As a young woman studying law and business, Shimrit Yamin recognizes that most of her accomplishments are a result of the groundbreaking work of the Israel Women’s Network (IWN) – Israel’s premier women’s advocacy group – and she feels an obligation to give back. So she was doubly honored when the IWN chose her to be their Everett Fellow.
“In my first year at university, I studied constitutional law and read laws written by the IWN. What I do here is exactly what I learned about,” she said. “To come to a place I had read about and to be part of what they do – it’s not something I thought I would achieve during my studies. It has opened a meaningful door for me.”
Shimrit plunged right in, helping the IWN’s legal advisors to write legislation, appearing in court cases – including the Supreme Court – and running the legal advice hotline for women who felt they were discriminated against in the workplace. “It’s amazing to see the things I studied suddenly come to life,” said Shimrit, who is the youngest of three and the first in her Mizrachi family to attend university. “The fellowship gives me an opportunity not only to contribute personally but to influence social change on a national level. It’s a sacred goal and the Everett program enables us interns to be part of working toward sit.”
Shimrit said her experience at the IWN has changed her political views. “It’s turned me into much more of a feminist,” she said. “I didn’t realize how severe discrimination against women is in the workplace and how much power we need in order to change that.
Shatil Programs Develop Future Leaders
Shatil and the New Israel Fund promote a high level of leadership and professionalism among young leaders and activists in Israel. Our programs cultivate interest in civil liberties and community organizing and provide participants with the opportunity to acquire new skills, professional experience and vital tools for strengthening social justice in Israel. Recruiting diverse men and women from across Israel and the United States, Shatil’s work includes fellowship programs and other initiatives aimed at building a new generation of professionals working for social change.
More than 300 University students from all sectors have been trained to work for social justice in internships in social change organizations through Shatil’s Everett Social Justice Fellowships. Many have gone on to professional and lay leadership positions within social change organizations. Through internships and supplementary enrichment seminars, the program enables students to gain an in-depth understanding of social change organizations and their role in society. At the same time, it affords organizations much needed additional personnel, making it a win-win program. The participants serve social change organizations in a variety of capacities during the course of the academic year. Several times during the year participants attend lectures and interactive sessions on civil society, social advancement, advocacy, media, and PR.
In efforts to build environmental strength and leadership in the Negev, Shatil’s Negev Fellows for the Environment project aims to develop a cadre of influential individuals from various fields: government, university, media and business who will work toward environmental justice for the Negev. Throughout monthly meetings, local tours, the fifteen participants in the first round of the project learned about the connection between social and environmental rights as well as practical tools to make environmental change a reality. Shatil leverages its familiarity with the field and its expertise in practical campaigning and public struggle tactics to move the carefully chosen participants toward greater environmental leadership. Course participants will form the beginnings of a cohesive, active and locally-based environmental movement in the Negev.
The second round of Shatil’s Negev Fellows for the Environment was launched in November 2009, with a public event aimed at promoting an environmental agenda in the Negev.
Participants from the first and second courses are expected to form the beginnings of a cohesive, active and locally-based environmental movement in the Negev. An example of impact of the first course: a graduate launched the first Negev Environmental Film Festival, attracting 1,000 people. The organizer plans for this to be an annual event.
The Porter Environmental Internship Program
The Porter Environmental Internships were established in order to train the next generation of leaders who will advocate for the environment, public health, sustainable development policies and social justice. Participants, all graduate students at the Tel Aviv University Porter School for Environmental Studies, contribute their talents to environmental organizations , obtain professional experience and contribute to the struggle for changes in environmental attitudes and policies. In June, 2012, the program just concluded its third year of guiding a talented group of 15 interns working in a variety of nonprofits and gaining experience in environmental research, environmental education, public advocacy, organizational development, hands-on greening work, and environmental lobbying.
The Greenhouse for Sustainable Development Initiatives in the Negev
In an innovative effort to transform the process of development in the Negev, Shatil, in partnership with the Heschel Center for Environmental Learning and Leadership, launched the Greenhouse for Sustainable Development Initiatives in the Negev in February 2012. The Greenhouse is a competitive fellowship program that brings together a diverse range of individuals with leadership potential, all representing non-profit organizations or governmental bodies, who seek to promote environmental justice through the implementation of green projects. The fellows participate in group workshops on economic and environmental development in the Negev, tailored leadership courses, and educational tours. Fellows have the opportunity to deeply engage with Shatil and Heschel specialists, experts in the field, and current environmental activists. The first cycle of Greenhouse fellows are an impressive and diverse group, representing both Jewish and Bedouin organizations in the Negev. Their individual projects include creating an Eco-Industrial Park in Arad, organizing a community garden in the Bedouin city of Tel-Sheva, and developing an initiative to support local businesses that promote economic development in the region. The Greenhouse fellowship is empowering these fellows to become social change agents, giving them the tools to spread awareness about the environmental challenges facing the Negev and to implement creative solutions through wide-ranging programs of sustainable development.
This program reflects Shatil’s strategic focus on developing new social change agents with the potential to influence social and economic policies. Held in cooperation with the Hebrew University’s School of Public Policy and Government, the two-year program deepens selected professionals’ knowledge and awareness of socioeconomic issues. The program’s participants are professionals from the public and private sectors with substantial experience. In addition to academic training, the program enables them to complete a practicum in a social change organization, thereby strengthening the organizations’ professional capacities.
For more information on these fellowships please be in touch with Anat