Semester Course List

For a full list of course descriptions, click here.

Please scroll down for information on Spring 2017 courses. This list is still being updated.

Fall 2016

Alternative Energy Science

Taught by Dr. Tareq Abu Hamed

Modern society relies on stable, readily available energy supplies. Renewable energy is an increasingly important component of the new energy mix. The course covers history, utilization and storage for renewable technologies such as wind, solar, biomass, fuel cells and hybrid systems. The course also touches upon the environmental consequences of energy conversion and how renewable energy can reduce air pollution and global climate change.

Course Structure:

  1. Understand the utilization and storage for renewable technologies such as wind, solar, biomass, fuel cells and hybrid systems and for more conventional fossil fuel-based technologies.
  2. Understand the environmental consequences of energy conversion and how renewable energy can reduce air pollution and global climate change.
  3. Understand and evaluate the regional environmental problems and the role of the renewable energy in solving and minimizing these problems.

Click here to download the syllabus.

Conflict or Cooperation? The Politics and Economics of Trans-border Environmental Issues

Taught by Dr. Dan Tamir

This is an interdisciplinary course examining the environment threats and opportunities facing the Middle East (specifically: Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon) and what role the environment can play in promoting cooperation between sworn enemies. The course will look at four areas of both conflict and potential cooperation: water supply, air quality, renewable energy, and biodiversity conservation. We will begin by examining traditional methods of diplomacy and conflict resolution before exploring methods of economic cooperation through market mechanisms and structured environmental mediation. Students will participate in a series of simulated water negotiations to integrate the knowledge and tools learned during the course. Finally, we will examine how environmental activists and professionals are taking a leading role in building the foundation for trust in the region. The course utilizes economic tools, history, natural resource management and social theory to approach some of the most relevant and challenging issues of our era, whose lessons may be applicable around the globe.

A syllabus will be uploaded soon. Please check back soon. 

Environmental Education: From Theory to Practice

Taught by Dr. Miri Lavi-Neeman & Dr. Hanan Ginat

This course begins with a historical overview of the main themes and different concepts and approaches to environmental education in the world in the 21st century, and then examines various methods of learning and teaching about the environment and the connections between the environment, education, and the community. There will be one daylong local field trip. Each student will prepare a personal project that will include developing, and optionally, running an environmental program for school-aged children.

Click here to download the syllabus.

Environmental Leadership Seminar

Facilitated by Rina Kedem

In the Environmental Leadership Seminar (EL), students and interns explore environmental leadership from a unique regional perspective and in the context of their own multicultural campus community. EL introduces environmental leadership through a range of sessions and workshops held over each semester. While working together as a community and in small groups, participants explore a wide range of topics including environmental entrepreneurship, project management, holistic models for environmental living, and environmental policy and politics. In addition, each semester, EL welcomes guest speakers who bring a wealth of knowledge about current environmental initiatives.

Geographic Information Systems

The course is an introduction to the concepts and application of geographic information systems and science (GIS). It is designed for students without former GIS experience. It focuses on the use of GIS for scientific inquiry and on its application for real-world problem solving. Different types of GIS spatial analysis are studied and applied such as suitability analysis, surface analysis and 3D analysis. Case studies from various environmental research domains are used as demonstrations. Each lesson is comprised of a theoretical introduction and of an exercise. The exercises include training on the ArcGIS® Desktop software package. The final project consists of designing and applying a GIS analysis model relevant to the student’s field of interest.

Click here to download the syllabus.

Hebrew for students on the MASA program

Taught by Liat Elman

In this course we will learn the basics of the Hebrew language; the Hebrew alphabet, reading, writing, conversation vocabulary, useful expressions, slang and more. Class time will be used mainly to develop verbal communication skills in a present form. During the semester (according to the class level) we’ll start learning past form.

We will explore aspects of the Jewish culture; holidays, customs, and heritage. In addition we will get a taste of the Israeli folklore through music, art, humor, slang, food…

This course is intended for MASA students, but other students may be able to participate on a case by case basis. Language learning is strongly encouraged generally among students outside of the classroom.

