For Log Lunch this week, Hannah Goldstein ’20 introduced the Dialogue Project by the Arava Institute, a school in the Southern Arava Valley of Israel. She had studied there for a semester and she started the talk by sharing with everyone what a transformative and incredible experience she had during her time abroad. Sarah Braverman, the Institute’s “University Coordinator,” was there to represent the Institute and she described it as a “environmental peacebuilding institute” that focuses on solving environmental issues in an interdisciplinary, cooperative, and inclusive way. Every semester, the Institute reflects the transnational nature of the program by ensuring that 1/3 of students are Arab (Palestinians, Palestinian Citizens of Israel, and Jordanians), 1/3 are international, and 1/3 are Israeli. The Arava Institute is integrated in a Kibbutz where all resources are shared by the community members. Students also go on field seminars to explore the sociopolitical and ecological environment. Sarah described a second, post-grad program by the Arava Institute where research interns can work on projects in sustainable agriculture, political engagement, renewable energy, and transboundary water management. The Institute also hosts a unique Track II peacebuilding program, bringing together technocrats from Israel, Palestine, and Jordan to solve local and pressing environmental problems. As part of the Dialogue Project, the Arava Institute invites both an Israeli and a Palestinian alumn to the US in order to talk about the importance of environmental cooperation. Sarah had Shira Fisch from Israel and Mohammed Jarad from Tulkaren, Palestine with her at Log Lunch and they ended the talk by sharing their stories at Arava. Their stories left students chuckling and inspired.
Here’s the webpage for the Dialogue Project tour: https://arava.org/dialogueproject/
By Cristina Mancilla ’20