December 16, 2019 — Jerusalem, Israel
A bipartisan delegation of Secretaries of State from across the United States are visiting Israel with the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) Project Interchange. The program features in-depth discussions on cybersecurity policies and practices at the state, local, and federal level as it relates to business services, election administration, and records management.
The weeklong educational seminar further aims to enhance U.S.- Israel relations at the vital state level. A number of American states have been expanding commercial and other ties with Israel. The 11-member delegation is chaired by Paul Pate of Iowa, President of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) and Iowa Secretary of State. This is the first NASS delegation to visit Israel in partnership with Project Interchange.
“As key state executives, Secretaries of State are uniquely on the forefront of today’s most complex issues, including election cybersecurity. My fellow Secretaries and I are excited to partner with AJC Project Interchange to not only relay our important work to the region, but also learn from their leaders and compare notes,” said Pate.
“Secretaries of State are key leaders in the U.S., and foster important public policy, while working closely with all branches of government and business,” said Nisha Abkarian, AJC Project Interchange Director. “With their vital role supervising elections and promoting bilateral business exchanges, we are truly delighted with this new partnership, and to host our first-ever NASS delegation in Israel.”
The seminar will provide the state officials with a firsthand understanding of Israel and mutually-beneficial bilateral ties. During the visit, they will learn about Israel, known as the “Start Up Nation”; its vibrant democracy, diverse population, regional challenges, and economic and technological innovation, and the shared values between the U.S. and Israel.
Delegation participants include: Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, Alaska Lt. Governor Kevin Meyer, Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab, Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton, Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way, West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner, and Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Buchanan.
The group will meet with influential figures across the political and social spectrum, leaders of Israel’s minority communities, and business leaders. The delegation will participate in comprehensive discussions with top leaders of Israel's National Cyber Directorate, and focus on collaboration between government, academia, and the private sector. In addition to visiting significant historic, cultural and religious sites across Israel, the delegation will visit Tel Aviv, Haifa, Israel’s northern and southern borders, and Jerusalem—including the Old City. The delegation also will meet with Palestinian civic and business leaders in Ramallah in the Palestinian Authority.
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AJC Project Interchange: For over 35 years, AJC Project Interchange (American Jewish Committee) has brought 6,000 influential figures to Israel from 110+ countries and all 50 U.S. states, offering broad exposure and first-hand understanding of the complex issues facing Israel and the region. www.projectinterchange.org
National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS): Founded in 1904, NASS is the nation's oldest, nonpartisan professional organization for public officials. NASS serves as a medium for the exchange of information between states and fosters cooperation in the development of public policy. The association has key initiatives in the areas of elections and voting, state business services, and state heritage/archives. https://www.nass.org