Shared Vision Conference in Haifa Leads to Partnerships

Seth Izen, Project Manager for the Middle East Center, represented UMass Lowell at the Shared Vision Conference in Haifa, Israel. The conference was run by Shatil, a leading social change organization in Israel in partnership with the Center for Urban  and Regional Studies at the Technion and ALDA, the Association of Local Democracy Agencies

The conference brought together academics, activists, and community leaders to examine the ramifications of Haifa as a city shared by different and varied populations and to advance the view of the diversity as an asset, not a threat. Haifa is one of the most diverse cities in Israel with Arabs comprising over 10% of the population. 

(L to R) Seth Izen, Project Manager for the Middle East Center, and Fathi Marshood, Director of Shatil-Haifa.
"At UMass Lowell, we want to train students for global citizenship,” says Mr. Izen. “The conference was a great opportunity to partner with organizations and research institutions. We want to provide a hands-on experience for our students to learn about the region, become involved in local NGO work, and to apply their education to a real-world situation.” Mr. Izen spoke about the Middle East Center's vision as part of the education panel along with Dr. Aura Mor-Zomerfeld, University of Haifa, and Dr. Amal Jabarin, The Committee for Arab Education in Haifa. 

Important connections with several organizations were established, including the Council of Volunteer Organizations in Haifa, the Coalition of Women in Haifa, and the Association for Mixed Families Rights.

Other international guests included Nick Pelham, former Senior Researcher for the International Crisis Group, Professor John Johnston of Goldsmith University of London, and Marco Boaria, ALDA-Europe.