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US University Execs To Meet with Israeli, PA Leaders

A delegation of American university presidents is participating in an intensive seminar in Israel organized by the American Jewish Committee.
By Malkah Fleisher
First Publish: 7/6/2010, 10:06 PM / Last Update: 7/7/2010, 7:57 AM

Tel Aviv U
A delegation of university presidents from the United States is doing its own Middle East study for a week, participating in an intensive seminar organized by the American Jewish Committee.

The program, which will be "offering the group broad exporsure to the complex issues facing Israel and the region," was designed by Project Interchange, an educational institute of the American Jewish Committee, according to the institute.

Participants from Cornell University, the University of Miami, the Association of American Universities, California Polytechnic State University, University of South Carolina, Oregon State University and San Jose State University will be treated to meetings with their executive counterparts at Tel Aviv University, the Technion, Hebrew University and the military college in Herzliya. They will also be taken to the Arab Al-Qasemi College in Haifa.

The U.S. educators' exposure to both Israeli and Arab influences will not be limited to the academic sphere, however.  Participants will meet with senior officials in the Israeli government, including President Shimon Peres, as well as members of the Palestinian Authority leadership, including Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

"The group will also participate in briefings by Israeli and Palestinian experts on a host of political and societal matters, including Israel’s diverse makeup and efforts toward interfaith co-existence," according to Project Interchange. Former President of Israel's Supreme Court Aharon Barak and former Head of the International Law Department of the Israel Defense Forces Daniel Reisner will be among the experts to address the group.

Sam Witkin, Executive Director of Project Interchange, praised Israeli universities for their "world-class research and educational facilities," calling them a "fitting setting for great minds to share information, discuss research partnerships, and explore opportunities for mutually beneficial collaboration."

In the past, Project Interchange delegations have included North African leaders, the presidents of the Pacific Island nations of Micronesia and Nauru, college newspaper editors, American Latina leaders, Indian-American leaders, and journalists from the United States, Scandinavia, and Latin America. Upcoming seminars for global leaders will address such topics as energy, counterterrorism, and public health.