created at: 2011-09-26Jewish National Fund is proud to announce the success of the first JNF Arava Internship Program. Two alumni from the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies (AIES) in Israel’s Negev Desert, spent six weeks in New England, sharing their experiences from the institute. Bisan Battrawi from Ramallah and Ran Maoz from Kibbutz Ein Dor had internship opportunities and visits at EMC, Timberland, Next Step Living, JN Phillips Auto Glass and Stavis Seafoods. Their home base placement while in Boston was at Product Stewardship Institute (PSI).

PSI, founded by Scott Cassel in 2000, is a national non-profit membership-based organization located in Boston, Massachusetts that works with state and local government agencies to partner with manufacturers, retailers, environmental groups, federal agencies and other key stakeholders to reduce the health and environmental impacts of consumer products. PSI takes a unique product stewardship approach to solving waste management problems by encouraging product design changes and mediating stakeholder dialogues.

During the PSI placement, the interns learned about the product stewardship movement in the US, shared information with the PSI professionals about environmental issues in their home countries, and developed proposals for how product stewardship may be advanced.

AIES is dedicated to training a new generation of environmental leaders – Israelis, Palestinians, Jordanians and students from all over the world and is the first teaching institution that brings together such a broad range of students, professionals and international colleagues to study the environmental challenges of the region, apply innovative solutions and build a unified leadership base critical to economic, environmental and societal growth.

Ran and Bisan were also welcomed warmly at speaking engagements with Combined Jewish Philanthropies, JCRC, the young leaders of ADL, State Street Bank and the law firm Brown Rudnick. A highlight of the trip was attending the Women2Women Conference with JNF VP of Campaign Todd Patkin.

“JNF is a proud supporter of the AIES, which is a unique oasis of environmental education, research and international cooperation. Here, the idea that nature knows no political borders is more than a belief. It is a fact and a way of life,“ said Sara Hefez, Regional Director of JNF. “We are so thankful to JNF board members Scott Cassel, Edward Hershfield & David Eisenberg for sponsoring Ran and Bisan’s trip to Boston. Because of their generous support hundreds were exposed to the important work of AIES.”

In 110 years, JNF has planted over 250 million trees, built over 220 reservoirs and dams, developed over 250,000 acres of land, created more than 1,000 parks, built security roads along the border of Lebanon, provided the infrastructure for 1,000 communities and educates students around the world about Israel and the environment.

A United Nations NGO, JNF sponsors international conferences on desertification, shares afforestation techniques, and funds research on arid land management. JNF is neither political nor religious and therefore garners multi-cultural support and continuously earns top ratings from charity overseers.

Pictured: Front row: JNF Arava 2011 Interns Ran Maoz & Bisan Battrawi 

Back row: Stefanie Wnuck Associate of Policy and Programs, Kate Hagemann Associate of Policy and Programs, Michael Younis Associate of Policy and Programs, Erin Linsky Graeber Senior Associate of Outreach and Communications, Shelley Raymond Associate of Policy and Programs, Sierra Fletcher Director of Policy and Programs, Scott Cassel Founder & Executive Director

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