The Arava Institute consistently creates positive outcomes (environmental professionals, positive programs and interactions, successful trans-boundary research) regardless of the political climate. When peace seems close, and when peace seems impossibly distant, the Insitute and its graduates continue to work together to solve common problems. Meeting the students, graduates, staff and faculty has been an inspiration to me, and supporting the institute through contributions allows me to feel that I am doing what I can to promote understanding and constructive enviromental solutions in the Middle East.
I have hosted many events for the arava institute over the past 6-7 years. The most enriching aspect has been to host students as they come through the bay area, some involved in internships related to their studies and others enriching their lives with post grad studies. The discussions we have had with these students have greatly widened our perspective of the middle east, our children have become different people because of their interactions and connections, we have made connections with Muslims, Christians, Jordanians, Palestinians that we otherwise would never have made. The dedication of these students has given us inspiration to feel that maybe the world, not just the middle east, can really become a better place. The graduates of this program continue to work constructively in their fields of study, they continue to work transborder, they communicate with one another, they have formed lifetime friendships and have already made significant contributions to the environmental world.
I am 84 and have been a contributor to the Arava Institute for as long as Michael Cohen has been a part of it. That's how long I have heard of the results of the friendships forged by this Institute.A Muslim girl in modest dress was frightened by an Israeli student returning from the Reserve, wearing Army garb. He too was alarmed. Later as they took classes together they became good friends. Another incident was Michael's response to a student who had to return to Gaza during the Israeli Occupation. He phoned Michael. His village was in desperate need of food and medicine.Michael and others loaded up trucks with food and medical supplies. Then both met at a mid point after convincing soldiers at checkpoints of the validity of their trips. They sat in the desert, had lunch, transferred the supplies and returned home.Students may later be part of their gov'ts and can be part of achieving a true Middle East peace.
i was a student at the arava institute in kibbutz ketura for the fall semester in 2008, studied and experienced.
The Arava institute was an amazing experience that truly changed my life. It opened my eyes to the world and first introduced me to solar energy, which is now how I make a living!
It is so beautiful to see the Palestianian students and Israeli students working together to solving the problems of living in the desert! Your work is remarkable!
FRIENDS OF THE ARAVA INSTITUTE IS DOING A JOB THAT SO MANY OTHERS HAVE BEEN UNABLE TO ACCOMPLISH. THE WORLD NEEDS MORE SELFLESS ORGANIZATIONS LIKE FRIENDS OF THE ARAVA INSTITUTE WHERE THEIR PURPOSE AND GOALS TRULY TAKE PRIORITY OVER ANY INDIVIDUAL OR POLITICAL AGENDAS.
I rode in the November 2008 Israel Bike Ride to raise funds for the Arava Institute. It was one of the great adventures of my life. Our crew for the ride were all alumni of the Institute, and we spent a night at the Institute in the Negev desert, meeting the current students and faculty. The work they are doing is at the highest levels, academically and spiritually. They are truly working to save the environment and improve understanding and cooperation in Israel and its surrounding region.
I was a student for one semester in the Arava Institue. It was a life changing experience that taught me a lot about myself and my environment, about my zionism and my world view. The place and the time in which the institue is placed is ideal. I think the desert make you think.
I participated in the Arava Institute 2008 Israel bike ride to help fund raise for Arava. I visited the Arava Institute and met with students and faculty. I was struck by the relevance of its mission and the passion and energy directed toward achieving hat mission. The Arava Institute is making an important contribution to its geographic and political region not only academically but by bringing the divergent student population together and fostering better understanding, respect and long term friendships that can transcend hostile political borders and barriers.
I was fortunate to have participated in the Israel Ride 2007, which I believe was the largest attendance in the brief history of that event. It was enlightening to meet current and former students of Arava Institute, as well as the incredibly capable staff. These kids are the backbone of what might someday be a region that lives peacefully with its neighbors. I hope to participate in the 2010 Israel Ride!!
Working with the Arava Institute has allowed me to participate in some ground breaking research in transboundary environmental management in close cooperation with Palestinian, Israeli and Jordanian colleagues. There is no other Institute in Israel that allows for this kind of close cooperation among colleagues in the environment field.
