Sonoma State president joins delegation of U.S. university leaders visiting Israel

June 25, 2018

With the goal of fostering technological innovation and boosting bilateral academic research and exchange opportunities, Sonoma State President Judy K. Sakaki has joined presidents of nine other U.S. universities and colleges in visiting Israel this week through the American Jewish Committee Project Interchange institute.

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

“This is a tremendous opportunity to expand my understanding of the Middle East and to visit Israel for the first time,” said Sakaki. “I also look forward to the opportunity to explore partnerships with my colleagues in higher education including those at some of Israel’s most esteemed universities.”

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

The delegation of university presidents is expected to exchange ideas on innovation and learning and explore opportunities for 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, and the Miami-Dade College-Tel Aviv University MOU and Start Up Nation conference.

Robin Levenston-Kudisch, AJC Project Interchange Executive Director noted, “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.”

The Project Interchange delegation also will provide the delegation with a first-hand understanding of Israel, its 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. The delegation also will travel to Ramallah to meet with Palestinian experts on society, higher education, and entrepreneurship in the Palestinian Authority.

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.


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.

About Sonoma State University: With a student population of 9,400, Sonoma State University is unique in its liberal arts and sciences mission with a longstanding tradition of promoting intellectual and personal growth, leadership opportunities and technological proficiency. We cultivate a community in which a diverse population can learn and work in an atmosphere of civility and respect. We encourage innovation, experimentation and creativity, as well as contributions to equity and inclusion, in the pursuit of excellence for all members of our university community. See more news from SSU at 

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