I first learned about the Arava Institute when I attended a talk by Rabbi Michael Cohen. I was immediately drawn to the Institute's vision and impressed with the work that that its students and members are doing to address environmental concerns in the region. But what is even more inspiring is Arava's commitment to bringing Palestinian, Jordanian, and Jewish students together to work on common problems. Here's to clean water for all!
In 2008 I participated in the Israel Ride, and visited the Arava Institute, a unique educational and research institution. I remember wanting to go as a student, stay and learn there. Through the Friends of the Arava Institute, I can keep that enthusiasm alive. Besides being people with a passion for the work of the Institute, they are committed to spreading the word, providing a forum the people and ideas of the Institute outside of Israel. Friends of the Arava Institute functions as a bridge between my life here in US and the work of the Institute halfway around the world.
I can not recall how I learned about the Arava Institute, but since the moment I heard about it, I knew I wanted to be part of it in one way or another. The idea of such an institution, devoted to environmental studies, existing in Israel is an achievement in itself. However, above all, I applaud the institution for the way in which they carry out their mission that "nature knows no boarders". Having the heads of the institution, the staff and the students be Israelis, Jordanians and Palestinians warms my heart. Coming together to work for a common goal is the way to go to bring the two nations closer to each other. This is holly work in so many levels.
Having heard testimonials from various students who had the opportunity to study at the Arava Institute I am pleased to write a positve review in favor of this Institution. From American Jewish students who had never interacted with Muslims before to a Palestinian from Gaza who told me recently that attending the Arava Institute changed his life completely - it is a "Great Non Profit". The staff and students are to be commended in their quest for peace in the Middle East.
When peace finally comes to the Israelis and Palestinians, it will be because of the unrelenting efforts of institutions like the Arava Institute. And the people responsible for fueling the energy and passion of the folks who run the institution are the dedicated members of the Friends Of The Arava Institute. They quietly and tirelessly work to make sure the visions of the leaders and students at the Institute have what they need to realize the dreams and goals so needed by the region and the world. The Institute not only works for and teaches peace, but also is dedicated to sustaining our environment locally, regionally, and globally. The Friends of The Arava institute rate a triple “A” PLUS in my book.
I visited the Arava Institute several times in my capacity as on-site coordinator for American college students in Israel. My first impression was "who would want to spend an extended period of time in such a distant, isolated place". As I learned about the program and met with the administrators and the students, I got the answer to my question. The Institute provides a creative, varied, meaningful setting for dealing with the most important elements of environmental awareness. Israelis, Palestinians, Jordanians, and students from around the world work together to find solutions to shared concerns. As one of my students reported to me, the Arava Institute changed her life in the most meaningful way. It is a cutting edge undertaking that I am proud to support.
An extremely well run ideological institute that has succeeded in bringing together hands on action along with ideological fervor making a true mark on Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian society
along with the many thing i have gotten during my studies at the arava institute, the things i value most are the wonderful friends i made. they made it possible for me to see the conflict from their eyes and opened their hearts to me and my story. these kind of personal connections, in my opinion, are the only way to break the wall and understand that the other is not that different. the arava istitute gives hope by bringing people from all over the world, people who want to change things for the better. thank you!
The American branch of the machon has done a great job keeping me engaged with the middle east. As a former student it was a great experience and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
The Arava Institute is involved in cutting edge research as well as in training a cadre of people who will be leading change in Israel and nearby countries. I learn something every time I read an Institute newsletter. It is inspiring to learn how the Institute is building bridges in the region.
I have followed Arava through our connection with Rabbi Michael Cohen. It is one of the most impressive ventures in Israel, combining a love of the land and a love of peace, with the prayer that Arabs and Jews can live together in the land in harmony.
The Institute represents something much more significant than simply an educational establishment. It was wonderful witnessing and experiencing a sense of togetherness with humans from both sides of the 'border' (whether that be within Israel or outside).
I've known of the Arava Institute's work for several years and it is the only organization that truly understands that environmental issues are not defined by maps or borders. Only by working together on a practical level, through EDUCATION, can Israelis and Palestinians work towards resolving environmental issues AND political issues. The many students I've met have been stellar and I applaud and support the work of the Arava Institute.
