Amid a massive surge in anti-Zionist and antisemitic incidents at colleges and K-12 schools around the country, American Jewish Committee (AJC) today announced at AJC Global Forum the establishment of the Center for Education Advocacy. 

The Center will work to transform educational spaces for Jewish students by preparing young Jews to be leaders in high school, college, and beyond; working with university presidents, trustees, and faculty as well as K-12 administrators to create academic environments where Jews and Zionism can thrive; and by empowering parents to advocate for their children and for the Jewish community.

“Since the October 7 Hamas terror attack in Israel, Jewish students and educators across the country have faced verbal and physical harassment for simply being Jewish,” said AJC CEO Ted Deutch. “We must empower every student, parent, and administrator to confront the challenges they are facing. As we build on our strong record of advocacy in the education space, the Center’s bold, multi-tiered approach to education advocacy will allow us to effect even more positive and lasting change.”

The Center’s founding comes on the heels of pro-Hamas, anti-Israel, and antisemitic protests on dozens of college campuses. The tent encampments, occupation of academic buildings, and demonstrations left many Jewish students feeling vulnerable and isolated, with some fearing for their safety and concealing their Jewish identity on campus.

“Jewish citizens of educational spaces must be able to learn and grow without threats of harassment, intimidation, and violence. The Center will work with university and K-12 administrators to ensure they create and sustain campus and school cultures with zero tolerance for antisemitism and deep commitment to civic education, democratic values and fact-based inquiry,” said Dr. Laura Shaw Frank, Director of the Center. “We will empower Jewish students by providing them with the skills and cohorts they need to flourish as strong Jewish advocates on campus and beyond.”

The Center will integrate and expand upon AJC’s existing work in the academic, and student and parent empowerment spaces, including: 

  • Alexander Young Leadership: to give high school and college students the confidence, education, and skills they need through initiatives including the Leaders for Tomorrow (LFT) advocacy program and the Campus Global Board, among other innovative leadership programs.
  • Academic Affairs: to help university and K-12 administrators create campus communities with a heightened understanding of antisemitism; increased sensitivity to Jewish history, identity, and culture; and proactive strategies to face Jew-hatred head-on. 
  • Education Advocacy and Training: to develop resources, tools and trainings for parents, school boards, Jewish Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), and other constituencies in a position to influence and alter educational settings.