This post is part of a series highlighting our 2022-23 Israel Innovation and Impact grantees. We are proud to share their progress with our community!
“Bringing people together, even under the hardest conditions and circumstances, is possible. People should understand that creating a sustainable future in this region, in order to achieve peace, is doable!”
—Arava Institute Executive Director Dr. Tareq Abu Hamed in a recent profile
Over the past 26 years, the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, a leading environmental studies and research institute in southern Israel’s Arava Valley, has demonstrated that cooperation on environmental issues builds relationships and trust among communities that have been locked in conflict for generations. With a student body comprised of Jordanians, Palestinians, Israelis, and participants from around the world, on-the-ground projects, cutting-edge research, and a university-accredited academic program, the Institute works to protect fragile shared environmental resources, eliminate conflict over these scarce natural resources, and serve as a model for constructive peacemaking for wider areas of conflict. At the Institute, the idea that nature knows no political borders is more than a belief. It is a fact, a curriculum, and a way of life.
The Arava Institute’s new NextGen Climate Changemakers are a group of 24 young adults — roughly equal parts Israeli Jews, Israeli Arabs and Palestinians, and DC-area American Jews — participating in a six-month program aimed at exploring transboundary cooperation on climate change and climate justice in the Middle East. Funded with generous support from the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, this program includes eight virtual meetings, one trip to Israel, and a final trip to DC. Participants represent a cross-section of communities and seek solutions to the challenges posed by climate change while engaging in dialogue and addressing questions of identity, ideology, and coexistence. The Changemakers are applying what they learn in four critical climate resiliency projects — read more about them here.
Learn more about the Arava Institute here.