JERUSALEM, June 23, 2019 — With the goals of fostering technological innovation and boosting bilateral academic research and exchange opportunities, 8 presidents and chancellors of U.S. universities and colleges are visiting Israel with AJC (American Jewish Committee) Project Interchange.

The delegation is chaired by University of Texas System Chancellor James B. Milliken, who was part of a 2008 AJC Project Interchange delegation when he was President of the University of Nebraska System.

Israel's global contributions in technology, research and innovation are enormous, and its importance in the region can hardly be overstated. Project Interchange has worked for decades to build stronger relationships between U.S. and Israeli universities and cultures, and contributes greatly to Americans' understanding of the political and social milieu,” Milliken said. “I look forward to leading a delegation of distinguished American college and university presidents this summer. I know from experience we will return with a much deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities in Israel, as well as new opportunities for collaboration in education and research.”

Meeting with their Israeli counterparts, the delegation will exchange ideas on innovation and learning and explore opportunities for bilateral academic collaboration. Past Project Interchange delegations of U.S. university presidents have contributed to innovative academic partnerships with numerous institutions and organizations, including the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute, the University of California and Israel Innovation Authority Partnership, and the Miami-Dade College-Tel Aviv University MOU and Start Up Nation conferences.

In addition to the University of Texas System, the delegation this month includes the chancellors or presidents of Carleton College, University of Delaware, University of Kansas, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and University of Texas at Dallas. 

The university presidents and chancellors will meet with leadership at Israel's Q Schools in the Israeli Arab village of Tira, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University, and the Technion in Haifa. They will learn about Israeli universities' expertise in transfer technology, for which Israel is considered the world leader, and explore opportunities for bilateral cooperation.

“The world-class research and educational facilities at Israeli institutions of higher education provide a fitting setting for great minds to share information, discuss research partnerships, and explore opportunities for mutually-beneficial collaboration,” said AJC Project Interchange Director Nisha Abkarian.

During the six-day visit, the American higher education leaders will gain a first-hand understanding of Israel, its vibrant democracy, diverse society, and regional challenges. They will engage a variety of perspectives from Israeli Jewish and Arab experts across the political and social spectrum.

Sessions with renowned experts and site visits throughout Israel will provide analysis of an array of complex issues facing Israel and the region. Discussions with academic and civil society leaders will focus on Israel's high-tech and entrepreneurial landscape, security challenges, diversity in Israeli society, and Israel's approach to global humanitarian aid.

The delegation also will travel to Ramallah to meet with Palestinian experts on society, higher education, and entrepreneurship in the Palestinian Authority.

About AJC Project Interchange: For over 35 years, Project Interchange, a nonprofit educational institute of AJC (American Jewish Committee), has brought nearly 6,000 influential figures to Israel from 110 countries and all 50 U.S. states, offering them broad exposure and firsthand understanding of the complex issues facing Israel and the region. Ajc.org/projectinterchange

SOURCE American Jewish Committee

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