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The future looks a bit brighter this week, with a historic visit from a group of Italian youth leaders to Israel. LEAD Italy (LEADIt) was founded in 2016 by Maria Elettra Favotto, and modeled after the innovative Israeli program LEAD. To celebrate the success of LEAD Italy and to strengthen ties between young leaders of both countries, Favotto led a delegation to Israel. The delegation, composed of 10 members of the first LEADIt cohort, is holding meetings with their Israeli LEAD peers to exchange ideas on leadership and learn about the challenges in each country.

 

LEAD is an innovative youth leadership program that puts a focus on empowering youth through education and opportunity. Led by organizational psychologist Eliav Zakay, LEAD focuses on building leaders and presenting youth with a choice: to become a leader, to make a change in society. With thousands of participants in 20 years and a robust alumni program, LEAD graduates have pioneered programs and initiatives impacting communities all over Israel.

 

More recently, the program’s model has gone global. Five years ago LEAD partnered with Rotary Israel to organize a transformative conference for 140 youth from 24 countries. Favotto was one of the participants, and true to the LEAD model, she took the initiative when she returned home to Italy. After several return trips to Israel to get a better understanding of how LEAD works, Favotto founded LEADIt. Two years later, about 60 Italian youth from the Treviso region of Italy have participated, with many creating their own projects.  

 

 

LEAD was founded in 1999 by philanthropist Morris Kahn, who was inspired by a youth leadership program he’d seen in the US. On Sunday, July 27, Kahn and Zakay met with the delegation, together with Deputy Ambassador Gianmarco Macchia from the Embassy of Italy. After Favotto presented an overview, each of the Italian members presented themselves and their projects: Massimiliano created a website for citizens to report infrastructural problems around their city, which could then be collected and presented to the local municipality; Pietro initiated a letter-writing campaign to remind people of the power of hand-written correspondence; Sara rejuvenated her town by creating a treasure hunt for children using local landmarks; Tosca’s I-CHOOSE program gives meaning to school for primary school children through activities designed to promote emotional development and planning for the future; Greta helps teenagers to learn more about themselves, through introspection about values and who they really want to be; Francesco used his own experience from an immigrant home to construct a program connecting immigrant families and native Italians promoting intercultural learning and integration, and Martina’s initiative offers vocational training for students at the end of high school to develop future goals and skills.

 

In concluding the presentation, Favotto explained her own involvement, from LEAD participant to LEADIt founder. She expressed her gratitude to Mr. Kahn for being the mastermind behind LEAD, and for his continued support to the program that has so inspired her. Favotto also outlined her vision for the future--for LEADIt to grow nationally, and then continentally, and eventually throughout Europe. Setting her sights even farther, she stressed that LEAD should be copied globally, given the uniqueness of the program.

 

Mr. Kahn applauded the LEADIt members on their hard work and success. Sharing a bit about how LEAD was created, Mr. Kahn offered a word of caution that growth requires careful planning, time, and resources, and encouraged support for the growth to continue at a steady and sustainable pace. He described their work as a stone dropped in the lake--creating a ripple effect that gets wider and wider.

 

Deputy Ambassador Macchia expressed his pride at seeing such enterprising and driven young Italians. He too congratulated Favotto, and thanked Mr. Kahn and LEAD for their role, and for hosting the meeting.

 

Favotto, who has been to Israel numerous times and has also lived in Canada and the United Kingdom, told Diplomacy about some of the cultural differences between Israel and Italy that have shaped LEADIt in particular. From her perspective, she sees Israeli youth as being more aware of the challenges within their country and societies, and overall more integrated citizens. In Italy, she explained, a generational gap means that youth feel excluded from societal involvement, and instead told to focus on school and finding a career, with their opportunity to contribute to society postponed for middle-age life. This is thus the first challenge that LEADIt tackles, convincing Italian youth that they have a role to play in improving society in the here and now, raising awareness of what needs to change, and only then empowering the youth to bring that change. Having seen the results of only two years, LEADIt is off to a great start, and a true embodiment of the LEAD model.

 To learn more about LEAD:  http://lead.org.il/en/

 Photos by Sivan Farag

 Steven Aiello

Founder--DebateforPeace
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

A statue in memory of Shimon Peres was dedicated in Tirana, Albania

The statue is in the shape of the Star of David and bears the Ninth President's image
 

 

Citizens of Albania, led by Prime Minister Edi Rama, expressed their love for Shimon Peres. Peres, who was the first Israeli leader to visit Albania during his tenure as Foreign Minister in 1995, was greatly admired and loved by the Albanian people.

