I was a student at the Arava Institute in 2005. The semester I spent at the Institute was by far the most meaningful in my educational journey. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to live, study and travel with such and inspiring group of students from Israel, Jordan, and the US. The Arava brought us together with the shared goal of improving our environment and supported us as we worked though our sometimes painful differences. Where else can an Israeli jew dress up as Santa Claus to surprise a Jordanian Christian on X-Mas eve, or can a group of Americans guide Arab and Israeli friends through thanksgiving preparations? The unique blend of academics, activism, reflection, and celebration at the Arava Institute should serve as a model for organizations around the world working on peace-building and co-existence.
The overseas director of the Arava Institute came to speak to our community about its activities. Everyone was very impressed about the nature of the program, the challenges its participants meet and the far reaching impact their relationships will have on the environment, ecology, natural resources and yes, even peace between peoples.
Truly a remarkable organization that really influenced the lives of many people, in the goal for peace & healthy environment in the middle-east. As a student at the Arava Institute I received a many skills and friends that I wish to keep for a long time. They have my support!
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.
My association with the Friends of the Arava Institute has been quite gratifying. The Institute promotes environmental responsibility by cooperation among nations and people in an area of the world all too used to conflict. By aiding it, the Friends of the Arava Institute truly help to make the world a better place
The Arava Institue if fulfilling a unique function in promoting peace through environmentalism, especially as the prospects for peace grow dimmer with every passing month. Preserving the fragile ecology of Israel and its neighbors through scientific research is a goal that should be lauded and supported in any way possible.
My visit to the Arava gave me hope that maybe there is a chance for peace in the Middle East. I have expressed my enthusiasm to many people in the United States about the Arava.
Arava Institute is a leader in building real and genuine connections between people who would otherwise be in conflict, and does this in relation to extremely significant environmental issues.
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.
I was a student in the Arava Institute on 2006, this experience had a big impact on my life. It gave me an inspiring learning anvironment, with high level teachers, and amazing mix of students. after living in Israel for almost 30 years, The Arava institue allowed me to meet and relate to palestinians the first time in my life. Today, I'm involved in forming environmenal socical networks in Ireland, and started growing an organic market garden, I can proudly say that the Arava Institute helped me sow the seeds of my present life. I recomand this institute for anyone.
I was on the Jerusalem/Eilat ride many years ago - in 2004 - before I moved to Israel. I later lived in the Arava (though at a different Kibbutz) and remained friendly and in touch with the Institute and a number of its students. I feel that the work of the institute is invaluable - both in its political openness and in its inherent honesty. The belief that our environment is a shared issue regardless of politics and borders is ingenious - and the relationships the institute foments between students (and even outsiders, like myself, who just supported by riding for five days and raising money) are invaluable. I also feel that the institute has helped many of its students to move forward in their careers in ways they could not do beforehand due to racial politics in this ridiculously confused and beloved country. Kol haKavod on the great work!
I participated in the Arava ride from Jerusalem to Eilat in May, 2008. I had an opportunity to meet and talk with a number of the staff and students at the Institute (they crewed the ride). I was very impressed by their dedication. The Arava Institute is accomplishing two amazing goals simultaneously -- training students who will support environmental efforts in the next generation, and changing the mindset of their participants about getting along with "the other side"
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 was a student at the Arava Institute in 2006. I learned a tremendous amount and met phenomenal people. The Arava Institute provides hope to a region where many are hopeless, and gives people tools to move forward in peacebuilding and environmental conservation.
We became acquainted with the Arava Institute a year ago through our participation in their 2008 Fall Israeli Bike ride. it was a wonderful experience riding through Israel and visiting the Arava Institue and meeting the Israelis and Palestineans who work and learn together at the Institute. We were so impressed by this experience that we returned in the spring of 2009 for another bike ride and regret that family commitments keep us from attending the nov. 2009 ride. The dedication and professionalism of the individuals involved with the Arava Institute and the strides they are making with cooperation in working and dealing with their Arab neighbors deserve recognition. Many small steps to build understanding and to work for a common good to reclaim the land and make it more productive and produce a self sustaining way of life deserves to be commended.
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
The Arava Institute is one of the few programs in the world that blends idealism with pragmatism. How our earth allocates environmental resources for the current and future generations is so critical for the sustainability of life on Earth. And how mankind gets along is the genius to Arava. Arava is a microcosm of what our world can and should be. Possible adversaries and now allies in a challenge to sustain the environment for us and future generations. My bike ride through the Arava Valley in 2004 inspired me then and now to write these thoughts. We are indebted to the leaders of The Arava Institute; and so are the generations to come. I just can't say enough.
