The first Israel studies seminar for Chinese Students studying in Israel on an Israeli government scholarship was held just before the Passover holiday, hosted by SIGNAL’s Faculty Training Program partners at Ben Gurion University’s Sde Boker based Israel Studies International Program (ISIP) for MA degree. SIGNAL introduced the ISIP Director, Prof. Paula Kabalo to the idea for the seminar and worked with the Chinese seminar Director, Prof. Aryeh Tepper to customize the experience and academic content to the unique background and culture of the Chinese students.
From late March to early April the Ben Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel & Zionism hosted an eight day seminar for all Chinese students studying abroad or residing in Israel. Supported by the Diane and Guilford Glazer Foundation, the seminar took place at Ben Gurion’s Sde Boker campus and featured topics that focused on Israel’s history, society, culture, and politics. The seminar was endorsed by the Council of Higher Education.
Lectures were given by many prominent professors in different fields, among them Dr. Aryeh Tepper, Dr. Gideon Katz, Prof. Arieh Saposnik, Rabbi Dr. Sharon Shalom, Prof. Esther Meir, Dr. Paula Kabalo, Dr. Avi Bareli, Dr. Ben Herzog, Dr. Shimon Barak, and Mr. Lior Lavid. The Chinese students experienced Friday night Sabbath services, toured Yerucham, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, explored natural springs and desert mountains, and watched Israeli films.
Topics that were especially popular among the Chinese students include Arab-Jews equality issues, inventions and developments in technology, and the Israeli governmental system. The students found the tours and explanations especially helpful in understanding information about Israel.