 

 

The end of August will mark two years since President Peres' passing. To honor his memory, a large statue was erected in his honor in the center of Tirana. His son, Yoni Peres, attended the dedication ceremony, together with Deputy Ambassador Yuval Fischer, Chairman of the Albania-Israel Friendship Association Petrit Zorba, Honorary Consul of Israel in Albania Rudolph Jeliri, and more.

 

Yoni Peres: "Tirana is a wonderful city, and the people are warm and loving. It was a moving experience."

 

Yuval Fischer, Deputy Ambassador: "My initiative to name a square in Tirana after Shimon Peres is a tribute to the great friendship between these two countries."

 

 

 

Photo Credit: GENTI

 

 

PMO statement regarding US withdrawal from UNHRC

 For years, the UNHRC has proven to be a biased, hostile, anti-Israel organization that has betrayed its mission of protecting human rights.

 

 Israel thanks President Trump, Secretary Pompeo and Ambassador Haley for their courageous decision against the hypocrisy and the lies of the so-called UN Human Rights Council.


For years, the UNHRC has proven to be a biased, hostile, anti-Israel organization that has betrayed its mission of protecting human rights.

Instead of dealing with regimes that systematically violate human rights, the UNHRC obsessively focuses on Israel, the one genuine democracy in the Middle East.

The US decision to leave this prejudiced body is an unequivocal statement that enough is enough.

Israel welcomes the American announcement.

 

 

 

 


On Thursday, June 22, the Cultural Attaché at the U.S Embassy Jonathan Berger hosted an end-of-year reception to recognize the achievements of the Debate for Peace (DfP) Model United Nations program supported by the Public Diplomacy office. Nearly 100 Jewish and Arab students, parents, educators and representatives from various Embassies attended the reception at the Cultural Attaché’s residence to honor and be inspired by the students and their achievements.

 

Cultural Attaché Jonathan Berger opened the evening by welcoming the guests and expressing his own admiration for the dedication for peace that he has witnessed from among the students in Debate for Peace. Following his remarks, Risa Levi, Cultural Program Specialist at the US Embassy moderated a panel titled “The MUN Impact from an Educational Perspective. Hassan Hassan, a teacher and MUN coordinator in the Negev and among the Bedouin sector, and Salah Fokra, a teacher and MUN coordinator at Bashaer high school, shared their experiences using Model UN to supplement learning in the classroom, and answered questions about the impact they have witnessed in their own students through participation in Debate for Peace programming.

 

In the second panel, Jewish and Arab students from six different cities discussed the Debate for Peace impact from the perspective of students. The panel, which was moderated by Yoni Eshpar, Political Affairs Officer at UNSCO, included Amalia Cedar Kellner, Avi Scharlat Baraa Massalha, Sharehan Alwakily, Yafa Nassar, and Yuval Zonensein. In addition to introducing the impact each has felt personally, the students answered questions from the moderator and the audience.


Dr. Yehuda Stolov, Director of the Interfaith Encounter Association (IEA), spoke in conclusion of the evening. Debate for Peace is one of the most active, and youngest, of the IEA’s dozens of interfaith groups. Following Dr. Stolov’s remarks, a number of students were called up to be recognized for outstanding participation in Debate for Peace: Omar Yaseen; Lea Sarsour; Yafa Nassar, Sharehan Alwakily, and Yuval Zonensein. Amalia Kellner was called up to receive the Best of Delegation award for the DfP delegation to the MEDIMUN conference in Cyprus.


Throughout the evening the guests enjoyed the musical performances of pianist Omri Weinstock, accompanied by singer Yonit Vareika, and a lavish reception provided by the US embassy. Distinguished guests included Ambassador Jean-Daniel Ruch (Embassy of Switzerland); Ambassador Esteban Penrod (Embassy of Costa Rica); DCM Ramunas Davidonis (Embassy of Lithuania); Jesse Shaw from the US Consular office; Dr. Rachel Tal, head of English Studies at the Amal network; Phil Saunders (European Platform for Middle East Dialogue); Steve Ganot (Israel Hayom); Karen Stiller (JCRC); Alona Timofeyeva (NYU Alumni club), and Mor Beer and Eyal Tur (IMUNA).


Debate for Peace is a youth empowerment and program that teaches leadership, conflict resolution, critical reasoning, debate, and other key skills using Model United Nations as a platform. Over the last two years, Debate for Peace has engaged nearly 1,000 Israeli and Palestinian students from about 60 different cities, towns, and schools; met with more than a dozen embassies; led Israel’s first three Jewish-Arab youth MUN delegations abroad; been hosted at the European Parliament, and helped nearly 100 students get into international youth camps in the US, Europe, and Asia. In the coming academic year Debate for Peace already has MUN conferences planned for October and November, and delegations to London (November); Kosovo (December), Cyprus (February), and Belgium.