As a student of the Arava Institute, I was granted the opportunity to be part of the most remarkable social and environmental movement in the region. Cohabitating, eating, learning, and working with people of varying (not to mention historically conflicted) geographic origin as well as religious preference taught me a great deal about cultural sensitivity and the importance of trust in this era of globalization. No place nor program has ever enabled me to grow so much and also contribute so much as the Arava Institute. I am so proud to have been a part of the program, and continue to spread the knowledge I gained as a student here with all people who cross my path.
As a professional in the non-profit world, I admire the professionalism with which the organization is run. It remains committed to its mission and focusesits energy to result in the greatest benefit for the environment and co-existence in the Middle East
I came to know about the (Friends of the) Arava Institute for Environmental Studies through individuals that work in professional Jewish non-profit organizations in NYC. I learned of the crucial environmental research that was being done in a cross cultural cooperative learning environment. I have been fundraising and working with the Friends of the AIES for the past few months in preparation for my first Israel bike ride in November '09. Their organizaion and support has been amazing and I am looking forward to seeing the program firsthand.
Although I haven't been fortunate enough to go to Israel and see first-hand all of the good work that the Friends of the Arava Institute does there and elsewhere, I enjoy receiving its newsletters; they are very informative and interesting. The Institute's mission of focusing on developing environment-friendly concepts is wonderful and one that I strongly endorse. And their efforts to work in cohesion with other Middle Eastern countries gives me confidence that peace in that region will someday prevail. Continued good luck to the Friends of the Arava Institute.
As a student at the Arava Institute, it was a life changing experience. It was an extraordinary opportunity to know and live with the "other". I had the chance to develop my leaderships skills, learn about Judaism, Environment, Palestinians, Jordanians, politics, and love. It is so unheard of to have these kind of experiences in the Middle East where people have so many biases and fears that stop them from knowing and loving people different from themselves, politically, religiously, and nationally. I also had the opportunity to work at the Institute for another academic year. Raising money for scholarships and getting internships where hardships at the time (10 years ago). Since then, the institute has grown in its impact and influence on the environmental and peace community world wide. Scholarships continue to be an essential component of providing local leaders the opportunity to live, study, and work together on issues that mutually concern them. If the institute had 10 million dollars it would be able to have world wide influence, prestige unrecognizable today!
Although I have never visited or participated in the Arava Institute, I think the concept is really great. The fact the people from all walks of life and many different religions can work together to make our world a better place to live, is remarkable. I would love the rest of the world to use the success of the Arava Institute as their prototype. Keep up the good work! I am looking forward to the day that I can visit and participate!
My friend Batshir had an amazingly educational experience on her bikeathon with Avara. This is importatnt education to bring our world together.
In the desert, students live, study environmental issues, and hear the "other" - many for the first time. The Arava Institute is an amazing place where these experiences lead to shared goals and actions for global healing and peace.
I visited the Arava Institute with my Palestinian partner in 2007 and had a first hand impression of the people and atmosphere there, as we held a talk with a group of dozens of Arava participants on the grass there. I especially remember a woman from Nablus, and some guys from Jordan. I happen to meet and greatly appreciate at least two alumni of Arava Institute, Rina Kedem and Ilana Moalem, and I cherish them both, and know how much they appreciate the Arava Institute. I meet other alumni from time to time, and only hear good things about the institute. Also, I think that the institute simply make a lot of sense, and if it didn't exist, it had to be invented! I also know the head of the institute through some people I work with, and really, all I hear is positive and appraising. So, 5 stars to Arava Instutute
I attended the Arava Institute in 1996-97 (in its first year of operation) and have followed its growth and evolution closely since then as a donor and periodic volunteer. I feel AIES fills a critical unmet need in the Middle East as a venue for addressing the region's challenges for environmental protection, resource management, and coexistence. In the time I attended AIES, there were almost no opportunities for Israeli Jews, Arabs (both from neighboring states and Israeli citizens), and students from elsewhere in the world to study together and explore regional environmental issues. Since that time, AIES, its researchers, and its alumni network have become important contributors to these issues - both in the Middle East and further afield in America, Europe, Australia, and Asia.
In 2005 I was invited by a friend to join the Israel Bike Ride. During those wonderful days I learned about the Arava Institute and its effort to promote peace, environmental protection and education. I would describe that experience as a great human, cultural and natural discovery. I believe this organization deserves great attention and consideration because of the good causes it promotes and the efficient and well organized structure that has been developed since its foundation.
