Jafra Leadership Program Participants Visit Jerusalem and the Negev

Jafra Leadership Program participants outside the Old City of Jerusalem.

Fifty members of the Jafra Leadership Program, based in Sakhnin in the Lower Galilee, went to an educational and experiential seminar in Jerusalem and visited the Negev in early May.  The group toured Jerusalem, stayed at the Mae Boyar High School Residence, explored ancient Tel Arad and got to know Bedouin society a little more closely.

The trip was a culminating experience in the year-long Jafra Leadership Program whose main goal is to promote leadership and excellence among Arab youth.  The high school graduates in the Program are exposed to diverse content, lectures and workshops, acquiring tools and skills and familiarity with Israeli society, and taking part in leading community and social initiatives to develop leadership skills.

The Program began in the 2016-2017 academic year, when the Society for Advancement of Education, Jerusalem, the Al-Amer Organization and the Sakhnin municipality joined together to conduct a program aimed at developing leadership and excellence for the town’s high school graduates. The program was so successful that, during the current year, it expanded to an additional two municipalities – Turan and Abu Senan.  As there is extremely high demand for the program, SAE and Al-Amer are hoping to expand to an additional two towns during the 2018-2019 school year, for a total of five municipalities.

The group visited a variety of sites in Jerusalem and the Northern Negev. 

Arab youth comprise a significant population that clearly lacks programs to meet its needs, both in formal and informal education.  Work with youth has a multiplier effect, as skills and knowledge gained by youth will be implemented for years to come in their future studies and careers.

High school graduates are at a crucial turning point in their lives, and there are virtually no frameworks available for them, creating a vacuum once they have completed high school. Investment in leadership training can make a significant difference at both the individual and community levels.  Youth also have energy and talents that, when harnessed successfully, can have a strong positive impact on the community.

This program establishes cohorts of Arab youth from each participating town, with an option of including members from adjacent towns, who have completed high school and are in the year prior to university studies (gap year).  Each group includes 15-25 young people who meet twice a week and go through an educational process with the goal of increasing their self-awareness and sense of belonging, acquiring social and leadership skills through social action, and preparing for study at institutions of higher education.

Some of the Jafra Leadership Program participants take a break in Jerusalem.

In addition to the semi-weekly meetings, each group attends seminars and trips around the country during the program, intended to familiarize them with the country and broaden their horizons.  The participants also gain experience in leading social projects and volunteering in social and community organizations in their home town.

Members of the group receive guidance, knowledge and skills in a variety of areas such as public speaking, questions of identity, philosophy, sociology, formulating a vision, group work and challenges, tours, involvement in community life, mediation, and familiarization with Israeli society.

In addition to acquisition of skills, emphasis is placed on scholastic achievement, preparation for improving matriculation and psychometric exams, preparation for university life, academic and professional guidance, and visits to institutions of higher learning.  Participants also benefit from ongoing consultation with the counseling staff, and from guidance from a serious, mature, experienced mentor.

In the future, participants will receive ongoing support as students – individually and as a group – during their university studies, through the program for alumni. This guidance is intended to reinforce connections with their local communities, to support their continuing academic studies and to build networks for future career paths.

Support the Jafra Leadership Program.

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