aChord Center takes part in this year's general assembly
Immediately following the opening plenary for this year's Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) General Assembly in Tel Aviv, Prof. Eran Halperin, the co-founder of aChord Center, presented on a panel entitled "Israeli Arabs: Leveling the Playing Field" to a standing-room only crowd. The panel was moderated by Michal Steinman, Executive Director of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Israeli Arab Issues, and included Suzan Hassan-Daher, Director of Programs for Arabs and Career Advancement at JDC-Tevet, and Prof. Mona Khoury-Kassabri, Chair of President Rivlin's Israeli Hope in Academia initiative and Dean of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s School of Social Work, as co-panelists
Professor Halperin opened by asking the audience to imagine a future where Government Resolution 922, the Israeli development plan for the Arab sector, is a resounding success. He described how language, politics, culture, and even identity could look differently. While G.R. 922 was a huge opportunity, he said, it was also laden with risk. In response to Ms. Steinman's question about the major obstacles to truly "leveling the playing field" in Israel, Prof. Halperin explained that the first entailed motivating the high-power group to change the status quo, and the second was a dispelling the disbelief among the low-power group that systematic change is in fact possible.
Ms. Hassan-Daher spoke to the fact that the majority of the Arab population is not prepared for the future of employment and lack the "soft-skills" to effectively find relevant positions. Prof. Khoury-Kassabri detailed the particular challenges Arab candidates face in higher education. Despite the sometimes bleak picture, each panelist lauded the huge strides made in the past few years and commended the efforts currently under way, such as aChord Center's partnership with Collective Impact and Power in Diversity program.