 

Introduction to Soil Sciences

Taught by Dr. Jawad Shoqeir

Introduction to Sustainable Agriculture

Taught by Dr. Elaine Solowey

This course presents an overview of approaches to sustainable agriculture, comparing environmental impacts of sustainable agriculture to conventional agriculture. Subjects include crop diversity, smart breeding, permaculture, bio-intensive agriculture, large-scale organics, water-saving techniques, IPM and restoration ecology. Students complete essay questions in an open book exam, do a project of their choosing, take one field trip, and visit and evaluate crops in the experimental fields at Kibbutz Ketura.

Click here to download the syllabus.

Methodology & Research Seminar

Taught by Dr. Gabi Banat & Dr. Dan Tamir
This seminar provides a framework for students interested in pursuing an independent research project while enrolled in the undergraduate program. Students are matched up with an academic advisor from the Arava Institute or elsewhere in the region whom they meet with on a weekly basis. Research should be centered around work that can only be done in Israel, the Palestinian Authority, or Jordan, such as working with particular communities or dealing with a region-specific issue. All types of research are possible, whether they are scientifically or sociologically based. The seminar can also act as a support for research the student is currently undertaking at their home university. All students are required to write a research proposal, give an oral presentation at the end of the semester, and write a final research paper.

It is expected that students undertaking the seminar have some prior experience in conducting research. Framework includes support in research design, research writing, and presentation of results.

A syllabus will be uploaded momentarily. Please check back soon. 

Peace-Building Leadership Seminar*

Facilitated by Kate Cohen

In line with the Arava Institute’s mission to generate capacity-building for conciliation and cooperation, all students and interns participate in a weekly Peace-building Leadership Seminar (PLS). In this seminar, students engage in dialogue exploring issues of culture, religion, identity, coexistence, and the current political situation, while developing competencies in intercultural understanding and empathy.

PLS builds on the conviction that the social and political relationships within and between groups in the region have a significant influence on environmental practices, public policies, and grassroots environmental activism. PLS takes advantage of the Arava Institute’s own community as a microcosm of the region, building the tools and understanding necessary to foster environmental sustainability, social justice, and respect in the broader society. Every student, no matter the country of origin, has the opportunity to contribute significantly to this ongoing dialogue.

PLS sessions take place weekly throughout the academic year, with each session addressing different aspects of the program’s learning objectives. PLS group activities and one-on-one discussion groups contribute to students’ developing a repertoire of respectful and consensus-building interactions. In addition, each semester, PLS welcomes guest speakers who bring a wealth of knowledge about current coexistence initiatives.

The Bible as a Key to Environmental Thought

Taught by Rabbi Michael Cohen

This survey course will analyze the environmental dimensions and lessons of the book of Genesis and other books of the Bible, and at times from other traditions as well. Through the use of mostly contemporary commentators the text of the Bible will also be read as an environmental text. The course will also examine the scores of references to nature and the environment with an eye to asking how and why they are used in the biblical narratives. On another level the text also forces us to confront and explore our relationship with the environment. In addition the course will explore the prevailing universal themes of journey, exile, family dynamics, and personal growth with the understanding that our interaction with the environment can only be better understood if we understand ourselves better. At times this course will also look at the Biblical texts through a Conflict Resolution lens.

 

Spring 2017

Basics of Organic Food Production

Taught by Dr. Elaine Solowey

This course presents information about small-scale organic food production, its potential and its problems. Students will also explore the social and economic aspects of producing one’s own organic food and engage students in practicing soil enrichment techniques, composting, container gardening and keeping small livestock as well as seed saving, food storage, food preparation, slow food movements and the active preservation of heirloom fruits vegetables and animal breeds.

Click here to download the syllabus.

 

Critical Social Sustainability

Taught by Dr. Miri Lavi-Neeman

Sustainability, it seems, is everywhere—in activism, ecology, popular culture, and industry. In the face of economic and environmental crisis, and unprecedented rates of urbanization, the term has become omnipresent and at times overused across various social arenas and in policy circles. This is perhaps an indication to a deep shared desire for a sustainable future. But the increasing popularity of the term presents us with competing and at times contradictory meanings and application of the term that poses challenges for sustainability scholarship and practice.