Hello .. greet you all.. peace on you, Salam Alikom and Shalom lakhem Peace and coexistence, love and tolerance, wisdom and truth, and a lot more I shared people from all over the world (Arabs, Muslims, Christians, Jews, and even those who have their own belief but they still have values and virtues about life). My experience in Arava Institute has been always the best I ever had, the most powerful, amazing, interesting,great, marvelous, creative, diverse with many aspects and more. I studied one academic year at Arava Institute that I will never forgot, I never felt I am at school as we were not learning, but we were sharing love, respect, understanding, preserving the environment, live in peace and create peace of mind. Arava in the middle of the Negev desert challenged so much difficulties to bring conflicting people from Israel, Palestine, Jordan,and form other countries to interact and share our thoughts to come up with the useful ways to say NO to wars, hate, and say YES to peace and tolerance. I believe that Arava deserves to be on the top among others for its great aspects and pure purposes. I will never forget the support Ii got from my teachers there who they always dedicate themselves to help us to learn how to invest environment protection to make peace with the other. No more to say, because I feel unable to express the best of Arava. Arava will always be the best to cultivate love and peace in the middle of the hot desert. by Laila Salameh-Jordan
In November of 2008 I participated on the Jerusalem to Eilat bike trip. An inspirational and spiritual event. This program is essential for not only environmental reasons but for the incredible work it does to spread understanding of cultural, religious and social differences in the Middle East and the world at large. If you know what this program is all about there is no question the vital work it does should be not only maintained but expanded. If you do not know what it does then I suggest, no I implore you to find out first hand by speaking with the students themselves. They hold the key to the future of us all. SSS
I began to learn about the Arava Institute when I signed up for the Spring 2008 Israel Bike Ride. By the end of the ride, I was sold. The ride was beautifully organized, with care and consideration for the riders' physical, psychological and spiritual health. And the opportunity to learn more about the work of the Arava Institute and meet their current and former students was awe-inspiring. This small organization is making an impact on the environment of many countries in the middle east, and is a model of cross-cultural collaboration. Their influence exceeds their size, and they use their limited resources wisely. Amy Goldman
I was fortunate enough to be present for Kibbutz Ketura's one year birthday celebration in 1974 when I was a volunteer there. I am so impressed and proud of "my chevre" for what they have accomplished and for their vision for the future of the region. I plan to introduce the Arava Institute to my local Jewish community.
I went to a house party in support of the Arava Institute a few weeks back, and I was inspired by the work of this organization. I've since joined a host committee for their next local fundraiser.
Jordanians, Palestinians, Israelis, Americans and other students attend Arava Institute of Environmental Studies for undergraduate and graduate work. They continue working on environmental situations common to Middle East regions and other parts of the world. As a serious environmentalist, I see their work as important to their communities, regions and other areas. Their water problems remind me of our water problems in Northern Calif. I am proud to be a supporter of this fantastic group where "Nature knows no Borders." In addition to water, agricultural and other environmental problems the Arava students and graduates work on, I see Palestinians and Israelis working together giving HOPE for the future and Peace in the Middle East.
Friends, whose opinions I highly respect, introduced me to Arava by inviting me to participate in the 2007 Israel Bike Ride. I then participated in the Bike Ride and through that experience met the faculty, alumni, and students of the Arava Institute as well as visited their campus in Israel.These series of interactions were one of the most inspiring experiences I have ever had.They have a sincere commitment to protect the environment and to inspire understanding among people. And they are SUCCESSFUL in achieving these goals
I am impressed with the Friends of the Arava Institute for their making it possible for Israeli and Palestinean students to study, learn and implement what they learn together in peaceful and amicable relationship. I am further impressed by their environmental studies that will have positive effects on countries around the world, especially the study to have clean water available to all. This will be difficult, but highly important.
I have chaired the Friends of the Arava Israel Ride since its inception seven years ago The Friends has been a fantastic sponsoring organization -- always ready to help when needed And the cause we support is so special - it makes the time I spend fly by
I was first introduced to the Arava Institute and the Friends of the Arava Institute last year as a participant of the Israel Ride. I was totally blown away by the work the Institute does in the middle east to create an environment of peaceful cooperation and dialogue between young Israeli's, Jordanians and Palestinians. Of course, the work they do to promote environmental education and progress is unsurpassed, and the main focus of the campus. Friends of the Arava Institute make this work possible, and I can't say enough positive things about it!
