Israel as a global citizen
Pears Foundation encourages Israel to keep faith with its founders’ vision to be a force for good in the world by sharing expertise and resources with developing countries.
This is the vision at the heart of our flagship Pears Scholars initiative, which provides scholarships for students in developing countries to study public health and agriculture in Israel. We also work to create support infrastructure for the emerging Israeli international development sector.
With the aim of creating deeper academic understanding about Israel, we are supporting lectureships at British universities in Israeli and Middle Eastern Studies and the creation of a European Association of Israel Studies.
We encourage academic co-operation between British and Israeli universities through BIRAX, a joint initiative with the British Council.
Our Pears Scholars initiative contributes essential skills and builds lasting relationships between Israel and the developing world.
This is rooted in the vision of Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, who said:
“Our Government has deemed it a principal aim of foreign policy to form links with the people of Asia and help their development… We must find room for more of their youth in our institutions of higher learning and facilitate practical training… in an attitude of humility and fraternity.”
A growing number of Pears alumni have completed the Hebrew University-Hadassah International Masters in Public Health and returned to their home countries as leaders in their field.
Positions currently held by alumni include Senior Health Officer for the Red Cross East Africa and Head of Monitoring and Evaluation for Nigeria’s Malaria Control Programme.
By 2015 over sixty scholars will have graduated from this programme, supported by a flourishing alumni network.
A parallel programme with the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Agriculture, Food and the Environment supports students to study for their masters degrees in Plant and Nutritional Sciences.
In addition, the Foundation funds scholarships for students from the developing world to take part in the University’s new “Glocal” masters programme for Community Development Studies.
Building Israel’s international development sector
Former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir highlighted the importance of Israel’s foreign aid programme, saying:“I am prouder of Israel’s international cooperation programme… than I am of any other single project we have ever undertaken. It typifies the drive towards social justice that is at the very heart of…Judaism.”
In this spirit our international development research partnership with Tel Aviv University is currently investigating ways that the country could contribute high technology to tackle development challenges. We also partner with IsraAid, which utilises Israel’s experience in emergency situations, to provide assistance and emergency relief around the world and the NALA Foundation, which is working to eradicate neglected tropical disease in Africa.
The Foundation is supporting Israel’s emerging international development NGO sector through a grant to establish an Israeli branch of the Society for International Development (SID). Launched in March 2013, SID will provide co-ordination, training and capacity building and facilitate collaboration.
Sharing academic expertise
In partnership with the British Council in Israel, we created the Britain-Israel Research and Academic Exchange Partnership (BIRAX), a major initiative launched by the Prime Ministers of both countries in 2008.
BIRAX aims to strengthen academic links between universities in the UK and Israel and create new ones.
In 2011 the scheme developed into the BIRAX Regenerative Medicine Initiative, a 5-year programme to deepen and promote collaboration between the UK and Israel. The scheme supports joint applications for collaborative, cutting edge research projects which will have a significant impact on global health.
We are also investing in the HESPAL scheme with the British Council in the Palestinian Territories to develop links between Palestinian and UK universities and provide postgraduate scholarships to support the next generation of Palestinian academics.
Improving scholarship about Israel
Pears Foundation is building the capacity of Israel Studies as an academic discipline in British universities through our support for higher education posts at the Universities of Manchester, Leeds, Sussex and SOAS.
We have also provided start up funding and support to establish the European Association of Israel Studies.
We are a core funder of the Olive Tree Initiative, which works with students to promote conflict analysis and resolution through experiential education. On the ground in Israel we support the Center for New Diplomacy, a non-partisan initiative which facilitates in-depth study trips to Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Territories. Both programmes enable participants to develop a more informed perspective on the region.