As an Arab and Jordanian student my main concern was to meet and introduce myself to another culture were i can find understanding to the peace process that been going around for years now but not clearly going as fast as i expected . so i decided to find a chance to help in this process not through politics but through the people themselves , but arava institute didnt cover that side only for me , as i learned that our similarities more than our differences and i also learned about environment , leadership, energy , and created a great and lovely friends from all over the world . its more than anyone expectations from one course , so i cant call it a course i can call it a life chance for developing my self , wishing you all the best in the future.
The efforts of the Arava Institute are inspiring! Methuselah is one of the most interesting projects in which they are involved (although likely not the most important). Nevertheless, the idea of restoring an ancient fruit is amazing.
Friends of the Arava Institute supports an incredibly visionary endeavor. Environmental research and education is needed everywhere, but perhaps noplace more than in the Middle East, where contention over scarce resources exacerbates all other regional tensions. On my visit to Israel several years ago, I participated in a hike/study session led by an Arava Institute educator, who integrated scientific insight, spiritual inspiration, and experiential education in a moving and effective way. I have followed their work, and support it, since that time, and have only grown more impressed with their international focus and their desire and ability to create dialogue and cooperation on important issues across national and ethnic borders. Highly recommended!
Volunteering at the Friends of the Arava Institute has changed the way I view the interplay between society and the environment. Gaining an appreciation for the caliber of the individuals, and the vision, behind the Institute has instilled in me a greater hope for the future. My lasting impression of interning at the Friends of The Arava Institute: the laughs I shared with students, co-workers and fellow interns.
i have friends who have worked for, and are related to this place. they have chosen it over other international options as it is one of if not the best place.
The students come to the Institute to learn, but it is the rest of us who have so much to learn from the students!
I attended the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies in 2005-2006 with funding from Fulbright. My experience was challenging and fun, and, academically-speaking, a great transition into interdisciplinary pedagogy. Socially, it is a unique experience considering it includes a sub-section of conflicting parties in the region and actively includes activities for dealing with those issues constructively. In addition, the kibbutz, and of course, the desert life, are a fantastic view into how communities can live meaningfully in the margins.
The Institute represents a unique model in using the environment as a tool in enhancing peace and building trust between people in the Middle East. The Institute has opened the scientific door for students from Jordan, Israel, and West Bank and Gaza to learn more about the common environmental problems facing the region and more importantly how to approach them in an integrated way. Additionally, the Institute has been providing excellent lessons that can be transferred to the other regions around that peace needs actions and practical measures to sustain. I highly appreciate the role of the Institute in protecting the environment and promoting peace between people and believe that a place like Arava Institute deserves all support to continue spreading the message of hope for the whole region.
The strongest learning for me was the to understand the extraordinary hurdles that the participants had to clear to pusue their ideals. With the threat of isolation from their own families and friends they pursued the participation in the programme. This gives me hope in the uture for the region. this programme is fostering the foundations of the stability in the region. The fabric of the leaders of the future is being interwoven. There is clarity that more will be achieved through cooperation and mutual respect in this complex political and enirnmental regional crossroads.
Almost not too new to Arava. They are performing in a very positive direction with its candidates. I'll strongly recommend their programs to friends and foes.
it's sawsan.b from Jordan, i was a student in the Arava Institute for the year 2006/07. i consider that year as one of my greatest years i ever had. living in Arava was such a great experience, i learned and gained a lot in the institute. in a place like that where u can find Jordanians, Palestinians, Americans & Europeans living together for at least 4 months, sharing everything in their daily life become as one family going over all the barriers (politics, religion,etc) and become friends for life. where they also learning from each other and about each others' believes, country, thoughts, etc, strengthen their friendships. it is consider as a unique place with all the students' differences that becoming shallow later, studying and concerning for one important thing, our environment, having the logo of "nature knows no borders", hence nothing will stop this massage that we all believe in, and will always work to protect our shared environment and improve it. i'm glad for being an alumna from Arava Institute, i do appreciate the time i spent there and everything i learned, Machon Arava did change things in me, and for sure it was for good.
