The 6th annual SIGNAL Faculty Training Program (FTP) saw the arrival of academics from five universities in Yunnan, Henan, Shaanxi, Beijing and Shanghai. The Program offers a Fellowship to faculty from Chinese universities with Israel Studies Programs established in cooperation with SIGNAL. The FTP Fellows spend a full semester studying in Israel. The Program aims to provide the Fellows with a comprehensive understanding of the modern state of Israel and its history.
The 6th cohort participated in a rigorous curriculum, attending lecture series and workshops. The program is headed by Dr Paula Kabalo, a leading world scholar on Israel Studies who heads the Ben Gurion Research Insititute for the Study of Israel and Zionism at the Sde Boker campus. The Fellows take classes directly from Dr. Kabalo and enjoy her academic supervision throughout their studies.
The SIGNAL Faculty Fellows receive access to one of the leading archives in the country – containing more than 3 million texts and audio visual materials reflecting the history of Israel from the early 20th century until the present day including many original sources. For the first time, SIGNAL’s Academic Advisor, Dr. Aryeh Tepper, served as the Faculty Fellows’ advisor, meeting with them weekly as professor, mentor and providing expert guidance throughout their journey. The SIGNAL Fellows were also afforded the opportunity to discuss their individual research interests some of which included Comparative Semitic Social Linguistics, the Zionist Movement, and Arab Identity, in small groups with experts at Tel Aviv University.
Outside the academic space, the Chinese scholars were provided the opportunity to experience the many facets of Israel’s diverse culture. Touring the country, the group explored the mystical old city of Jerusalem, arid desert of Yeruham, as well as the location of a former Roman outpost; Mitzpe Ramon. Exposed to stark contrasts between old and new, from a nomadic Bedouin village to cutting edge technology at the Innovation centre in Tel Aviv, the SIGNAL scholars were able to gain a better understanding of Israel’s stark cultural diversity.
Dr. Kabalo highlighted that this year’s FTP had been one of the most rewarding yet. The Faculty Fellows expressed excitement in sharing what they have learned with their students in China who will be taking Israel Studies courses. SIGNAL wishes them the best of luck and looks forward to hosting the 7th FTP in the near future.