Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Directors Report July 10th-29th, 2011

My last blog before going on vacation for the month of August:

Last Week of Dickinson Summer Sustainability Program - The Dickinson College Summer Sustainability Program at the Arava Institute is in its last week. For the last 3 weeks   8 students and  Dickinson faculty member Dr Marcus Key have explored issues of sustainability in Israel , focusing mainly on the Southern Arava. The program has included  a range of lectures, workshops and local trips including  biodiversity of local sand dunes, earth science in the Arava,  tours and sessions on renewable energy initiatives in the region, an introduction to human ecology and archeology , sustainable agriculture., mud building , discussions and lectures on water management in the Middle East and discussion groups and role plays based on environmental justice and activism. 
Submitted by Cathie Granit 

Israeli Minister for Environmental Protection, Gilad Erdan, visited the Arava Institute

Minister for Environmental Protection, Gilad Erdan, visited the Arava Institute on July 26th.  The mnister came with his entire senior staff to visit the area, see the Samar Sand dunes under threat of mining for building purposes, the Sasgon Valley near Park Timna under threat of development, renewable energy projects in the area and to visit the Arava Institute.  The Minister was also accompanied by Hevel Eilot Regional Council Chair, Udi Gat.  After introductions, David Lehrer gave a brief overview of the Arava Institute highlighting the academic program, research programs and alumni activiies. The minister was especially interested in the cross border cooperative educational and research programs.  Minister Erdan said that he did not want this visit to be check off on a list of things to do but the visit should be followed up by cooperation between the Arava Institute and the Ministry for Environmental Protection. Both the staff of the the Ministry and the Arava Institute is charged with following up programs and ideas for further cooperation.  At the end of David's presentation, David gave his usual closing line:  "It is our vision a the Arava Institute, that some day, the Minister of the Environment from Israel, the Minister of the Environment from Palestine and the Minister of the Enviroment from Jordan will all be graduates of the Arava Institute and will be able to work together for a more sustainable and peaceful Middle East."  Minister Erdan just smiled.
Arava Alumane Manar Saria participates in Washington DC Program

A new program in Washington DC, founded by Paul Costello is the New Story Leadership Program. We had two Arava alumni participating in the first pilot group and now the Arava Institute partners with NSL by identifying excellent alumni to participate each year. Arava alumnae Manar Saria is participating in the second New Story Leadership Program. NSL sees that Stories matter. NSL says "Old stories of grievance, suspicion, and fear, recycled endlessly, have kept generations of Israelis and Palestinians from moving toward a future free of conflict. It’s now clear: without a new story, there will be no peace. Fortunately, young people throughout the region are increasingly grasping this truth. More and more of them are no longer willing to play a part in the dead-end story their elders have scripted for them. They want a voice in their own future." See what's been happening this summer – what Manar and the others on video on the site:
Submitted by Sharon Benheim

Across Borders:  Managing Transboundary Environmental Resources

From June 26th through July 24th, the Arava Institute, in partnership with Dickinson College, hosted a U.S. State Department funded program, “Across Borders: Managing Transboundary Environmental Resources in the Middle East.” The program, attended by 17 Americans from all sectors of environmental management, has participants attending lectures and site visits in Israel, Palestine, Jordan and Egypt. The program focused on transboundary water issues in and between these four countries. At the end of the program, participants completed group projects on environmental economic development, water conservation in Amman, the Red Sea-Dead Sea canal project and the prospect for transnational water management in Israel and Palestine.

In 2012, the program will bring young leaders from Israel, Palestine, Jordan and Egypt to the United States to learn about transboundary environmental issues in the Chesapeake Bay. Applications are currently being accepted:
The program is funded by the US State Department's Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs.
Submitted by Kristina Donnely

In keeping with the high standards of this blog, here is a little taste of student life at the AIES:

As you know our campus life team works tirelessly to address the needs of our campus community.  However, many people always wonder what the Program Associates (PA) are up to since they seem to come and go, from the office, through out the day.  Here is a sneak peak into what our two PAs from this past semester were up to.
Submitted by Josh Neirman
The next blog will appear in September.  Have a good summer

David Lehrer

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