I studied for a full year at AIES and the experinces i had in that year will stay with me always. My fellow students are some of the most brave and intelligent people i've ever met, who inspired and challenged me almost daily. I've made friends who will be with me for a lifetime and i've learnt lessons that taught me patience and courage in the face of adversery. Most of the faculty there are encourging and incredibly knowledgeable in their field and i've always felt able to turn to them for support and advice even now as an Alumni. The PELS sessions were the most challenging aspect of the program but the one that has embedded itself deeply in my understanding of conflict and conflict resolution. My time at AIES inspired me to carry on with my environmental education and as well as completing my Permaculture design course i am now studying for a MSc in Arboriculture and Urban Forestry in the UK.
Dedicated group of people. Great organization. I got to hear about their cutting edge research and work to forge friendships and participation in worthwhile causes.
What a wonderful organization. Arava has a synthesized approach that addresses so many worthwhile causes. This is precisely the type of visionary thinking that this planet -- and the Middle East in particular -- needs. Arava is a model that will guide many other organizations worldwide.
My Name is Yara Dahdal, and i was a student for one semester in the Arava institute for environmental studies. Its a great place to be in the middle of the desert, also the experiences i gained their are priceless as Palestinians, Isrealies , Jordanians and people from all over the world learn how to leave with each other and over come all barriers.
Friends of Arava is an amazing group. Listening to the stories of their student who take the time to travel the US and share their experiences with us is captivating. I can't think of an organization which better integrates two of the most challenging issues facing our time - the environment and peace in the Middle East.
this organization is awesome. They do really great things for the environment of Israel and the world. They help people of all nationalities come together to work towards the cause of making a better world.
I participated in the Hazon Israel Ride in the Spring of '08. I had the amazing opportunity to meet many of the students and alumni of the Arava Institute, as well as spend a night at Kibbutz Ketura. It was a week that I won't soon forget. The deep connections that I was able to make with all the people associated with the Arava Institute is a testament to their amazing organization and the type spirit that they foster. I'm thankful for the Friends of the Arava Institute for their ongoing efforts in supporting such an amazing organization and bridging their mission to reach out to people like me.
I have met students from the Arava Institute and heard them speak about their life-changing experience studying there. The Institute's facilitation of personal interaction and relationships among Israelis and Palestinians is an extremely important grass-roots effort to bring people from the two cultures together as a step toward peace among the two groups. Some of the Arab students have gone on to hold positions in their governments where they will have real opportunity to guide policy. Giving them a personal connection to Israel and Isrealis through the Institute can have unmeasured positive impact on the choices they make in those positions.
This organization does a great service in its role in the middle east. We need more organizations that bring people together at the grass roots level.
As Executive Director of Camp Tawonga, I hired Arava Institute associate Rina Kedem to be director of our Peacemakers Camp. For five years, this project brought hundreds of Israelis, Palestinians and Americans (Jews, Christians and Moslems) together in the Sierra Mountains next to Yosemite. Rina was also an organizer and fundraiser for Friends of the Arava Institute. My many experiences with Rina and other members of FOAI impressed me immensely with their passion and professionalism. Today, as Executive Campus Liaison for Hillel (Schusterman International Center) I see the Arava as one of the most positive and visionary opportunities for college students to engage in the issues of the Middle East.
I studied at the Arava Instetute for Environmental Studies (AIES) and participated at few projects with the AIES mainly Environmental Education.
I attended the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies as a student there my junior year of college. The Institute is not only of a high academic caliber; not only does it engage incredible and motivated participants and coordinators; not only does it lead to research in sustainability and environmental cooperation; but most importantly the Institute is a place of peace. This is a value that every religion in the world shares and is demonstrated every day at the Arava Institue.
