The StandWithUs Israel Fellowship program launches in December with an Opening Conference for all the fellows from across the country at Hanukkah-time — this lays out the aims of the program and inspires students as they begin their journey in the Fellowship. The program concludes with a Graduation Ceremony in July where they each receive a certificate signed by the Director-General of the Foreign Ministry and StandWithUs. The program is divided into three main parts:
Sessions take place on the university campuses every two weeks for 4 hours at a time, or on an online platform every week for 2 hours at a time. The content of the sessions tackles issues from the world of diplomacy: how Israel is perceived in the eyes of the world; how this image is formed; current trends in anti-Israel activity and more.
Workshops and Tours
The workshops focus on acquiring practical tools for leaders: formulating messages and adapting them to a target audience; improving body language; conducting a debate; speaking in front of a camera; an “answering tough questions about Israel” workshop; storytelling workshop and more.
Fellows also attend Strategic Tours to get a firsthand perspective on contentious issues relating to Israel and to better cultivate responses to tough questions, using what they learned and experienced at various sites of importance. StandWithUs believes that there is nothing better than hands-on experience coupled with training by renowned experts to illustrate to the students the issues discussed during the theoretical sessions. In recent years, tours have focused on Judea and Samaria/the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.
The work on each campus’ annual project is launched during the program’s annual Retreat Seminar. This is a two-day seminar held before Passover that provides students with business and practical tools for project management, setting goals and building metrics to achieve them, raising funds, working with the media and collaborating with other organizations. At this retreat, each campus group begins work on their year-end project and develops a “game plan” to implement their respective program.
The year-end Project
The program encourages entrepreneurship and student leadership with the help of the annual projects unique to the program. Students on each campus are given the opportunity to express their personal interpretation of Israel’s story, tailoring it for different audiences around the world. The annual project allows the program participants not only to enrich their knowledge, but also to join the Israel diplomacy efforts and gain practical experience in entrepreneurship and innovation. Throughout the year, the fellows are responsible for all the project logistics, from obtaining financing to scouting and recruiting participants from all over the world, securing speakers, organizing tours, promoting the program and arranging flights and accommodations (if the project involves travelling to Israel).