I have taught environmental law several times at the Arava Institute. Teaching there is EXCITING and presents a challenge like no other, because of the diverse backgrounds and histories of the students. Without exception though, the students are engaged, and curious. They are there because they not only want to study cutting edge environmental issues, but also because they care most deeply about co-oexistence in the fragile Middle East. I am not aware of any place else in the world like the Arava Institute.
The Arava Institute's program provides a valuable prototype for Israelis and Arabs to coexist long term. There are too few safe places for people with shared priorities to build relationships, and share their individual perspectives. Having the bike ride experience last year to raise funds for the program, and assisting the US friends of the arava institute back home has been a wonderful experience. B'Shalom, Eric Metzman
During my time at the Arava Institute I was blessed with the opportunity to work and learn with brave individuals who in spite of their conflicting identities and narratives were committed to giving each other a chance and working together to combat the environmental issues that threaten our planet. The Arava Institute and the seemingly unlikely friendships that I made there give me hope that we can one day build peace and respect each other and Nature. A specific example? Looking around while building mud and straw benches and realizing that I was doing something constructive with people who otherwise might not have ever met someone from the "other side". Amazing.
the arava institute has changed my life and many others since it first opened its door to teach people about how the environment knows no borders and that we have to work together to keep our planet healthy. i have met many people from very different walks of life, countries, and religions that are now my friends. what an eye opening experience. I wish everyone could study there.
Working with the Arava Institute was a very multifaceted experience and I was very impressed with the efficiency and enthusiasm with which they are accomplishing their goals. Each of those facets is critical it its own right; together they combine to create global accomplishments which enhance life in the Middle East in many ways. Working with Arava I learned that education, conservation of resources, research into new environmental technologies and promotion of intercultural understanding ARE keys toward advancing the political problems in the region. On a fiscal note- I feel that it is important to say that the funds garnered through Arava's activities are well-spent. These people are not getting rich and the facilities are not palaces. The funds go to where they are needed most- for students, faculty, programming and research.
The mission of the Arava Institute and the effectiveness of its work give it great magnetism for me. I first learned about Arava through meeting an American rabbi who has taught there. We were at a conference on a completely different subject. His description of Arava was instantly compelling for me. The way it combines environmental education and peace-making in the Middle East relates strongly to my own career in other parts of the world. Natural systems recognize no political boundaries.
AIES provides a truly unique experience not only for those in the region but for students from all over the world.
Friends of the Arava Institute is adept at supporting and building the Institute through communication and cross-cultural connectivity. I am impressed that AIES continually builds on the tripartite mission of increasing scholarship, building networks based on peace and understanding and being a positive contributor to environmental awareness and conservation.
In Nov of 2008 I was fortunate enough to participate in in the Israel (Bike) Ride which is co-sponsored by the Institute. The ride itself was one of my lifetime highlights, never to be forgotten. But what I am writing about now was our overnight visit to the Arava Institute itself. Meeting the participating scholars and students convinced me that the important environmental work that is being done there is second in significance to the cross cultural relationships that are being formed there as well. I heartily recommend the Arava Institute for a Jewish Choice Award James Oser Philadelphia, PA, US
I have been voluntarily helping the Friends of the Arava Institute to promote the the Arava Institute by speaking of my experiences as a student in this amazing program