13th Annual AJC Project Interchange Delegation of U.S. University Presidents Exploring Bilateral Collaboration in Israel

June 23, 2018 – (Jerusalem, Israel) – With 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.


“It is a genuine honor to serve as a member of this year’s delegation of U.S. university presidents visiting Israel and the West Bank, and I look forward to helping forge new international partnerships that will foster greater academic collaborations in the future,” said James T. Harris III, D.Ed., president of the University of San Diego.


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, and 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 Ben Gurion University, Tel Aviv University, the Technion, and the University of Haifa in order to explore opportunities for bilateral cooperation and learn about Israeli universities’ expertise in transfer technology, for which Israel is considered the world leader.


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 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.

About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 8,000 students from 75 countries and 44 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. USD’s eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD recently concluded our successful $317M Leading Change: The Campaign for USD, which represented the most ambitious fundraising effort in the history of the university. In September 2016, USD introduced Envisioning 2024, a strategic plan that capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.


Pamela Gray Payton
(619) 260-4681