February 4, 2019 — New York
American Jewish Committee (AJC) has appointed Nisha Abkarian as director of Project Interchange, the global Jewish advocacy organization’s signature educational program introducing Israel to leaders from the U.S. and other countries around the world.
“I am honored to serve as director of this transformative organization," said Abkarian, who first came to Project Interchange in 2006 and has served as deputy director since 2012. "At a time when challenges to Israel and the Jewish people have never been greater, Project Interchange plays a unique role in expanding ties among global leaders, Jewish communities and Israel."
The pioneering Project Interchange has, for more than 36 years, brought leaders to Israel for weeklong educational seminars introducing them to Israel. Through Project Interchange, more than 6,000 leaders from 110 countries and all 50 U.S. states have gained in-depth insights into Israel via direct engagement with Israeli leaders. These collective experiences build understanding and common ground. Meetings with Palestinian leaders provide additional insight into life in the Palestinian Authority and the complexities of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.
“We are fortunate to have a professional of Nisha’s caliber and experience at the helm of Project Interchange, an AJC institute with the unique capacity to deepen global leaders' engagement with Israel, a country offering so much hope and promise in the world today,” said AJC CEO David Harris. “I have known Nisha for decades. She is the right person at the right time to lead this essential program.”
Abkarian joined Project Interchange 13 years ago to launch its now pivotal international delegation program. As Deputy Director, Nisha led and directed implementation of several strategic and institutional capacity-building initiatives, expanded Project Interchange to dozens of countries, engaged in donor outreach, developed programs for thousands of participants, added alumni engagement and measurement and evaluation programs, and supervised the Project Interchange professional team.
Prior to coming to AJC Project Interchange, Abkarian worked in legislative, international affairs and community advocacy with AJC’s Washington, D.C. office, the New York State legislature, and U.S. embassies in Saudi Arabia and China. A graduate of the University of Rochester and the London School of Economics, she speaks French, Hebrew, Chinese, and Russian.
AJC maintains headquarters in New York, 22 Regional Offices across the U.S., 12 international posts in Asia, Europe, Israel, and Latin America, and 37 partnership agreements with Jewish communities around the globe. AJC was the first American Jewish organization to establish a full-time office in Israel, nearly 60 years ago.