From the ease of using their website to accesibility to staff,, leadership and students, I have nothing but good things to say about Friends of the Arava INstitute -- and , of course, the critically important wirrk that they support: promoting peaceful coorperaion, higher education and envirmonental sustainiability in Israel and the Middle East. Living in Colorado, the organization has managed to cordidate a one-on-one meeting with me and the executive director, a well as bring a Jordanian student out here to speak to our congregation about the fabulous work we do. kol tuv! Rabbi Jamie Arnold Evergreen, CO
It is a great organization doing important work in the Middle East in both the environment and in peace building. The regions environmental issues can only be solved cooperatively by the countries and the peoples of the region. The Arava Institute is the only organization that is doing this. At the same time, the personal bonds being created between the Arab & Israeli, Christian, Jewish & Muslim students, are furthering the interests of peace.
I am honored to be a member of the Board of Trustees. The Arava Institute is truly unique in both environmental work and in bring young Palestinians, Jordanians, Israelis and North Americans together to address the Middle East's environmental and co-existance issues. As someone involved in fundraising and marketing on the volunteer level I have had the privilage of meeting many of the students, faculty and alumni and they are all driven by an unshaking commitment to a brighter, sustainable future for the Middle East.
My experience at the Arava Institute was truly life changing. In a region that hosts the World's most complicated conflict, I and my fellow students where able to discuss our differences but, most importantly unite in the common bond of humanity living on planet earth. The friendships that I made will be cherished for a lifetime and I truly thank the Arava Institute for introducing us. The spirit of the Arava Institute effects everyone with who it associates. Whether you are a student, a guest lecturer, or even a donor the Arava Institute will give you the strength you need to fight for whatever that may be.
We have been supporting the Arava Institute since shortly after it's creation in 1996. We have housed many students as they pass through Washignton, DC - Jordanians, Israelis, Palestinians, Canadians and Americans; Muslims, Christians and Jews. Our son studied at the Institute for a year. I sincerely believe that working with the younger generation is the best way to attain peace in the Middle East. Using the shared concern of the local environment as the anchor and starting point to develop relationships was a stroke of genius. Involvement in the Friends of the Arava Institute is an incredibly rewarding experience. I can actually see the benefit of our financial contributions as I meet students and alumni.
I had a really hard semester at the Arava Institute, I won't lie. I didn't really understand how real peace was possible at all between such different people. But I believed in the power of the environment and shared resources as the backdrop for a mutual understanding. My learning experience wound up being an awakening process I will never forget: I studied with some of the greatest lecturers I have ever come across. But above all I came to deeply understand, through intense workshops and daily life, that peace is possible - as different as we all are. This is the gift I received from the Arava Institute.
Arava Institute gives me hope for the future! This is the ONLY place for all people who realize that the only way to advance the quality of life for ALL in the Middle East is to find issues of mutual need and dependence. We all can either learn to live together or we will disappear in a cloud of toxic dust. Arava Institute recognizes there are differences and yet celebrates that we have more to gain from each other than in investing in hate and pollution of the environment. The warmth and cameradie of the personal relationships overcome the somewhat spartan conditions. Friendship and learning are there to endure for a life-changing experience. If only there were more opportunities like this in other places in a region filled with so much enmity.
I ride every year to raise money for an extraordinary institution, the Arava Institute, that started as an environmental organization but soon learned that it does little good to stop polluting on your side of the river if the Arab village upstream is still putting waste into the water. From here began an experiment of Israelis and other Jews working with Palestinians and other Arabs. The efforts have been difficult but rewarding as the Arava Institute has provided an example of how to learn to work with enemies and become friends with your enemies as you learn to work on common goals.
My daughter (an American) was involved with the Arava Institute a few years ago on a fundrasing bicycle ride for the environment in Israel. She related how extroidinary it was to be riding with an Israeli on one side of her and an Arab on the other side and how well they got along.
This is an amzaing enterprise. Not only does it promote basic research and education, but also promotes peace in a troubled area of the globe.
I had an absolutely amazing experience studying at the Arava Institute in the Spring of 2009. The knowledge I accrued through my relationships and classes were life-changing; after just one semester, I knew I wanted to spend my life helping the environment and personally working towards peace in the Middle East. I enjoyed the program so much as a student that I stayed half the summer as an alumni intern, and am already plotting my return! In the meantime, I have been inspired to pursue my Masters in environmental studies in the US, and put to use what I learned in Israel to raise awareness here about vital issues in the Middle East.
