Muhanad Alkharaz, an Arava alum from West Bank (right), talks with CU Boulder faculty member Dr. Bernard Amedei (left) and CUI reporter Kristin Oh (far right) during a meeting with former members of Israel's Arava Institute Jan. 30, 2017. (Cody Enboden/CU Independent)

Former students of Israel’s environmental Arava Institute visit CU Boulder, promote peace

Alumni from the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, a school and research program on the border between Israel and Jordan, visited the CU Boulder campus Monday in hope of inspiring students to study at the institute and to promote its diverse campus. The school pushes students to promote peace through addressing cross-national environmental issues.

The Arava Institute focuses on environmental science research ranging from sustainable agriculture to water management. Its research and projects are used to benefit local communities, where students develop skills necessary for a career in environmental science and an appreciation for other cultures. The school community consists of Jordanians, Palestinians, Israelis and students from around the world.

“What makes this program very special is not only the academic program but also the multicultural environment that it creates,” alumus Muhanad Alkharaz said.

One of their projects includes gray-water treatment for rural communities. With the school’s help, locals can save their money by adjusting the way they use their water.

Despite political tensions between various Middle East nations, young students from places all over the world such as Boston, Boulder, Israel and Palestine come together to study. By finding this common ground, students hope that Arava alumni will help them in possible leadership positions.

The students develop mutual relationships with foreign countries by interacting with classmates. Their hope is that Arava alumni will help govern their countries and, as a result of a mutual respect for one another, resolve issues better and with little conflict.

For instance, Alkharaz is originally from Nablus, Palestine, whereas alumna Zuhar Weiss is from Karmiel, Israel. Despite political turmoil in their native countries, Arava has provided a platform for them to work together toward a common goal.

“The focus of Arava’s work is the idea that regardless of political boundaries or regardless of where you’re from, the environmental issues that are affecting the region are issues that everyone has to care about,” said Ari Massefski, a university relations manager with Friends of the Arava Institute in Boston.

Contact CU Independent General Assignment News Editor Kristin Oh at kristin.oh@colorado.edu.

About Kristin Oh

I am the general news editor. I cover events and interviews. Originally from Colorado Spring, CO. I'm studying journalism and media production.

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