Public Diplomacy Program Workshop Trains Academics to Represent Israel on College Campuses Abroad
Date: 2012-07-04 Hour: 12:43
"Israel is becoming dangerously isolated because of delegitimization and demonization campaigns organized by a coalition of the radical left, the anti-Semitic right and Islamist groups," says Prof. Eytan Gilboa, Director of the Bar-Ilan University School of Communication and Center for International Communication.
"Combating hatred, boycotts and divestments is a national mission that should cut across all political parties and personal ideologies" adds the Harvard-educated expert in international communication, public diplomacy and US policy in the Middle East.
Bearing this in mind, Prof. Gilboa recently launched a wide-ranging Program in Academic Public Diplomacy, the first of its kind in Israel, to join the fight against deligitimization on university campuses all over the western world, many of which have become hotbeds of anti-Israel activism.
This week the Program, together with the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise (AICE), conducted a workshop designed to train academic faculty and graduate students from Bar-Ilan and other universities in Israel and the United States to wage a widespread offensive to counter myths and help change opinions through persuasion, dialogue and discourse.
Academics representing Bar-Ilan University, the Hebrew University, Brandeis University, the Open University, Ben Gurion University, the Van Leer Institute, Haifa University, Tel Aviv University, Georgetown University, University of Michigan, and the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center participate in the workshop.
Workshop sessions, led by journalists, former diplomats, communication skills experts and Israel advocates, focused on television and radio appearances, op-ed writing, social media skills, student attitudes toward Israel, and additional topics.
Through various means, the Academic Public Diplomacy Program will aim to train academics traveling abroad for Sabbaticals, post-docs and graduate studies to address misperceptions about Israel and the Middle East, to place events in their proper context, and to offer new ideas and perspectives about the role of the media, the Arab uprisings, the Iranian quest for the bomb and Israeli-Palestinian relations.
"We in the School of Communication are uniquely positioned to identify what needs to be done to turn this situation around, and to lead the battle for positive change," says Prof. Gilboa, who was invited to help establish the Center on Public Diplomacy and the world's first-ever graduate program in the field at the University of Southern California in 2005.
Recently the Bar-Ilan Center for International Communication organized a city-blitz -- a week of lectures, events and meetings in Chicago, to test a unique model of counter offensive against Israel's enemies and opponents. Audiences included Jewish and Christian leaders, ethnic groups, academics and professionals. Partnered by 20 major organizations, the blitz was the first in a series to take place in cities around the world.