My name is Liza Shtromberg, and I was a student at the Arava Institute for two semesters, Fall 2007 ans Spring 2008. I was attracted to AIES because it's environmental aspect as well as the co-existence component. As an Israeli student, who lived for many years in the US, I always longed for an opportunity for personal interaction with Palestinians. The program offered me the combination of two things I am passionate about. I found the academic component very engaging and rich with content and opportunity for learning, as well as hands on participation in projects, and on the ground interaction with parties involved in the subjects we I studied. I really enjoyed making friends and dialoging with Palestinians, and feel privileged to have had this opportunity thank to AIES. I met Academics, peace activists on both Jewish and Arab sides and feel that at AIES people who are truly interested in working towards a peaceful solution of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict can find a forum and allies in this goal. I would highly recommend attending and supporting the Arava to anyone who is looking to be involved in something meaningful that is producing results, and contributing to a brighter future in the Middle East and the rest of the world.
An outstanding organization, where every penny donated does double duty: helping to protect the environment and advance the peace process in the Middle East. Worthy of everyone' support.
As alumni of the Arava Institute I can say that the Arava Institute is much more then an academic institute for environmental studies. This body not only give the opportunity to meet and engage in a grass root level with the 'other side' but also help with scholarship for higher studies, help graduates to find a job when possible and serve as an important network for alumni all over.
Every contact I've had with Rabbi Michael Cohen and Arava has been positive and heart-warming. The people they train are exceptional.
Brings people together with the goal of protecting all from the environmental disasters facing the area. Nature knows no boundaries.
I rode on the Israel Ride twice--in May, 2007 and in November, 2008. Each ride was fantastic--wonderful people leading the ride and riding the ride, the land is gorgeous, I learned a lot about the geographical area-- the desert, I had the opportunity to make friends from all over the world, Jews and Arabs alike, and shabbat in the Negev was a wonderfully spiritual experience.
I was a participant during a fund raising bike ride from Jerusalem to Eilat. This was co sponsored by Hazon, JNF and the Arava Institute. We had an opportunity to meet and dialogue with many past and present students doing environmental studies. We had an opportunity to view environmentally sustainting communities, utilizing many of the latest technological practices to ensure tikun olam. We were very impressed with the committment of all those we interacted with.
In my capacity as Director of Marketing for the Overseas Student program at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, I have had extensive contact and cooperation with many Jewish Non-Profit organizations and I must say that the goals, message and methods of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies is truly an inspirational leader in the areas most important too facing the challenges of the future of not only the Land itself, but if all the peoples who must learn to cooperate to insure a healthy future for generations to come. The integration of conflict resolution through solving environmental challenges is a brilliant and most relevant concept and should and must be supported in every way possible. AIES is an inspiration to those of us who see a larger picture for the future of the cooperation of diverse peoples respecting each other and the world they all occupy together.
The Arava Institute is building possibilities for coexistence centered around shared environmental challenges that Arabs and Jews in Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Territories actually share. It is in all of the parties' interests to figure out how to share the same bioregion. The Arava Institute successfully trains environmental activists in the Middle East in an incredibly inhospitable political reality, and the participants get to know each other in the process across barriers of religion and war. It is an absolutely remarkable achievement.
I have visited the Arava Institute of Environmental Studies, watched Jordanians work with computer analysis of watersheds, and listened to discussions in their classes on the topic of water use and sharing. This kind of cooperative learning leads to positive interactions as students from different worlds come to grips with other points of view. It leads to mutual understanding of the environmental problems they all face. I can't think of another way to address this cross-border challenge other than long-term study together. I think living with each other day to day as students do at the Arava Institute holds the most promise for the long term.
The Arava Institute for Environmental and Peace Studies (AIES) is taking groundbreaking strides in the areas that truly need the most attention and resources: the environment and peace. The two go hand in hand. I was a student at the Arava institute for one year. During this time I learned so much by being immersed in the carefully structured and diverse curriculum, including sitting with a group of internationally diverse students and engaging in discussions that address many difficult issues. For me, the joint projects and collaborations between Arab and Israeli graduates of the Institute is the 'proof in the pudding'.
