Communications and Social Responsibility: New SHATIL Academic Partnership Prepares Young People to Make Social Change
In an innovative effort to combine academia and professional training, SHATIL, in partnership with Tel-Aviv University, launched an intensive practicum entitled, “Communications and Social Responsibility.” The course pairs first-year masters’ students in communications with a variety of social change organizations, enabling them to develop projects tailored to the needs of each nonprofit.
The practicum empowers young people to develop professional expertise in various areas of communication, and gives them the tools to understand processes of social change. It also benefits the community of social change organizations, drawing on the skills, knowledge, experience, and motivation of students eager to leap into the world of media and civil society. In addition to their placements, the students meet once a month to participate in a class, team taught by Tel-Aviv University Professor Nurit Guttman and SHATIL media consultant, Ayelet Danon-Avraham.
According to Professor Guttman, this is the first masters program for communications in Israel that combines academic work with professional training. The pioneering cohort of 18 students is already making strides in an array of organizations, ranging from Green Peace to ASSAF, the Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel. The students have initiated projects in their respective placements, drawing upon their skills in public speaking, public relations, social media, and marketing.
Amit Louis is interning at Kedma, an organization that promotes social and educational equality in Israel. In his few months at the organization, he developed a marketing and communications strategy to design a new website. For Amit, the program has provided an invaluable opportunity to experience the practical implementation of theory. Still, perhaps more importantly, it has opened his eyes to the social change scene – and to possibilities in his own future.
“Most of the time, when we study how organizations utilize communications techniques, it is usually in government agencies or corporations,” says Amit. “This program has given me the opportunity to see how it is done in NGOs. To tell you the truth, before starting this program, I had not considered working in the nonprofit world. Now, it is definitely a possibility.”
Ilana Yona, Kedma Director, is pleased with the program so far. “I have seen both our organization and our intern grow through this program,” she says.
Professor Guttmann adds: “The biggest impact of the program is the process that the students experience, personally engaging with work in the third sector. I already see development. They have become a part of the organizations, creating new projects and publishing articles. One student made such a successful impression that the organization offered her a job!”
(May 9, 2012)