Eman was born and raised in Sulam, a small Palestinian village in Israel’s North. Growing up, as she tells it, she had little contact with Jewish Israelis. As a college student at Haifa University, most of her acquaintances were Palestinians.
At the same time, Eman had a curiosity about and desire to see the world and meet people from different cultures. In 2014-2015 Eman applied for and won a Foreign Language Teaching Assistant Fulbright grant at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Eman found that she really liked working in a multicultural environment.
Coming back to Israel, Eman, whose bachelor’s degree is in English and Education, continued teaching, both in Jewish and Arab schools. In 2019, she earned a Master’s in Global Migration from Tel Aviv University. Clearly, the idea of multiculturalism still interested her.
And then came the riots of May 2021. Amidst the fighting in Israel’s mixed cities, Eman developed her political awareness and a stronger affiliation to her Palestinian identity, and at that point, the idea of coexistence had never seemed so far off.
Eman continued teaching. At a certain point, the curriculum called for her to teach about sustainability, something to which, she admits, she had never given that much thought. To her surprise, she found herself deeply connecting with the lesson plan. It dawned on her that “reducing consumption is best not only for the environment, but also from a spiritual perspective.” Reducing material consumption gave her a measure of spiritual satisfaction.
When the opportunity to join the staff of the Arava Institute presented itself, Eman jumped on it, joining at the beginning of March as the Middle Eastern Outreach and Communication Associate. Eman is energized by the diversity of the Arava Institute’s students, and enthusiastic about its mission of strengthening shared society and sustainability.
In her words: “Two days ago, someone sent me a message saying, ‘keep doing this great work.’ With this program, I feel that I can make tiny but long-lasting changes.”
We are extremely proud to welcome Eman Abu Salah to the Arava Institute.