I have enjoyed meeting Jews and Muslims who have come to the U.S. and shared experiences that they have had studying at the Arava Institute. Their environmental work - across Middle Eastern borders is amazing and opens lines of communication that are often closed, with little hope for reconciliation. The Arava Institute offers hope and initiative, that positively influences our world - in an area of our world which is very volatile.
My name is Elan Gerzon. I was originally born on a kibbutz in northern Israel, founded by my grandparents as refugees, and at a young age moved to the states. That being said, I have grown up exposed to several perspectives of cultures, often those cultures who seem to stay in conflict. But when I arrived back in Israel, to be a student at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, I actually learned that i knew very little about anything, regarding the history of the culture I come from, and that of those that so many Jews and Israelis regard as enemies, if not at the very least, strangers. I was forced to wrestled with the conundrum of having descended from a culture of refugees whose wounds reacted through creating another culture of refugees. I learned a great deal about the depth of my past, and no longer felt that the world of those "strangers," who identify themselves as either Arabs or as Palestinians, was as alienated from my life as before. I had to question a great deal of the education i was brought up with, while coming into an ever-deeper empathy and understanding of why the world may be the way it is today. My own Jewish identity has grown in such a sense that I could hardly imagine who I might have continued to become without the Arava Institute as a corner-stone in my own life's maturity. The lessons I learned regarding the inter-relationships between Israel and the Palestinian Authority's and the land they live on, have been invaluable. The questions raised as a student there always brought more questions than answers, which is quite an accomplishment. The connections and friendships I have with people of all ages from several otherwise conflicting backgrounds, are a rare occurence among young Israelis, let alone US. Americans. My work as a student with Dr. Elaine Solowey has ever since focused the rest of my life. The courses that the Arava Institute provides, and the intimate experience we cannot get away from so far south in the desert, gives every student a chance to find an intimate passion through so many inter-disciplinary fields of study, that their cohesion inevitably creates a kind of diversity, no other program in Israel, Jewish or otherwise, has yet even attempted, on such a scale. I am now and forever will be deeply indebted to all that the Arava Institute has taught me. Thank you Elan Gerzon AIES alumn 2004-05
Fantastic organization in the heart of Israel's Negev Desert, bringing together Palestinians and Jews to work on the environment. Common issues, different approaches. A bridge to peace, in the process.
The institute has been working, for over ten years, to do what is common sense - to recognize that environmental stress in the Eastern Mediterranean is a shared, and very serious issue. As a social scientist, I am interested in it as an organization that works hard to turn idealism into practice. When I was invited to do research on the institute and then to participate in some of the institute's regional research, I accepted. Often we study problems; this was a chance to study an ambitious project to make solutions. I later joined the advisory board because I was impressed by what I had learned. Both the environmental and the peacebuilding challenges in the region are immense. The institute is building relationships - between those who come as students and between regional experts and policy makers - to help those in the region work together on them.
My daughter studies in the institute for two terms in 2007-8. I have visited there few times. Its a wonderful and illuminating place. it has transformed her life as far as the environment is concern. The institute does a phenomenal work in developing relationship between Palestinians Jordanians and Israelis, a very valuable contribution to the area. In my opinion this place deserves a world recognition for its work in all its aspects.
I was a student at the Arava Institute for one semester, fall 2004. I thought it was a phenomenal place, engaged in very important work, with a wonderful culture and vision.
I visited the Institute on Kibbutz Ketura and participated in several programs. Their approach strikes me as one of the most organic, educational and experiential ways for the mix of students to deal with their political and life experience differences. The environmental issues they work on are critical to the future of the region.
My experience as a student at the Arava Institute last fall is truly indescribable. The interactions, conversations, courses, and friendships completely altered my vision of the world. I have never felt so many complex emotions in my life, let alone have the opportunity to discuss them and unwrap them with a group of devoted and caring individuals working at AIES. My experience has inspired me to continue interfaith, peace and environmental work in my own locale, and not to judge a country or situation until I have truly heard the many voices involved.
I was a student at the Arava Institute in the Spring of 2003 and Fall of 2004. It was a life changining experience that truely affected my life, and still does, on so many different levels. I have many friends from various backgrounds that I will have never considered possible before. The Arava Institute did not only help on a personal level, they also provided me with all the help possible to continue my graduate studies, and used all their resouces to help provide me with the best experience, and a well-rounded interaciton. It is a great place to grow to be a human and to get in touch with life.