I have been blown away by the amazing work the institute is doing. The students graduating from the institute speak with such passion about how they were transformed by their experience at the Arava Institute. This organization is addressing at least two of the most important issues of our time...the environment and peace in the middle east.
I participated in the Arava Institute Israel ride several years ago and my experience when from participating in a bike ride to raise money for what I understood to be a good cause to something far more profound. Once I met the students and faculty of the Arava Institute I discovered what I believe to be one of the greatest examples of coexistance between Israelis and Palestinians. The existance of this organization is one of the greatest beacons of peace that exists today in the middle east.
participated in a fund raiser visited the institute spoke with its leadership toured its groves met with multinational students AMAZING PLACE - THAT COULD HELP SAVE THE PLANT AND IM NOT KIDDING
Studying at the Arava Institute has taught me how to consider the world around me. I have learned how to listen compassionately, act on my compassion for the world, and teach others how to do the same.
Our son studied at the Arava Institute in 2001. When we visited we were amazed by an atmosphere where Jews, Muslims and Christians lived and studied together in an environment where everyone was entitled to their own opinion.What a wonderful model for co-existence. The motto says it all " Nature Knows NO Borders"
The Arava Institute makes a great contribution in each of its many realms: environment, higher education, international relations, multi-ethnic coexistence, and so on. Yet these contributions are greater than the sum of their parts because they all conjoin, and they model and demonstrate the interconnections among these areas: ecology and human rights, education and inter-ethnic understanding, people and planet. And all this incredible work is being done with fabulous people, each of whom goes on to be an educator and spokesperson and change agent in turn. Finally, all this incredible work of the Arava Institute is done in collaboration with and with the support of the Friends of the Arava Institute.
Last year we hosted two graduates from the Arava Institute - Ilana Meallem and Mutassim Abu El Hawa. They were amazing. You can see them interviewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LqExPvgI9HA We heard about their tremendous journey - and learned how these Arab and Jewish leaders are cooperating to solve the region’s environmental challenges. At the Arava Institute, 'nature knows no borders' is not just a slogan, it's a way of life. We encourage everyone who visits Israel from our community to visit the Arava Institute.
I am most impressed with the Arava InsitiuteÂ´s program because it helps improve the ecological environment of the middle east with regard to water issues while simultaneously bringing together IsraeliÂ´s and Arabs in constructive dialog that is both personal and ecologically oriented. I attended a meeting where I met the director of the program and heard two alumni of the program tell of their personal experiences.
What the Arava Institute is doing in Israel is incredible. I was so amazed when I heard several students and professors speak about building peace through focusing on the shared environment in the Middle East, when they spoke at Hazon's New York Jewish Environmental Bike Ride.
As a Muslim woman I have been working with the FAI for over 2 years and i am astounded that the reality of peace and co-existence between Jews and Muslims is being made in history through the Arava Institute. I commmend my colleagues and institute for such an extraordinary vision of peace.
Before I give you my musings, please listen to the personal story of Amer Sweiti. Amer was born and raised in Amman, Jordan where he earned his degree in Land and Water Management from the Hashemite University. Before joining the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies (AIES) in 2007 he worked as a Soil Mechanic and Civil Survey supervisor in Amman. He has now started his Master's degree at the Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva. Amer embodies the reason why I participate in this Ride. He is a committed environmentalist and an idealistic young man dedicated to the pursuit of peace and coexistence in the Middle East. In deciding to join an institute of higher learning in Israel, Amer had to overcome many practical barriers and strong opposition, even ostracism from his own family and friends, but decided to plow ahead because (in his own words)..."I do believe that what I'm doing is the best for the coming generation". At AIES a diverse student body from various Arab countries, Palestine, the US, Europe and Israel, have the opportunity to live together, study together, struggle together to grapple with the environmental --and unavoidably political-- issues facing the region and become close friends in the process. Amer's personal story is truly inspiring. He has gone back to Jordan since joining AIES and has managed to overcome the opposition of many of his former detractors. Not only that, he has succeeded in recruiting additional students for AIES. In youngsters like Amer and through the work of AIES, Israel is finding partners to create valuable and lasting human and professional links with Palestinian and Arab folks. The AIES' mantra of using the "tool" of environmental cooperation as a way of building bridges across political borders and furthering the cause of peace, is a tangible and resounding success. They need and deserve our help.
Arava Institute brings together all kinds of Middle Eastern people for one cause. Environmental concerns in the Middle East. Christians, Jews and Muslims working together to COEXIST :)for the good of all.
