American Profs Attend JNF Israeli Faculty Fellowship Summer Institute

24 Partner in Academic Exchange Exploring History, Politics, Culture, and Economy in Israel

arava_JocelynIt’s not every day an American college professor gets to talk one-on-one with doctors working on a cure for Alzheimer’s, or to discuss video game designs with a Nobel Prize winner in mathematics, or to spend time in the room where history reports Jesus celebrated the Last Supper. However, those are only a few of the novel takeaways recently experienced by two dozen university academics on Jewish National Fund and Media Watch International’s Faculty Fellowship Summer Institute in Israel.

Twenty-four professors and five spouses spent 10 rigorous days traveling throughout Israel, meeting several Israeli professors in their disciplines with the same or similar research interests, all with the goal of developing collaborations, research projects, co-authoring articles, and establishing exchange programs with faculty and students. Speakers enlightened and educated the participants all about Israel, its history, the Holocaust, Israeli and Arab Women’s rights, R&D, and so much more. Throughout their visit, participants were exposed to culture, historical sites, the people and the way of life in Israel.

It’s not surprising to learn that since their return, professors have remarked that the Faculty Fellowship proved to be life changing for them. David Ruth, professor of Mathematics at the U.S. Naval Academy, remarks, “I have long believed that Israel is a special place. The people, places, and experiences on our trip confirmed that belief with overflow! Thank you to everyone, hosts and participants, for making this a journey of a lifetime.”

Sharon Tzour, founder and executive director of Media Watch International, adds, “The beauty of Faculty Fellowship is that the relationships made during the two-week program are transformational, leading to life-long partnerships between professors in the U.S. and Israel who are truly trying to help make the world a better place, inside and outside the classroom.”

Examples of academic working relationships include:

  • Faculty Fellowship 2015 colleagues Professor Andres Cibils, Animal and Range Sciences, New Mexico State University, and Dr. Marcelo Sternberg of Tel Aviv University who are researching the study of the effects of drought and livestock grazing on the Mediterranean ecosystems of Israel and hot deserts of the southwestern U.S.;
  • Professor Solveig Spjeldnes, Social and Public Health, Ohio University, and Dr. Esther Hertzog of Beit Bert College in Tel Aviv (Faculty Fellowship 2015) have partners to study women in poverty focusing on single mothers, including those in prison with poor health and abuse backgrounds, to develop strategies to assist them upon release;
  • Faculty Fellowship 2011 alumni Dr. Michael Goodman, Epidemiology, Emory University, and Dr. Keinan-Boker of Haifa University have worked together on a joint breast cancer research project. Dr. Keinan-Boker presented their first collaborative project, entitled “Trends in the Incidence of Female Breast Cancer in Jewish and Arab Women in Israel,” at the annual Living Beyond Breast Cancer conference in Atlanta, Georgia, and Dr. Keinan-Boker has since lectured at Emory University.

The Faculty Fellowship Summer Institute in Israel is a competitive academic fellowship that invites full-time university and college faculty members to apply to participate in a two-week Summer Fellowship in Israel. The program links scholars from diverse disciplines with their Israeli counterparts at major institutions for the purpose of initiating exchanges and collaborations. Participants meet with professionals and experts involved in government, industry, education, media, and other sectors to understand the many facets of Israel’s evolving national and international policies. Those who take part gain a deeper awareness of the many challenges faced by the country and the creativity, spirit, and ingenuity that Israelis bring to tackling these issues globally.

To learn more about the universities and professors that have taken part in the 2016 Faculty Fellowship Summer Institute in Israel and prior years’ or to register for the 2017 program, visit or contact Rene Reinhard at 212.879.9305 ext. 235.

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