Scholars as Bridge Builders Workshops


Collaborative Workshop Exploring Diversity and Inclusion Policies and Practices between Israel and NYC Campuses, February 23-27, 2020

A partnership between the JCRC-NY Faculty Engagement Program, Israeli President Rivlin’s flagship initiative “Israeli Hope” and City University of New York

Summary of Activities

As part of its ongoing alumni engagement activities, JCRC-NY’s Faculty Engagement Program (FEP) held an exciting, stimulating and thought-provoking 5-day collaborative workshop in New York City in late February. The workshop focused on exploring diversity, equity, inclusion policies and practices within Israeli and New York City universities and colleges. Throughout the various sessions, participants compared and contrasted case studies involving minority groups, gentrification, second-language students, and shared best practices between Israel and NYC institutions of higher education. Discussions included issues of compliance, developing inclusive structures, and promoting cultural competency among faculty and administration. The workshop highlighted Ultra-orthodox Jewish students and the various mechanisms that allow for their participation in higher education (private and public). This issue is particularly relevant to many Israeli diversity officers, and NYC offers a unique example of the tensions that exist and a potential opportunity to learn about possible solutions.

Alongside professional discussions, the group toured three boroughs of the city (Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Brooklyn, and Queens), visited various local campuses, met with counterparts and experts (academic, public officials, and administrators), and participated in hands-on training sessions. Please see below the agenda and program bio booklet, which provides further descriptions of the Israeli Hope in Academia program, JCRC-NY’s Faculty Engagement Program, and the bios of the Israeli and American participants.

Two major institutions partnered with the JCRC-NY Faculty Engagement Program to facilitate the workshop – President Rivlin’s Flagship Initiative “Israeli Hope” and the CUNY Central Office. Many present and future FEP alumni took part in the planning process, facilitated sessions and participated in the workshop. A total of over 80 people participated in the workshop, out of which 17 were Israeli academic and administrative faculty members from various Israeli higher education institutions, 28 were NYC based participants from the Diversity, Inclusion and Equity realm throughout CUNY, ten participants were clergy or faith based student leaders (Hillel, Orthodox and Reform Jewish groups, and a representative from the campus’s Muslim Student Association), and the remaining were guests from various institutions.  Overall, 22 were FEP study tour alumni.

The workshop is part of an ongoing collaboration between IHA and JCRC-NY, that started with a study exchange during FEP’s Scholars as Bridgebuilders study tour to Israel. FEP’s alumni led parts of the workshop, giving lectures, providing training, and sharing their knowledge and expertise.

Please find here an elaboration on Israeli Hope in Academia and on JCRC-NY’s Faculty Engagement
Program, and the bios of Israeli and American participants.


You can see the full workshop itinerary here.

For more information contact:  Dr. Shahar Sadeh, Director, Faculty Engagement Program

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