Friends of the Arava Institute Annual Public Forum

You are Invited to Join

the Friends of the Arava Institute

April 27th in Washington DC

The Friends of the Arava Institute Board of Trustees cordially invites you to join us for our second annual Public Forum and Reception. The Public Forum will focus on the vital cross-border cooperation and environmental leadership role played by the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies (Arava Institute) and its alumni.

During the event you will have the opportunity to meet with and learn from some of the 800 outstanding Arava Institute alumni who work together as friends, allies, colleagues, and partners to achieve the Arava Institute’s vision of a sustainable and peaceful Middle East.

Event Schedule:

Public Forum and Reception

The Public Forum will be held from 2:00pm-6:30pm followed by a reception at the Washington Court Hotel, 525 New Jersey Avenue, NW Washington DC 20001.

Public Forum keynote speakers Dr. Gonen Sagy (Israeli, Arava Institute ‘04) Program Director & Faculty Member Nairooz Qupty (Palestinian, Arava Institute ’13) will present the Youth Environmental Education Peace Initiative (YEEPI). Designed by Arava Institute alumni and faculty, and recognized as a ground breaking and unique model by the U.S. Institute of Peace and USAID, YEEPI is revolutionizing the Israeli school system by establishing partnerships between Jewish and Arab high schools, including schools in East and West Jerusalem. 

Arava Institute Executive Director, David Lehrer will provide an update on the Arava Institute. The program also includes an Arava Institute alumni panel discussion.

The Public Forum will be followed by a light reception from 6:30pm-7:30pm, during which attendees will have the opportunity to speak with Arava Institute alumni and Friends of the Arava Institute Board of Trustees.


Dr. Gonen Sagy, YEEPI Program Director

Dr. Gonen Sagy, director of YEEPI, spent a life changing year studying at the Arava Institute in 2004. Since that time he has earned a PhD in Jewish and Arab environmental education at Ben Gurion University. In addition to directing YEEPI, Dr. Sagy is a peace and environment teacher and activist.

Nairooz Qupty, YEEPI Leader

Nairooz Qupty, a YEEPI leader, studied at the Arava Institute in Spring of 2013. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in marine geology and is looking to combine her environmental studies with the transboundary and interdisciplinary perspective she developed during her year of study at the Arava Institute.

David Lehrer, Arava Institute Executive Director

Arava Institute Executive Director, David Lehrer holds a joint Masters Degree in Management Science from Boston University and Ben Gurion University. David Lehrer has served as a business consultant for kibbutzim, small businesses, the Hevel Eilot Regional Council and the United Kibbutz Movement. His research includes studies on the effectiveness of the ISO 14001 environmental management system and sustainable development in the Dead Sea basin. David Lehrer is presently pursuing a doctorate at Ben Gurion University’s School of Management researching the economic impact of invasive species on the Nitzanim Dunes in Israel.

Elisabeth Kvitashvili, Depty Assistant Administrator in USAID Bureau for the Middle East

Elisabeth Kvitashvili is deputy assistant administrator in USAID’s Bureau for the Middle East, with oversight of Iraq, Jordan and Yemen programs. She previously served with the U.S. Mission to the U.N. Agencies in Rome as humanitarian affairs counselor to the U.S. ambassador.

Event Logistics:


  • The Washington Court Hotel
    • Event: Public Forum/ Reception
    • Meeting Group: General Public & Board Members
    • Time: 2:00pm-7:30pm Sunday 27th, 2014
    • Address: 525 New Jersey Avenue, NW Washington DC 20001
    • Telephone Number: (202) 628-2100


Please RSVP by April 1st to Diana Webster, FAI Executive Assistant & Office Manager, at or call (617) 266-7100