JERUSALEMWith the goals of fostering technological innovation and boosting bilateral academic research and exchange opportunities, the presidents of U.S. universities and colleges are visiting Israel this week with AJC (American Jewish Committee) Project Interchange.

“I’m honored to be a part of this delegation and am looking forward to engaging with my presidential peers as we explore potential partnerships and discover the innovation programs at Israeli universities and colleges we will visit,” Northern Arizona University President Rita Hartung Cheng said.

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 for U.S. university presidents have contributed to innovative academic partnerships, including the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute, the University of California and Israel Innovation Authority Partnership, the Miami-Dade College-Tel Aviv University MOU and Start-up Nation conference.

The 17 member delegation includes the presidents of Cornell University (delegation chair); California State University, San Bernardino; Northern Arizona University; Illinois Institute of Technology; Sonoma State University; Tufts University; Tulane University; University of Minnesota; University of San Diego and University of Vermont.

The university presidents will meet with leadership at Israel’s Bar Ilan University, Ben Gurion University, Tel Aviv University and the Technion to explore opportunities for bilateral cooperation and learn about Israeli universities’ expertise in transfer technology, for which Israel is considered the world leader.

“The world-class research and educational facilities at Israeli universities and colleges, a number of which the Project Interchange delegation will visit during the program, provide a fitting setting for great minds to share information, discuss research partnerships and explore opportunities for mutually-beneficial collaboration,” said Robin Levenston-Kudisch, AJC Project Interchange executive director.

The Project Interchange delegation will provide these higher education leaders with a first-hand understanding of Israel, its vibrant democracy, diverse society and regional challenges. During their visit, the university presidents 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 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.