I was a student at the Arava Institute in fall 2004 and spring 2005. The Institute is clearly groundbreaking, inspirational, significant, and successful. One of the many ways in which the Institute impacted me was by seeing the work ethic of the staff and professors. One cannot find such a high level of professors being so accessible at other institutions. Their work ethic is something I have tried to take with me as I move forward. Lastly, whether or not you think that co-existence is attainable on a macro-level, it is unequivocally necessary to have organizations like AIES try and succeed on a micro-level, and they should be supported.
Joining the Arava Institute was one of the most amazing experiences I ever had during the spring of 2008. Arava Institute brings me to a different world where I can see how some people in the other side can be my friends at the time I used to pre consider them to be my enemies. A desert hike with two Jewish and one Muslim friends without fears or conflicts is one of the things that Arava gave me the opportunity to experience it.
in my town the alumni of the Arava Institute came to teach our community all about environmental issues. They were exciting and got us all excited about the issues. While they were teaching us we also got to hear what it was like for North American, Israeli Jewish and Arab, and Palestinian students to study and live together in a tiny community. How they learned so much about each other. Without exception they talked about how the program transformed them. Now there are three students in our community who are applying to go study there. Great work. G-d's work. Meaningful for the earth and us people who live on it.
Friends of Arava Institute have travelled all over to tell people of the wonderful work done in the Institute. They bring alumni and researchers to talk about their experiences and make it possible for people in North America to feel it! To meet face to face people who's lives have been touched by studying or working on environmental issues in a peacebuilding and collaborative way for the better of all the people.
I spent about a year at the arave institute about 10 years ago (1999-2000). This year has been, by far, the most memreable year of my life and I have made two dgrees since, got married and had a child... The arave institute has been a magical place for me. Getting up every morning was exciting, people were beutiful, and activities and studies were more than just interesting. i learned a lot in that year, about people and about nature and about our world and in many ways, the year at the arava institiute shaped who I am today. this place is important for so many reasons but if to name just one it would be the understanding of how full life could be when you are in the right place. I was a student there for one year and I must say I have become less optimistic since I left this place but it certainly fills you up with spirit and will to make the world a better place
This is a wonderful organization that makes dreams possible and empowers young people, environmentalists and activists to change the world in a positive way. By supporting the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, Friends of Arava Institute helps to make it possible for people to work together on their shared environmental concerns, learn more about each other and the complexity of the Middle East and ask better questions. Keep up the good work
I am glad to have the oportunity to thank the Arava Institute which gave my and my friends Israeli, Palestinians,Jordenians and Americans an outstanding oportunity to live together, to know each other beyond the existing prejudice, the ideal of the A.I.E.S consists a great vision of peace, I wish there where more places like this for our sake and for the sake of the next generations. this is a great cause
What a great way to break down cultural and religious barriers in the Middle East and benefit the environment at the same time. The Arava is unique in its mission and methods.
Israel needs this organization because it needs help in protecting its environment. The Friends of Arava is in the forefront of this worthy endeavor and deserves your support in safeguarding Israel's environment for future generations.
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.
As an alumni of the Arava Institute I would like to express how much this organization means to me and to all those it reaches. The Institute is committed to creating lasting change through knowledge, understanding, acceptance, dedication, passion, perseverance, and love.
I am a Palestine from Bethlehem city, and I live in the middle of the long conflict between Jews and Arabs. In February, 2008 I completed my studies at the Arava Institute (AIES), and I started the joint Master program between AIES and Ben-Gurion University. This unique institute, provide the students – Jews and Arabs- a peaceful environment, equal opportunities, and amazing tools and knowledge to understand the narrative of the other side, the need for a secure home, rights of existence and ways of cooperation to survive in this small land. It also provides us with good knowledge and methods of how we should cooperate to protect our shared environments, and a better chance for good education.
The Friends Of the Arava Institute keeps an idealistic, ambitious organization for young environmental leaders, and for cooperation across cultures and political divides, going. It supports students who don't have the financial means, it recruits new students, and it serves as an invaluable backbone for the Arava Institute.
