Alumni in the News

Georgia State Univ. President Mark Becker visits Israeli universities

Thursday, January 11th, 2018

The Signal, GA State University

Early December, Georgia State University President Mark Becker visited Israel to gain insight on the practices of its universities and colleges and create a better relationship between them and Georgia State.

The trip was sponsored by a nonprofit educational institute of the American Jewish Committee known as Project Interchange, who have hosted other seminars in Israel in the past, all aimed to bring community leaders together to share ideas and create solutions to local problems. Becker was accompanied by five other university and college presidents from California State University Northridge, Hunter College, New College of Florida, San José State University and Wake Forest University. The visit was primarily exploratory, according to Becker, and was the first one that he had ever taken to Israel.

Throughout the visit, the university presidents gathered information regarding the more specific practices that Israeli universities and colleges use to excel, such as local techniques and curriculums. The American group of presidents were able to meet with the deans and presidents from Bar Ilan University, Ono Academic College, Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art, the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, the University of Haifa, and Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art where they shared ideas and procedures.

The university president shared his opinion on what he thought of the overall status of education in Israel. “Not all elements of society benefit from higher education,” Becker said, adding that he hopes that the gap between Israel and Palestine will close so that everyone in the region will be able to access that higher education. However, he said that the conversations with the other presidents were “forthcoming and open” and that he was “hopeful that progress will be made” in the future.

President Becker said he hopes to take what was learned regarding the various practices and procedures of these Israeli universities and colleges back to the deans of Georgia State. One of the areas of discussion that Becker wished to pursue is the establishment of study abroad programs between Georgia State’s colleges and those in Israel. Because the trip was preliminary, Becker stated that it would take some time before these programs were well established.

While in Israel, Becker also had the opportunity to meet with Palestinian officials as well during which time he discussed the relations between Israel and Palestine. “Diversity is a main topic of conversation,” Becker said.


Sunday, September 3rd, 2017

AJC Project Interchange participant Palki Sharma wrote the following reflection of her experience in Israel:

There is an Israel beyond the gunfire

Carrot juice and gunfire

Israel is a country that stuns you with its beauty and incongruity. And that’s an understatement. Our chopper (called BDS, not weird at all!) landed on Mount Bental in the Golan Heights. It’s a dormant volcano where lava seeps from the base and not the top of the mountain, leaving the soil around it rich with minerals. There are lush vineyards as far as the eye can see. The Instagram happy lot had just turned on their selfie cameras when we were beckoned to the other side.

There was a UN convoy practicing a drill. The young Irish officers refused to talk. But a few minutes down the road we met more soldiers, men, and women, resting with their backpacks and machine guns, lying under olive trees, posing for cameras. War, perhaps, is just a state of mind for some.

Continue reading.

Palki Sharma traveled to Israel for the AJC’s Project Interchange 2017.

PI Alumna Honored by AJC Berlin Ramer Institute for German-Jewish Relations

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

AJC Project Interchange alumna Düzen Tekkal received the AJC Berlin Ramer Award for Courage in the Defense of Democracy. She was honored “for her passion to protect democracy and human rights through her unremitting efforts to document the horrors of the ISIS genocide against the Yazidi people.”

PI Alumnus Speaks Out Against Anti-Semitism on Campus

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

Richard Herman (University Presidents 2007) published an opinion piece in The Times of Israel, “Free Speech, the Bully Pulpit, and Contemporary Anti-Semitism.” Read More

PI Alumnus and Brazilian Defense Minister Announces Israeli Tech at Rio Olympics

Sunday, June 26th, 2016

Raul Jungmann (Brazilian Political Leaders 2015) announced that an Israeli high-resolution imaging satellite is strengthening security during the Olympics and Paralympic Games taking place in Rio de Janeiro. Read more

Miami-Dade College and Tel Aviv University Host Startup Nation Conference

Friday, May 13th, 2016

On May 17, Miami-Dade College’s Idea Center and Tel Aviv University’s Entrepreneurship Center are partnering together to host the inaugural Startup Nation Conference in Miami. This first of its kind conference is a direct result of last year’s Project Interchange seminar for Miami Entrepreneurs and the MOU between Miami-Dade College and Tel Aviv University that stemmed from Leandro Finol, a participant in the seminar.

Read more about this conference:

  • Miami Herald: “Miami Dade College, Tel Aviv University to Host Startup Nation Conference” and “How To Think Big: Israeli Entrepreneurs Show How It’s Done
  • Sun Sentinel: “Miami-Dade College Partnering with Tel Aviv University for Startup Nation Conference” and “Startup Nation Conference Considered a Success
  • Knight Foundation: “Miami, Tel Aviv Exchange Insights on Entrepreneurship with Startup Nation Conference
  • Check out the opening video!

    PI Alumnus Appointed as Brazilian Minister of Defense

    Friday, May 13th, 2016

    Raul Jungmann, PI alumnus from the 2015 delegation of Brazilian Political Leaders, was appointed as Brazil’s Minister of Defense in May 2016. More details of this announcement can be found here.

    Azerbaijani Ambassador Elin Suleymanov Discusses Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and its Effect on Israel’s Region

    Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

    Azerbaijani Ambassador to the U.S., Elin Suleymanov, discusses with the current conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia and the possible ripple effects it could have on the Middle East. Full article can be found here.

    French Parliamentarian Alumnus Speaks Out Against BDS

    Monday, April 11th, 2016

    Claude Goasguen, member of the National Assembly of France, President of the Friends of Israel in France, and PI alumnus from the 2012 delegation of French Parliamentarians, spoke out against BDS and the marking of settlement products. Mr. Goasguen is quoted as stating, “Despite the decision of the EU regarding labeling, the French government is trying to test things and still is not in the implementation state. We do not know what will happen, but I think marking products in particular, and the activities of the BDS movement in general, are very problematic. There are other members of parliament trying to fight it.” Read the full Ynet article.

    Azerbaijan Ambassador Quoted in Jerusalem Post

    Thursday, April 7th, 2016

    Alumnus of Project Interchange’s 2015 delegation of Diplomatic Leadership, Azerbaijan Ambassador Elin Suleymanov, recently spoke with The Jerusalem Post about the similarities and differences in the Nagorno-Karabakh and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts as well as Azerbaijan’s relationship with Israel. Read the full article here.