Black College Presidents Arrive in Israel for Groundbreaking Trip as Part of AJC Project Interchange
A delegation of presidents from Historically Black Colleges and Universities has arrived in Israel, as part of a groundbreaking program to create new academic and research partnerships between American and Israeli universities and expand the research capacity of participant universities.
The six-day trip is hosted by AJC Project Interchange (PI), an educational institute of the American Jewish Committee, as part of new agreement with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, which supports students and programs at HBCUs.
The delegation is slated to visit leading Israeli universities, including Tel Aviv University, Technion and Hebrew University, which are leading centers for medical and technology research.
TMCF founder Dr. N. Joyce Payne will also join the delegation along with TMCF President and CEO Dr. Harry L. Williams.
The presidents will also meet with leaders at the BIRD and BARD foundations, which promote U.S.-Israeli cooperation in such areas as water science, energy, cybersecurity and agriculture, an important topic given that many HBCUs are land-grant universities and have well-regarded agriculture programs.
The delegation is also scheduled to meet with Palestinian policymakers in the West Bank and hear about how Israeli Arabs are becoming an integral part of Israel’s technology sector.
“To learn the full story of Israel, it’s vital to see it in action. There really is no substitute for first-hand experience,” said AJC Project Interchange Director Nisha Abkarian. “Israel is on the cutting edge of so many fields, from agriculture to cyber, and there is a great potential, through this new partnership, for HBCUs to forge important connections with their Israeli counterparts.”
Since 1982, AJC Project Interchange has brought together opinion leaders and policymakers from over 120 countries to Israel for intensive travel study programs.
"I am excited to represent TMCF on this historic trip to Israel,” Williams said. “We are always looking to explore new opportunities while raising awareness of the importance of the work we are doing as an organization. To learn about the wonderful work in the science and medical fields that is currently happening in Israel is great."
TMCF has supported nearly 300,000 students at HBCUs and Predominantly Black Institutions to create pathways to economic mobility and lucrative careers. TMCF has awarded more than $300 million in scholarships since its founding in 1987 and boasts a 97% graduation rate for students in its programs.
The HBCU delegation includes:
- Makola Mjasiri Abdullah, Virginia State University
- Paul Anthony Jones, Fort Valley State University
- Charlotte Patterson Morris, Tuskegee University
- Larry Robinson, Florida A&M University
- Kent Joseph Smith, Jr., Langston University
- Daniel Kent Wims, Alabama A&M University
University presidents and chancellors have been among the 6,000 participants in AJC Project Interchange programs over the last 40 years. This is the first delegation designed exclusively for HBCU leaders and is slated to be held annually.