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2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Friends of the Arava Institute

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Nonprofit Overview

Mission: Friends of the Arava Institute is the North American nonprofit organization that is focused on raising visibility and support for the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies. The Arava Institute is a ground-breaking academic institution located in the south of Israel built on the philosophy that Nature Knows No Borders. Operating in a region of historic conflict, the Institute brings together young future leaders from Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, and beyond, to study common environmental challenges as a platform not only for advancing sustainability but for developing the trust, respect, and understanding that can serve as a foundation for peace.

Geographic areas served: North America

Programs: Supported domestic and international programs that foster environmental cooperation between israel and neighboring countries

Community Stories

14 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

10

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

8

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

5

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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

7

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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

12

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

9

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

13

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

7

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

6

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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

7

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

7

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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

12

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.