Last week we said goodbye to the 58 students and interns of the Fall 2018 semester. After a stressful period of final exams and academic work, the participants spent the last few days in summary activities and saying farewell after a semester filled with learning and adventure.
One of the highlights of the final week was the festive graduation ceremony held on Tuesday afternoon. Following speeches from Arava Institute alumni and faculty, participants Odeliya Matter and Salem Al Kharabsheh spoke about the unique experience living and studying in the Arava Institute’s multicultural campus.
“Tension was especially high in the Negev trip. As some of us sat around the bonfire, we forgot that some of the people sitting with us represent the other side of this conflict. Above us shooting stars and soaring rockets and the sound of airplanes going to Gaza, eventually led to a silence that was so loud. In this moment, captured in our bones, is a strange juxtaposition of these seemingly simple values of peace and coexistence, and the reality we live in. For me, this exact moment represents our victory, sitting here in complete silence together, warm with the fire and with connectedness, and a deep understanding that we do not need this violence to get along,” said Odeliya Matter.
A special gift of this semester’s group was a musical performance of Avishai Cohen’s “Song of Hope”.
We are excited to welcome the Fall 2018 alumni to our growing network of environmental leaders, and wish them luck in their future endeavors!