I visited the Arava Institute on a number of occasions as my daughter was a student there. Everyone who comes into contact woth the people there comes away changed.
I had the opportunity to hear the executive director speak at a conference recently. The Institute is clearly breaking down stereotypes while making great advances within the enrironmental field.
I rode with the Arava last year. Myfirst long distance ride. The commraderie was great, and the enthusiam of the mult-ethnic support grtoup from Arava was contagious. I hope to repeat the trip next year. Ralph Rosenberg MD
The Arava Institute is an organization that really makes a difference for the environment and for peace and coexistence efforts in the Middle East. An inspiring and well-run organization!
Great way to travel and see the country from a totally different visual perspective, claiming the mountains out of the Dead Sea and riding through the dessert was a wonderful experience. The ride is not just about the bicycle but also about the many conservation challenges facing the region, The Arava Institute provided the riders with lasting long memories of a Israel spirituality, politics, environment, and its history
i have heard these young people speak and to learn from them the importance of contact between these two groups. their approach, their curriculum, the experiences they provide are unusual in this area of the world. we are blessed to have them at this time. they need, however, to extend their reach.
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
Not only did the Arava Institute shape my fundamental views of the Israeli Palestinian conflict toward coexistence and peace, but I met my wife there. Blanketed by the desert and open skies of the Arava Valley, AIES continues to expand young minds and I hope it always will.
This young organization is tackling environmental and mid east peace issues and making PROGRESS. Engaging participants in environmental education, cultural outreach and mid east neighborhood tolerance has sparked a grassroots sparkle of hope for the area and its future.
I know friends of the Arava through my experience in the Arava Institute for Envrioenmental Studies. The effort that they did to find funds for me and other Jordanian and Palestian students, as well as Israelis made it possible for me to come and study about the enviornment and peace in the middle east. This life changing experience made me what i am today, an activists in my community in environmental and peace issues. I am so thankfull for the effort and the work that both; the Arava Institute and Friends of the Arava did to make that happen.
In 2006 I visited the Arava Institute with a team of bikers from Israel, Jordan the US and other countries. I have since followed the development of the Institute as a leader in environmental studies and a rare gem of cooperation between Arab and Jewish youth. The accomplishment of their mission to provide solutions to mutual problems is vital to all those who hope for a peace in the middle east.
I haven't visited The Arava Institute, but I attended an event this summer and learned about it. I was very favorably impressed when I heard about the fantastic work they're doing. Two former students of the Institute, a Palestinian student and a Jewish student, spoke to us about their experiences. It was moving and wonderful. I hope the Institute's funding will increase so they'll be able to expand their work and bring more students.
I first learned of the Arava Institute when I read about a fundraising bicycle ride in The Jerusalem Post in 2005, I decided then to participate in future rides and have done so each year since 2006. Friends of The Arava Institute provides great backup for the Ride and the monthly newsletter keeps me updated on the happenings of the Arava Institute and its alumni.
What a fantastic organization. Not only does the Institute seek to make the world a better place through teaching and research in environmental issues but at the same time it facilitates intercultural dialogue in a supportive environment that is hard to find anywhere else.
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.
My experience with the Arava Institute has been extremely positive for the past two years that I have been involved--very professional and dedicated to the cause of peace, open-minded and evenhanded, in my long experience with non-profits, an extraordinary organization. I am proud to be associated with it. When I have spoken about the Institute in public meetings such as for Hadassah, people are always very impressed with its mission and its materials. When I hosted speakers from the organization at a colleague's home, all guests were impressed by the intelligence, sincerity and articulateness of the Institute's leaders.
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.
I have been a colleague of AIES since it began and currently am a student working on researching energy efficient buildings for extreme climates. Participating in the AIES program has given me opportunities to work together with world-citizens in our quest to address the critical environmental issues of today and tomorrow while acting as bridges of peace and cooperation between Israel, Palestine and Jordan. Thanks to all of the staff and all of the students who have made the AIES a foothold in a new and healthy path. B'Shalom, Salaam and Peace - Alex Cicelsky Center for Creative Ecology Kibbutz Lotan, Israel www.kibbutzlotan.com