This course looks at sustainability and its arguably contradictory win-win goals of economic growth, environmental integrity, and social equity, from perspectives developed in human, critical & urban political geography. The course is organized in roughly three parts:

Click here to download the syllabus.

Desert Ecology

Taught by Dr. Elli Groner

This course will teach the principles and processes of desert ecology. The course starts with an introduction to deserts of the world and why deserts are considered hazards for life. Then we study adaptations to the hazards of deserts and then move from the individuals to the desert food-web and ecosystem and study what makes deserts special. The course ends with studying human-nature interactions including ecosystem services and desert management.

During the course the students will study a variety of field work methods which will lead to essays. The topics are: biodiversity of arthropods, soil quality index and acacia tree health. The students will learn how to calculate ecological indices using excel and how to use them for their own data. Students will work in pairs on 3 topics, collecting data in the field, calculate the indices and write a report on each topic. At the end of the semester each pair will present their work in an oral seminar.

Evaluation includes 3 essays based on the students data collection, reading quizzes, a midterm exam and a final exam.

Directed Research and Independent Study in the Environment

Taught by Dr. Jawad Shoqier and Dr. Dan Tamir

This seminar provides a framework for students interested in pursuing an independent research project while enrolled in the undergraduate program. Students are matched up with an academic advisor from the Arava Institute or elsewhere in the region whom they meet with on a weekly basis. Research should centered around work that can only be done in Israel, the Palestinian Authority, or Jordan, such as working with particular communities or dealing with a region-specific issue. All types of research are possible, whether they are scientifically or sociologically based. The seminar can also act as a support for research the student is currently undertaking at their home university. All students are required to write a research proposal, give an oral presentation at the end of the semester and write a final research paper.

It is expected that students undertaking the seminar have some prior experience in conducting research. Framework includes support in research design, research writing and presentation of results.

Click here to download the syllabus.

Environmental Leadership Seminar

Facilitated by Rina Kedem

In the Environmental Leadership Seminar (EL), students and interns explore environmental leadership from a unique regional perspective and in the context of their own multicultural campus community. EL introduces environmental leadership through a range of sessions and workshops held over each semester. While working together as a community and in small groups, participants explore a wide range of topics including environmental entrepreneurship, project management, holistic models for environmental living, and environmental policy and politics. In addition, each semester, EL welcomes guest speakers who bring a wealth of knowledge about current environmental initiatives.

Environmental Science

Taught by Dr. Tareq Abu Hamed

This course is designed to give an overview of environmental science, focusing on global environmental issues. The course will look at past and present environmental issues and the chemical and physical tools that assist in the study of the environment. The course will cover air pollution, the water cycle and environmental issues associated with water, hazardous substances, global warming, ozone depletion and acid rain. Each student will choose a specific topic to research and present to the class. There will be one field trip associated with the class.

Hebrew for students on the MASA program

Taught by Liat Elman

In this course we will learn the basics of the Hebrew language; the Hebrew alphabet, reading, writing, conversation vocabulary, useful expressions, slang and more. Class time will be used mainly to develop verbal communication skills in a present form. During the semester (according to the class level) we’ll start learning past form.

We will explore aspects of the Jewish culture; holidays, customs, and heritage. In addition we will get a taste of the Israeli folklore through music, art, humor, slang, food…

This course is intended for MASA students, but other students may be able to participate on a case by case basis. Language learning is strongly encouraged generally among students outside of the classroom.

Introduction to Earth Science

Taught by Dr. Yaron Finzi

This course will include introduction to Earth Sciences – Geology, Geomorphology, and Climatology. The courses include exploring the connections between earth systems (Geosphere, Hydrosphere, Atmosphere, and Biosphere) and the different aspects associated with the natural history of the Arava Valley. The course will include two daylong field trips.

Click here to download the syllabus.

Introduction to Political Ecology - Case Studies from the Middle East

Taught by Dr. Miri Lavi-Neeman

Political ecology, generally defined, examines the politics, in the broadest sense of the word, of the environment. This course traces the origins and current formulations of political ecology as an approach to studying environmental change/degradation and the relations between society and the environment in general; but it also evaluates the power of political ecology to explain and analyze historical and current conflicts and processes involving Israelis, Palestinians, and others in the Middle East.

