- Opening of the Spring Semester 2011 - On Tuesday, February 22nd, a group of 38 students, 4 Palestinians, 9 Jordanians, 13 Israelis, and 12 North Americans, arrived to Kibbutz Ketura and the Arava Institute. Before classes begin, the students have a few days of orientation. The first evening of orientation, the students and interns participated in some get to know you ice breakers and then the students were officially welcomed by the Arave Institute staff. The next morning all of the students walked over to Dr. Elaine Soloway’s experimental orchards where she explained that she’s growing trees from Morocco and Jordan to see how they adapt to the climate of the Arava and understand their medicinal value and other traits.. The students then had their first Peace Building and Environmental Leadership Seminar session with Michelle Shachar and Dr. Uri Gordon. Everyone had the opportunity to learn about one another through different activities. Later in the day, the students went on a hike followed by a Middle Eastern style gathering with the staff and faculty of the institute. On Thursday the students were taken on a regional trip. They went to Kibbutz Naot Smadar where they learned about the art center, saw wood working and got to learn about the construction of the building. The students also went to their organic winery and learned about organic agriculture and cheese production on the kibbutz. The students finished the day by taking a hike to Nachal Kasui pristine landscape above Ketura with sand dunes close to 100 feet high. The students frolicked in the sand for a half hour and then had a very nice lunch on the dunes. Friday was course registration day. Everything went smoothly for the students. In the evening some students went to Friday night Shabbat services and everyone came to a very nice meal in the kibbutz dining hall. On Shabbat about half of the students went on a beautiful Shabbat hike in the desert. On Sunday morning classes began. (Report provided by Josh Neiman)
- International Renewable Energy Youth Conference - Feb 20th - 22nd This year, the first International Renewable Energy Youth Conference Competition was held in the Hevel Eilot Region as part of a broad focus on renewable energy and spring board for regional development Thirty two youths participated in the conference: 2 from Jordan, 12 from abroad (France, Germany, Italy, Britain, India, Romania, Latvia, Croatia, Spain, Portugal, Hungary and Serbia) and 16 from Israel. The competition was about creative solutions for energy storage. Participants also toured sustainable projects in the region. The participants stayed at the Keren Kolot Guest House and had the opportunity to visit the Arava Institute, the Research and Visitors Park and hear a lecture from Dr. Tareq Abu Hamed, head of the Arava Institute Center for Renewable Energy. The competition winners created a "fly wheel renewable energy storage system. The atmosphere of the conference was interesting and exciting and introduced the participants to life in the Arava.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Director's Report - Month of February 2011
I apologize to all blog fans but the month of February overwhelmed me with travel and conferences such that I was not able to keep the blog updated. I will try to fill in the month of February and then hopefully get back to a routine of updating at least every two weeks.