry technology transfer that has contributed to a reputation as the “Start-Up Nation.”
The seminar was designed by Project Interchange in consultation with the participating university presidents and chancellors and has offered broad exposure to the complex issues facing Israel and the region. The delegation met with senior government, academic and civil society leaders across the Israeli social and political spectrum and traveled to the West Bank to meet with Palestinian leaders.
“We are tremendously pleased to host this impressive delegation of American university leaders for their first of hopefully many trips to Israel,” said Project Interchange Executive Director Sam Witkin prior to the group’s departure. “The world-class research and educational facilities at Israeli universities and colleges, a number of which [have been] visited during the program, provide a fitting setting for great minds to share information, discuss research partnerships, and explore opportunities for mutually-beneficial cooperation. Israel’s world-class research and educational innovation attests to its role as a global player.”
The program marks Project Interchange’s seventh-annual flagship seminar for university presidents. Previous Project Interchange seminars for university presidents have resulted in numerous instances of collaboration between participant universities and their Israeli counterparts; for example, the joint Cornell-Technion technology/science campus, in part a result of a PI seminar chaired by Cornell President David Skorton in 2010, broke ground on New York’s Roosevelt Island in 2012 and launched its first beta class.
Also, following his seminar in 2012, Louis Agnese, president of the University of the Incarnate Word, returned to Israel in February 2013 to consult and collaborate with the Sackler School of Medicine in order to create a medical school at UIW. And in March 2013, University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman, who co-chaired a PI seminar in 2008, signed a three-year, $1 million partnership with Ben Gurion University to develop renewable energy technology projects.
Project Interchange, a non-profit educational institute of AJC (American Jewish Committee), develops and conducts educational seminars in Israel for current and emerging United States and international leaders. For more information and a full listing of this year’s participating university presidents, visit projectinterchange.org.