The course provides first the theoretical roots and the intellectual development of political ecology over the last several decades testing them as a framework to environmental changes and processes around the world. We will look at the social and historical forces and relations that shape resources access, the political structures that mediate control over land and property, and the consequences and legacies of colonialism, empires, and uneven development. Using a combination of case studies and theoretical works, we will explore a range of environmental issues including: desertification, water, energy, scarcity, parks and protected areas, and environmental movements. We will follow case studies and research projects from the Middle East, and in particular within Israel and the Palestine, but also from other parts of the world. The course provides analytical tools and critical thinking skills. The goal would be first, to be able to use the framework of political ecology to analyze the complex relationships between ecological and social change that underlie contemporary environmental problems around the globe; second, to evaluate and criticize other popular understandings of the environment, and thirdly, to gain a unique and useful but overlooked perspective on Middle East politics, and on regional and local ethnic and civic conflicts, and violence. We will sample key texts in political ecology literature dealing with environmental change; political economy of resources, identity, social movements, ethnicity, nationalism, and development; we will also evaluate academic and popular writings on the Middle East from a political ecology perspective.

Click here to download the syllabus.

Introduction to Solid Waste

Taught by Dr. Jawad Shoqeir

Due to industrial revolution, technology development and consumption patterns of the people, huge quantities of different types of solid wastes are produced every day, creating an alarming problem of their disposal. It is now recognized that proactive management is required to deal with this problem. Thus, solid waste management involves management of activities associated with generation, storage, collection, transfer and transport, reuse and recycling, processing and disposal which should be environmentally compatible, adopting to the principles of economy, aesthetics, and energy conservation. The course will address these aspects.

Click here to download the syllabus.

Peace-Building Leadership Seminar*

Facilitated by Kate Cohen

In line with the Arava Institute’s mission to generate capacity-building for conciliation and cooperation, all students and interns participate in a weekly Peace-building Leadership Seminar (PLS). In this seminar, students engage in dialogue exploring issues of culture, religion, identity, coexistence, and the current political situation, while developing competencies in intercultural understanding and empathy.

PLS builds on the conviction that the social and political relationships within and between groups in the region have a significant influence on environmental practices, public policies, and grassroots environmental activism. PLS takes advantage of the Arava Institute’s own community as a microcosm of the region, building the tools and understanding necessary to foster environmental sustainability, social justice, and respect in the broader society. Every student, no matter the country of origin, has the opportunity to contribute significantly to this ongoing dialogue.

PLS sessions take place weekly throughout the academic year, with each session addressing different aspects of the program’s learning objectives. PLS group activities and one-on-one discussion groups contribute to students’ developing a repertoire of respectful and consensus-building interactions. In addition, each semester, PLS welcomes guest speakers who bring a wealth of knowledge about current coexistence initiatives.

Society and the Environment

Taught by Dr. Dan Tamir

This is an introductory course to the environmental social sciences. Students will acquire knowledge of central theories and approaches in the social sciences, and of their application to environmental issues. A special emphasis is given to the interaction between social structure, technology and ideology in shaping environmental changes and responses to them.

Click here to download the syllabus.

 

Water Resources in the Middle East*

Taught by Dr. Clive Lipchin
This is a compulsory course during spring semester that introduces the major issues engaging efficient water management in the Middle East. The goal of the course is to provide students with an overview of the challenges facing policy makers and water experts in effectively managing these resources and negotiating over their equitable allocation.

As water scarcity is a reality in the region, it is critical to explore the ways and means for sustainable management of this resource in the face of growing demand and dwindling supply and the associated regional plans for water allocation among the countries of the region. By concentrating on the Jordan River Basin and associated groundwater resources students learn how these waters are managed and shared. Although the basin is shared by Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, the course will focus on the first three riparians. The course will include a field trip covering the Jordan River Watershed. A guest lecturer from the Palestinian Authority and a guest lecturer from Jordan will participate in the course.

Click here to download the syllabus.

 

 

* Courses are required

 

Note: these courses are subject to change.