Mr. Yoni Eshpar, Political Affairs Officer at UNSCO, told Diplomacy:


“Over the past few years, I have seen Debate for Peace evolve into a very special and impressive Model UN programme. It brings together Jewish and Arab high school students, who otherwise have limited opportunities to get to know each other, and provides them with the knowledge, skills, and enthusiasm for becoming active participants in shaping the future of Israel, the region, and the world. It is inspiring to see how through learning and debating some of the toughest issues, they become more optimistic about advancing peace, and more eager to take part in that work. By empowering these youth and putting them on a path of peacebuilding based on education and dialogue, this programme truly embodies the vision of the UN”

 

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=KBVhPr6amDY

 

Steven Aiello

Founder--DebateforPeace
 
 

 Photos by Silvia G. Golan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Largest Hospital in Northern Israel Prepares for War

The Scenario: Faced with the threat of missile attacks, Rambam Health Care Campus, Northern Israel’s largest hospital will have to move underground.

Today, June 14, 2018, an emergency drill was conducted at Rambam Health Care Campus with the scenario of a missile attack on the Haifa area, forcing the only referral hospital in the north to transfer operations to the Sammy Ofer Fortified Underground Emergency Hospital. This unique facility, the largest of its kind in the world, normally operates as the hospital's parking lot, but in wartime transforms into a 2,000-bed medical facility within 72 hours. In a wartime scenario, this facility becomes the regional hospital for all wounded in the north.

As part of the drill, the hospital practiced several scenarios, some based on lessons from the Second Lebanon War, when Rambam operated under continuous fire. That experience led to construction of the underground facility, ensuring the ability to care for patients in a safe and secure environment.

 

 

During this morning’s first scenario, following receipt of an early warning, the Haifa region was placed on high alert and a decision made to evacuate the hospital departments to the underground facility. For this drill, logistical preparations included activating air purifiers and compressors, power generators, and air conditioning systems embedded in the walls of the underground hospital/parking lot, and the deployment of toilets, temporary showers, and wet up the rest of the infrastructure to become patient-ready. Medical teams then practiced transferring patients (in their hospital beds) and accompanying medical equipment to designated stations underground, including the transfer of advanced life-saving equipment such as dialysis units, and surgical equipment. This cannot be simply a temporary shelter: in the event of an emergency situation, the underground hospital is expected to absorb hundreds of oncology patients, pregnant women, dialysis patients and more—all of whom require ongoing medical care while the region is under fire.

The second scenario during the drill involved a situation in which missiles hit the hospital with no warning, damaging hospital departments. This exercise involved evacuating the wounded to Rambam’s Department of Emergency Medicine, which is also fortified, and will continue to function during wartime. After initial triage, the wounded were then transferred to the underground hospital for ongoing care.

The third and final drill addressed absorption of patients arriving from outside of Rambam. In this scenario, patients were being transferred by ambulance to the underground hospital. Ambulances drove in via the parking lot entrance and discharged the wounded there, to minimize exposure to the outside danger. The patients were received by medical teams who then transferred them, as appropriate to the protected emergency department (via an underground elevator), or elsewhere to the respective underground hospitalization area.

The drill also served as a first time test of the functionality of Rambam’s new underground Command Center from which all emergency activities were managed. The Command Center was inaugurated one month ago thanks to a generous one million dollar donation from the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews headed by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein. The center enables essential hospital management and expert personnel who are responsible for directing the flow of patients based on injury severity, , logistical needs, function of vital systems, and more. All critical information is gathered from the hospital's monitoring systems and analyzed by a proprietary emergency software system developed at Rambam. The emergency administration team can observe above ground activity with the help of hundreds of cameras installed throughout the hospital campus.

Observers of the drill included Maagan David Adom officials, the Home Front Command, and the Emergency Division at the Ministry of Health, in addition to 22 international participants of Rambam’s 19th Developing and Organizing a Trauma System and Mass Casualty Management Course, which ended today. The aim of the course was to provide participants with the knowledge and training to implement a trauma management and emergency system in their home nations.

"After two months of dealing with an impossible scenario of treating the sick and wounded under fire, we decided that this reality could not be repeated," said Professor Rafi Beyar, Director of Rambam. "About five years ago, the underground hospital at Rambam was inaugurated. This facility is of strategic importance for the entire northern region. I hope we will never have to use it, but if the day comes, we will be ready for any scenario."

 

 

Pictured:

The new Command Room of the underground hospital.

Rambam’s Dialysis Unit caring for patients in the underground hospital.

Transferring patients from the main hospital to the underground hospital.

Wounded are brought by ambulance directly into the underground hospital.

Photo credit: Pioter Fliter, RHCC.