Friends of Arava funds excellent research; has an excellent leadership academy for both Arab and Jewish leaders; promotes ecology and a green economy.
I met David Weisberg when he spoke twice to the World Culture Club of Central Pennsylvania. He told us about the exiciting workof the Friends of the Arava Institute. We were greatly impressed by their fine work, both in creating a civil, harmonious working environment for people with different backgrounds, but also in furthering efforts to make the environment more hospitable and able to support a quality life for the growing populations. The Friends of the Arava Institute have made enormous contributions to peace, the environment and cultural understanding.
Rode on a charity bike ride with staff and students. Superior people, trying to do a difficult job in difficult times. The aims of the institute are high level: promoting environmental concerns in the Middle East, and encouraging Arab/Isreali cocoperation.
I went on the Israel Ride in November of last year, and got to experience first hand what the Arava Institute has to offer. In terms of education about the environment the Arava Institute is leading the way, in Israel and abroad, for new ways to look at our relationship to the environment. Moreover, the Arava Institute is revolutionizing the way we interact with others in order to make our environmental goals a reality. Right now I am studying the environment at Carnegie Mellon University, and hope one day to participate in one of the many programs the Arava Institute has to offer.
I am a Palestinian that studied for two semesters at the Arava Institute then worked with them as Arab student’s recruiter. My experience with the ARAVA Institute was a unique one. It gave me the opportunity to meet new people that some of them became my best friends. I became sincerely concerned and involved in the environmental protection. I learned how to conduct scientific research in addition to strengthening my English language. The Institute staff and management are very professional, dedicated and helpful. They were able to maintain hope and hard work even through tough political atmospheres. As for me personally, the staff and management provided great help and support not only during my studies but even long time after I finished the two semesters. The people of Kibbutz Ketura (where the institute is located) were very warm and welcoming. My host family, Miriam, Bell and their children, were great and prepared the best food ever. I am very grateful to the Arava Institute for giving me a chance to be part of their students and always wish them more success and achievement s. Please support the ARAVA Institute and contribute to peace and love in the Middle East.
I was a student at the Arava Institute 10 years ago and have had many experiences with the organization, its professors, students and supporters since then. The institute helps create a safer, more secure and peaceful middle east. My experience, as a Jewish American, of living with Muslim students from Gaza and Jordan, was a transforming one. The Institute builds leaders in environmental policy, experts in environmental sciences, and passoniate advocates in environmental conservation. However, it is the joint love for our shared environment which brings Arab, Israeli, Jewish, Muslim, Christian students together. I can not say enough about the importance of the Arava Institute's work.
Visited the Arava Institute twice! Great organization with an important mission. Support peace and the environment throughout the Middle East. Students and Faculty are dedicated to working toward sustainable social and political goals.
For the past 6 years, I have been a member of Friends of the Arava's Board and it has been one of the most challenging and fulfilling experiences of my life. When my wife and I lived in Israel in 2002-2003, I taught a couple of environmental law classes at the Institute, met its diverse Jewish, Muslim, Christian and non-denominational students. I discovered an institutional model for the development of peace-building and reconciliation among Jews and Arabs in Israel and the Middle East, I found an antidote to cynicism and despair, and I met some of the most exciting and courageous young environmental science and policy students on the globe. In the face of governmental posturing and intransigence, the Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian researchers and academics who work at and with the Institute (which is supported by Friends of the Arava Institute) are working cooperatively and productively on transboundary water resource and air quality projects to make the possibility of international and regional environmental protection a reality. After 6 years, my excitement not only hasn't diminished; it's increased.
I am getting ready to ride in the Israel Ride, a bike ride across Israel that raises funds for the Arava Institute and Hazon. The more I hear about and read about the Arava Institute, the more excited I get about the work they are doing, in truly living and working with their motto that nature knows no borders. I am looking forward to meeting the people there and seeing first hand how they bring people together across lines of pain and anger and hurt, to heal the Earth.
I met some of these wonderful people who are doing more to aid the peace process than elected leaders. I hope my daughters will consider going to visit one day.
I had a great experience with Arava! Living and studying with students from diverse backgrounds was quite a privilege and I formed special friendships and bonds that continue to grow after all these years. Thank you to all from AIES for your remarkable program.
An amazing organization which deserves our support! We need more organizations helping Israelis, Palestinians and their neighbors to see that we are all part of this fragile world, and we need to work together if we are to survive.