My family spent five days at Kibbutz Ketura and had the opportunity to see the work being done by the Arava Institute. It was truly inspiring to see young people from many differnt cultures, countries and religions working together to solve their mutual problems and help overcome prejudices in the process
I studied at the Arava from 1999-2000. The program provided me with a cutting edge environmental education from the top experts in the field in the Middle East. Most importantly, through group study projects, dialogue activities and community living arrangements, the venue provided an unparalleled opportunity to build networks and environmental partnerships across the region...a network that thrives even when the political outlook is dismal.
The year I spent at the Arava Institute profoundly changed the way I look at Israel. It both strengthened and challenged my Jewish Zionist values by introducing the unique perspectives of diverse sectors of Israeli society (and the entire Middle East). In addition, I gained the practical tools needed to become active in Israel's environmental movement. My experience at AIES continues to inspire me to help create a sustainable future for the land and people of Israel.
The FAI is a unique organization that merges environmental issues and middle east peace making all in one. It has a wonderful and creative executive director and a dedicated board working tirelessly for funds to support the Arava Institute.
As a former student and staff member of the Arava Institue I can say that it is an absolutely amazing institution. I learned so much during my time there and met people from other cultures that I am still in touch with today. As a current resident of Toronto, I have made use of my connections with other Arava Institute alumni to continue to do multifaith work here in Toronto.
I am writing both as a former student and as a former staff member in saying that the Arava Institute was a life changing experience for me. With help from the Friends of the Arava Institute, I, an American Jew, had the opportunity to live in the Southern Arava Desert in Israel with Israelis, Jordanians, Palestinians, and other international students living coexistence while promoting cross border environmental cooperation. I lived at the Arava Institute for 10 months. I was a student for the Fall 2007, then I worked as the intern for the Ecopaths office and helped organize the annual "Israel Ride," in May 2008, and afterwords served as the student life coordinator for the 2008 summer course. As a student, classes opened my eyes to the necessity of working as a global community, across political and conflict borders to preserve our frail planet. As a staff member for the Israel Ride, I understood how the message of the Arava Institute is so powerful that it brings Jewish communities from all over the world to ride for its cause. And as a coordinator for student life, I experienced how, despite cultural and religious barriers of the staff and students alike, the office of the Arava Institute successfully run an multicultural and inclusive program that does not just preach coexistence and cooperation, but lives coexistence and cooperation.
I know the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies (AIES) since 2003. I was student in this wonderful institution for two years and their i started my Masters in the joint program with Ben Gurion University. in 2003, after my undergraduate studies at the Technion, I was looking for educational body that has long-term activities in Arab-Jewish interaction. AIES was the only one doing this, and, i guess, still the only one that does that in the best way. despite living in Israel, the Israeli university system prevented, or at least did not encourage, such dialogs. as an Arab-Israeli, I find this strategy shameful and irresponsible. AIES builds understanding between Jewish, Arabs, and more. it builds comprehensive, productive network of environmental-related scientists and community leaders who play an active role back in their communities and countries based on the principle AIES introduced to them. and i am one of many who keep doing this. right now I am studying towards my PhD in the US based on the idea i developed back in AIES.
I first learned of the Arava Institute about seven years ago via the Friends of the Arava Institute. The "Friends" are relentless in getting out the word of the Institite's mission of saving the environment and establishing understanding between Israel and its neighbors through environmental concerns. The Friends have created a window in the U.S. into this very impressive institute. Without their outreach, informational, and fund-raising efforts, I'm not sure if the Arava Institute would have the where-with-all to carry out its truely vital work for both the environment and coexistence in the Middle East. The Friends keep me informed and constantly stimulate my interest in and concern for the Arava Institute.
I have known of the Arava Institute and the Friends of the Arava Institute since the inception of both entities. The dual roles of the Arava Intitute (research environmental issues and promoting co-existence) address the vital concerns facing our world. The fundraising by the Friends of the Arava Institute is volunteer driven with low overhead, enabling the most results for every dollar donation.
I first learned about the Arava Institute during a visit to Kibbutz Ketura in 2007. Shortly after my return to the US, an aquaintance mentioned the Israel Bike Ride. I immediately registered and spent the seven months raising substantial funds to support the Arava Institute and preparing for the ride. It was the most incredible experience of my life. Meeting the students and hearing about their work and the leadership seminars was a high point of the bike trip. This is a unique way to support a unique organization, which is one of a kind. Friends of the Arava Institute does a terrific job telling the Institute's story in the US and thereby attracting the support the institute deserves.
