When founder and current president Professor Uriel Reichman formulated IDCs mission statement 20 years ago, he based it on the Zionist ideal of contributing to the State of Israel and the Jewish People. No mere idealistic dreamer, Reichman realized from the start that excellence cannot be created in a vacuum. The greatest motivation to succeed cannot be limited to inward-looking individualism, but must also be based in a consciousness of the world.
Today, IDC boasts dozens of volunteer social service programs, which continuously make inroads into the social environment and serve as reminders of ones accountability towards those who need help, generosity and assistance. Social involvement also serves to emphasize the concept of freedom and responsibility, teaching students to cherish freedom, liberalism, democracy and the free enterprise spirit that will become a primary component in their future success.
A sense of mission and Zionism
During last summers Operation Protective Edge, IDC students proved that Reichmans mission statement is as relevant as ever. In the midst of the fierce conflict against Hamas in the Gaza Strip – during which three IDC Herzliya alumni were killed in battle – Israels position was not always adequately represented abroad. Motivated by a strong sense of mission and Zionism, IDCs Student Union opened an Advocacy Room, whose purpose was to strengthen Israels legitimacy and to increase international awareness of the Israeli perspective.
More than 650 volunteers worked in the Advocacy Room throughout the operation – for 30 days, 18 hours a day. Among their accomplishments: 117 countries used the website that was created at the beginning of the operation and was translated into 29 different languages; 40 million people were exposed to the materials that the students created; five Facebook pages in five different languages were maintained (with over 90,000 likes); 11 videos were produced, and 700 original advocacy pictures and materials were created and translated into different languages.
Moreover, the Advocacy Room had 10,800 followers on Twitter, with hundreds of thousands of re-tweets; and 1,500 influential people and community leaders in 72 different countries received helpful material directly from the Room on a daily basis.
The activities of the Advocacy Room were unique in Israel and generated a great deal of attention worldwide; with articles about it published in leading newspapers such as The New York Times and The Guardian.
Studying in English
Zionism has always been at the heart of IDC. The Raphael Recanati International School (RRIS) was established to allow students from around the world to benefit from high-level academic programs by offering courses in English. If you want to do business these days, you need to know English, says Jonathan Davis, Head of RRIS and VP for External Relations. The fact that we teach in English enables those who dont know Hebrew well enough to be able to come and study in Israel. Its a great way of permitting a critical mass of people to study in a familiar environment. In addition, many veteran Israelis who would like to perfect their English-language skills and meet students from other countries also study at RRIS.
RRIS currently comprises around 1,650 students from all over the world, out of a total student body of 6,500, including significant numbers from the United States, Canada, Europe, Latin America, South Africa, Australia, the Former Soviet Union and many other countries. With this distinctly international flavor on campus, it is not surprising that IDC firmly encourages global networking. When you graduate from IDC you have friends all over the world, notes Davis.
One of the cornerstones of IDC is to do everything in our power to strengthen the bond between overseas Jewish communities and the State of Israel, Davis continues. Many of our students take an ulpan and improve their Hebrew. In the summer, we run a community ulpan that is open to non-students as well. In fact, 70% of those who study here end up staying in Israel on a permanent basis, and many of our graduates serve in the IDF. It makes us one of the largest academic absorption centers in the country, if not the largest!
For me, says Jonathan Davis, having been a former lone soldier in the paratroopers and student in Israel who was not provided with the benefits of the RRIS, it is a pleasure to have come full circle, in helping others.
Hit the ground running
Studies at IDC Herzliya focus on providing students with all the tools required to thrive in todays swiftly changing business environment. Whether its an MBA, a degree in Organizational Behavior or any one of the other varied offerings, the curriculum always combines a unique blend of academic material and practical experience. Adjacent to the heartland of Israels high-tech industrial zone, students can study and work with the very individuals who put the Miracle Start-Up Nation on the global map. Entrepreneurs and researchers offer courses and work-study programs; and the school encourages students to initiate, innovate, invent and create. As a result, they enter the workforce with both a very valuable degree and the experience necessary to hit the ground running.
Thanks to a wide range of scholarships, including the Keren Or program, IDC tries to make tuition fees less of an obstacle to students from socio-economic sectors who might otherwise have to forego a top-quality university education.
IDCs Israel at Heart Program boasts one of the highest per capita number of Ethiopian-Israeli students in the country; and IDC has a higher percentage of former IDF officers and elite unit reservists than any other university in Israel. At IDC, IDF reservists returning from army duty receive support, with the staff helping them catch up on their course work and reschedule their exams. Furthermore, officers applying to IDC are exempt from taking the national standardized psychometric exam – one of the principal criteria for admission to Israeli universities.
IDC prides itself on its strong sense of community on campus. An open-door policy enables students and faculty to work together; and counseling and assistance ensures that students can devote their entire attention to the task at hand. Moreover, the IDC Herzliya Hillel House serves as a hub for Jewish activities on campus, enriching students lives with meaningful Jewish experiences. Hillel House strives to meet the specific needs of international, veteran Israeli and new immigrant students through activities that celebrate the broad spectrum of languages and cultures in Israel, such as Friday evening Shabbat dinners, trips around Israel, weekend seminars and celebrations of Jewish and Israeli holidays.
For more information about the IDC Herzliya, visit www.idc.ac.il.
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