NAICU President Co-chairs Visit to Israel by Presidents of Major U.S. Universities

July 05, 2011

For Immediate Release (PDF)

Amit Katzir, Project Interchange

Roland King, NAICU

NAICU President Co-chairs Visit to Israel
by Presidents of Major U.S. Universities
to Enhance Bilateral Academic Cooperation

Group to meet with senior Israeli and Palestinian
officials in week-long tour

(Jerusalem, Israel) - A group of university presidents from across the United States and the leader of a major U.S. higher education association are traveling throughout Israel, July 4-10, on an educational program sponsored by Project Interchange, an educational institute of the American Jewish Committee.

The week-long program was designed by Project Interchange in consultation with the participating higher education heads, and is being co-chaired by Barbara R. Snyder, president, Case Western Reserve University, and David L. Warren, president, National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. It will be conducted in an intensive seminar format, offering the group broad exposure to the complex issues facing Israel and the region.

Strong thematic emphasis will be given to higher education, and the delegation will meet with their executive counterparts at such institutions as Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University, Al Quds University, and Al-Qasemi College. They will receive in-depth briefings on state-of-the-art research initiatives being undertaken and will discuss opportunities for academic exchange and research collaborations at the undergraduate, graduate, and faculty levels. 

The delegation also is to meet with senior government officials, including Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian National Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. 

In order to enhance academic ties with Israel among a wide cross-section of U.S. campuses, Project Interchange reached out to leaders of a diverse set of academic institutions, including large and small, public and private, liberal arts, and "up-and-coming" universities.  

The 17-member delegation includes:

J. Timothy Cloyd, President, Hendrix College
John Anderson Fry, President, Drexel University
Jeffrey Herbst, President, Colgate University
George E. Martin, President, St. Edward's University
Beheruz N. Sethna, President, University of West Georgia 
Barbara R. Snyder, President, Case Western Reserve University 
Holden Thorp, Chancellor, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
David Warren, President, National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities
Henry Yang, Chancellor, University of California, Santa Barbara

The group also will 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. Justice Aharon Barak, former President of Israel's Supreme Court, and Daniel Reisner, former Head of the International Law Department of the Israel Defense Forces, will lead discussions on various legal topics, including human rights and international law.

Sam Witkin, executive director of Project Interchange, said, "We are tremendously pleased to host this exceptional delegation of university leaders for their first of hopefully many trips to Israel. The world-class research and educational facilities at Israeli universities and colleges, a number of which will be visited during the program, provide a fitting setting for great minds to share information, discuss research partnerships, and explore opportunities for mutually-beneficial collaboration."

Recent Project Interchange delegations have included French and German political leaders, Chinese and Indian-American Academic leaders, Latina students, college newspaper editors, counter-terrorism experts from Europe and the United States, and journalists from across the world, with an upcoming seminar for leading figures of India's film industry, or "Bollywood."

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About Project Interchange:
Project Interchange, a non-profit institute of AJC (American Jewish Committee), develops and conducts educational seminars in Israel for current and emerging United States and international leaders. Founded in 1982, Project Interchange has brought over 5,000 influential figures to Israel from more than 60 countries, offering them broad exposure to the complex issues facing Israel and the region.

About the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities:
NAICU serves as the unified national voice of independent higher education.  Since 1976, the association has represented private colleges and universities on policy issues with the federal government, such as those affecting student aid, taxation, and government regulation.  With over 1,000 member institutions and associations, NAICU reflects the diversity of private, nonprofit higher education in the United States.  NAICU member institutions include traditional liberal arts colleges, major research universities, comprehensive universities, church-related institutions, historically black colleges, Hispanic-serving institutions, single-sex colleges, and two-year colleges.


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