22 members of the World Jewish Congress’ Lauder Fellowship program, hailing from a dozen countries, convened in Brussels and Israel for a crash course in diplomacy and Jewish communal leadership.
The group, served as the program’s cohort for the 2022-23 academic year met in the Belgian capital with European Parliament members, European Commission officials, NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) policy makers, and key WJC partners during the annual Lauder Fellow Diplomacy Summit in Brussels. Members of the delegation then continued to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv as part of the organization’s Jewish Leadership Bridge Mission for further programming.
The Summit program kicked off in Brussels with Shabbat services and dinner at the Great Synagogue of Europe with the European Union of Jewish Students, as well as a walking tour of Brussels, and a meaningful Havdalah.
The next day began with an introduction to European Union institutions and structure and an overview of WJC’s key priorities. The morning session was followed by meetings with Jewish partner organizations based in Brussels, included B’nai Brith International and CEJI. The day concluded with a dinner with representatives of Jewish organizations in Brussels. In attendance were Jonathan Rosenzweig, Deputy Chief of Mission of Israel to the EU (European Union) & NATO, as well as representatives from the Embassy of Israel to Brussels and representatives from the Israel Delegation to the EU and NATO.
Over the course of their final day in Brussels, the Fellows began with a meeting with Katharina von Schnurbein, the EU Coordinator on Combatting Antisemitism and Fostering Jewish Life and Pascale Falek, Policy Officer at European Commission. The Fellows then had the opportunity to visit the European Parliament, which included a meeting with Jelena Jovanovic of the EU Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup and MEP Karen Melchior.
A visit to NATO Headquarters rounded out the day. There, the Fellows met with Nicola de Santis, Head of Engagements Section in NATO Public Diplomacy Division and Ruben Diaz-Plaja, Senior Policy Advisor for the Office of the Secretary General at NATO.
From Brussels, the Fellows travelled to Jerusalem to continue the second leg of their Diplomacy Summit by joining the WJC’s Jewish Leadership Bridge delegation to Israel in celebration of Israel’s 75th birthday.
The expanded delegation also comprised members of the WJC’s Executive Committee and Jewish Diplomatic Corps as well as Israeli thought leaders brought together by collaboration with the Jewish Peoplehood Coalition powered by Reut.
In Israel, the action packed program included meetings with representatives of the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as civil society organizations. The highlight of the time spent in Jerusalem, however, was a keynote address delivered by Israel’s President H.E. Mr. Isaac Herzog.
WJC European Affairs Manager Dany Levin Prist provides a comprehensive introduction to the European Union Institutions, offering valuable insights into their structure, functions, and decision-making processes.
Alina Bricman, Director of EU Affairs at B'nai B'rith International, discusses the organization's diplomatic efforts throughout the European Union.
WJC Senior Consultant Michael Whine talks about his work on behalf of the WJC.
A working meeting with Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe (CEJI) discussing the organization's areas of expertise including education, social cohesion, discrimination and xenophobia, hate speech and hate crime, media and digital literacy.
Present at the dinner were members from the Israeli Mission to the European Union, European Commission, European Youth Forum, WJC's Jewish Diplomatic Corps, European Jewish Congress, European Union of Jewish Students, B'nai Brith International, CEJI, and the Belgian Union of Jewish Students.
Katharina von Schnurbein, the European Commission's Coordinator on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life, and Pascale Falek, the Director for Equality at the European Commission, engage in a productive meeting to address and strategize initiatives aimed at combating antisemitism across the European Union.
Jelena Jovanovic, the representative of the Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup, holds a constructive meeting to discuss collaborative efforts in promoting inclusivity, combating racism, and advancing diversity within various sectors across the European Union.
Karen Melchior, Member of the European Parliament (MEP), engages in a fruitful meeting to discuss pressing issues related to human rights, legislation, and the promotion of democratic values within the European Union.
Nicola de Santis, the representative of NATO's Current Political Agenda, participates in a productive meeting to address key strategic priorities and discuss collaborative initiatives aimed at maintaining peace, security, and stability within the NATO alliance and its member countries.
Mr. Ruben-Erik Diaz-Plaja leads a comprehensive discussion on the implementation of the New Strategic Concept, which spans from Madrid to Vilnius. The meeting aimed to foster a deep understanding of the strategic priorities and initiatives necessary to ensure the effective implementation of the concept across the relevant regions, promoting security, cooperation, and resilience within NATO's framework.
A panel of Israeli leaders from the worlds of finance, information technology and sports, discussing their collaboration with diaspora Jewry and engagement with the Tikkun Olam concept through their daily work.
Opening Remarks by Mr. Eli Groner, Managing Director, Koch Disruptive Technologies in Israel & Former Director-General of the Prime Minister’s Office.
Panelists: Ms. Keren Hajioff, Former International Spokeswoman to Israeli Prime Ministers & Former Head, IDF Social Media Office; Mr. Ari Steinberg, Chair, Israel Basketball Administration; Ms. Justine Zwerling, Head of Middle East, Shore Capital Markets & Founding Member, UAE–Israel Business Council.
WJC Elevate, Executive Committee Members, and community leaders came together in a joint session to explore the theme of coexistence in Israel today. The session aimed to foster dialogue and collaboration among key stakeholders, highlighting the importance of peaceful coexistence, promoting interfaith and intercultural understanding, and addressing challenges faced by diverse communities within Israel.
Joint session with representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that will delve into the most pressing global and regional issues of concern to world Jewry. The discussions will aim to foster a greater understanding of the challenges facing our affiliated communities and explore ways in which we can work together to address them.
Opening Remarks by Ms. Shuli Davidovich, Head, Bureau for World Jewish Affairs and World Religions
Moderated by Ms. Hamutal Rogel Fuchs, Head,Jewish Communities Department
Closing Remarks by Amb. Emmanuel Nahshon, Senior Deputy Director General for Public Diplomacy
Ms. Shuli Davidovich, Head, Bureau for World Jewish Affairs and World Religions meets with WJC Elite to discuss pressing geopolitical challenges and develop innovative approaches to address them.
Evening co-organized by WJC and Jewish National Fund-USA to celebrate Israel´s independence, featuring world renowned composer Gil Shohat, accompanied by Daniella Lugassy, Cabra Casay and Shahar Edwi, and special guest performance by Nicole Raviv, together with the winner of the “The Narrow Bridge” song contest.
Keynote address at the official launch of the Leadership Bridge for the Future, a WJC initiative in partnership with the Reut Group and the Jewish Peoplehood Coalition. With a strong emphasis on gathering younger leaders for joint dialogue and action, this innovative program brings together future leaders from WJC-affiliated Diaspora communities with their Israeli counterparts to foster dialogue, understanding and unity.
Lauder Fellows sat down with Ms. Christine Cassiers, Political Officer at the EU delegation to Israel, for an insightful discussion on EU-Israel relations, as well as delving into the day-to-day activities of a diplomat.
The Lauder Fellows and members of EUJS and WUJS closed the Diplomacy Summit at the Kotel, where they reflected on the Summit and the year as a whole.