Rome, Vatican City – Under the leadership of WJC President Ronald S. Lauder, a delegation of 39 members of WJC’s NextGen and WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps from 16 countries travelled to Rome and Vatican City last week to attend the World Jewish Congress Executive Committee — a gathering of senior Jewish community leaders from around the globe. The delegation was under the banner of WJC’s future leadership programming, which encompasses individuals aged 16-45, who work to develop, engage, and empower our Jewish communities’ future leaders.
As the highlight of the event, the WJC Future Leadership members partook in a working meeting with WJC Treasurer Chella Safra. During the discussion, where Mrs. Safra discussed key challenges for a Jewish future with this group of leaders that will be charged with ensuring continuity of Jewish communities for the long-term, she expressed her strong support for these next generation leaders.
Mrs. Safra emphasized the need to instill a strong sense of Jewish identity, as an effective method of ensuring life-long Jewish activism, including on college campuses. As a result of this meeting, the WJC will be implementing such programming driven by the Future Leadership group.
As a side event of the larger Executive Committee meeting, the WJC JDCorps organized its first Women Representation in Jewish Leadership Seminar, to discuss the importance and benefits of a diverse leadership structure in Jewish community leadership. Over the course of the event the group participated in brainstorming and planning sessions to shape actions for a more inclusive Jewish future.
The World Jewish Congress and WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps have already undertook essential steps such towards this goal:
- The Executive Committee of the WJC, under the leadership of President Ronald S. Lauder appointed a WJC Commissioner for Diversity and Gender Equality as recommended by the WJC JDCorps. Marie van der Zyl, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews accepted the position and will spearhead this initiative.
- During the last WJC Plenary Session, the WJC passed a resolution to empower more women in leadership positions, incorporating a panel pledge to ensure equal participation. For both documents members of the WJC JDCorps were an integral part to form the language and policies as well.
- And it’s support and empowerment of the WJC JDCorps Women Representation in Leadership project team to drive change within the Jewish World.
Members of the Future Leadership delegation led sessions for Executive Committee representatives and professional staff focusing on the importance of inclusive leadership and on global challenges facing Jewish communities around the world. During the session, members of the Executive Committee and Future Leadership equally had a chance to learn about and discuss issues affecting young Jewish leadership, including the climate crisis, minority rights, and threats to democracy.
The delegation’s agenda concluded with a unique meeting, during which the members of the WJC Executive Committee and Future Leadership attended a private audience of His Holiness Pope Francis at which WJC President Lauder presented the Kishrenu initiative for the furtherance of the Catholic-Jewish relationship.