I studied at the Arava Institute in the Spring of 2005. Since my semester there, I can't seem to get away from the Middle East. Now I live in Jerusalem and work in economic development in the West Bank, and not a day goes by without me thinking of my Arava experiences or where my colleagues are. A great institution training the future leaders (both environmental and other) of tomorrow!
I am the Producer of The Shtick, the only Jewish TV show in Australia. I had the great honour and pleasure to meet , film , and interview an Israeli student Ilana , and a Palestinian student Mutasim, who together were touring Australia with the message that 'The environment has no borders". I was very impressed with their attitude and enthusiasm to bring conflicting countries to the table to discuss and further ways of making peace.To watch the interview go to www.theshtick.info , follow the link to YouTube, and go to Episode 13.07 Segment 3. Well worth a watch....
I attended the Arava Institute and it changed my life. I went from being a sheltered American college student with an ego-centric outlook on the world to having a broad perspective on environmental politics and the all the grey that colors in between black and white political stances. During the program, I witnessed people from "different sides of the track" working together, playing together and learning together. Among my cohert, there were people from Jordan and Egypt, Palestine and Israel, America and Europe. Whereas there are other groups out there that bring people of these great lands together to dialogue, most of them fall short in that the participants can always get up and walk away from the discussion when it gets too hard or they bring people together at too young an age to really put their words and collective projects into play. The Arava Institute always encouraged us to look beyond the racial, religious and cultural differences that might otherwise stand as road blocks to peace and see the common factors that impact all of us regardless of family history-our environment. Today, I have the opportunity to share what I learned at the Arava Institute about tolerance, keeping a open mind and celebrating diversity with the many young Jewish children I work with in the capacity of teaching 2nd-5th grade Sunday School and serving as the advisor to a wonderful Jewish Teen Group, called Shorashim, in Northern California. I am happy whenever I get a copy of the e-newsletter from Friends of the Arava to see all the good work the Arava Institute continues to do.
My daughter and I went on a bike ride to support the Arava Institute this past May. We had the opportunity to meet some of the alums from the Arava as well as had a chance to visit the Institute. We could not have been more impressed. We met people, who had life changing experiences because of the Institute. Their understanding of other cultures increased exponentially. The educational experience to work together to optimize the resources in the Middle East makes so much sense. I can only hope that more people from a variety of cultures take advantaage of the opportunities available to learn more about this wonderful resource/ institute located in a part of the world that needs to be appreciated more than it already is.
Because the mission of the Arava Institute and by extension, the Friends of the Arava Institute, is so important to the cause of peaceful and collaborative co-existence, I believe that support of FAI will continue to grow exponentially as people learn about the Institute. FAI is an organization full of people who are dedicated and passionate about its success. It's an honor to be associated with FAI.
I have followed the Arava Institute on its website, having been referred, or linked, by my membership in Hadassah. From the first encounter I was struck by the brilliance of a global membership working toward a global solution to the effects of climate change. This year I lost two very dear friends and was able to memorialize them with donations to the Arava Institute. The nature of these memorials are that they are an investment in the future of mankind, and I could think of no more appropriate way to honor great friends who have faded into the past. When I recently read about the involvement of a Palestinian in the Arava program, my heart responded with the longing felt by many Jews and Muslims, for the friendship of each other. With the goal that healing the environment can heal the wounds of nationalism, I have dedicated my limited philanthropic ability to Arava Institute.
The FOAI and AIES are two of the most wonderful organizations I've participated in. They are working together to build a cohort of leaders across cultural, religious, and national boundaries that recognize one another as fellow humans with the same needs and wants.
My experience of the Arava Institute is as a participant in their annual fundraising bike ride in November 2008. In addition to an incredibly well organized event, the experience introduced me to current students and alumni of the institute (my fiance studied there several years ago as well). I was profoundly touched not only by the top-notch scholarly activities of the Institute, but by their wonderful grass-roots peacemaking efforts. Face to face interactions, and working side by side appears to be the most effective way to build the bridge of peace between people in the region. It's slow, costly and requires a great deal of patience and courage. with an expanded budget, this small program could evolve into something incredible.