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AABGU Launches Zin Fellows Leadership Development Program

AABGU Launches Zin Fellows Leadership Development Program

March 28, 2012

Negev Development & Community Programs, Press Releases

NEW YORK, March 28, 2012…Fifteen young leaders have been selected to participate in the Zin Fellows Leadership Development Program of American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU). Applicants were nominated by AABGU supporters and friends and will participate in three major seminars over the course of two years. The first three-day seminar took place in February in Florida. The inaugural class culminates its program next year in Israel.

This exclusive innovative program is designed to create a community of “next generation leaders” committed to furthering David Ben-Gurion’s vision for Israel’s Negev region. Zin Fellows experience in-depth immersion into issues relevant to the Negev and its development. 

“Our goal is to provide insight into the challenges that lie ahead for Israel’s expansive desert region. Zin Fellows will gain a unique appreciation for both the obstacles and opportunities that lie before us,” explains Doron Krakow, executive vice president of AABGU. “Utilizing the University’s extraordinary resources, the program will provide each fellow with a special appreciation for the Negev and, we expect, a determination to play a part in its development.”

The program’s lead faculty members are Dr. Paula Kabalo of the Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism and Prof. Isaac (Sakis) Meir of the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research. Several other distinguished BGU faculty and guests will also contribute to the program. Topics will encompass the Negev as a crossroads of history and ecology, religion and technology, desert research and sustainable development, and indigenous populations in transition.

The Zin Fellows Leadership Development Program is being generously supported by Co-chairs Wayne Woodman and Lisa Scheller of Allentown, Pennsylvania, participants in the inaugural class themselves, as well as other donors from across the country. Wayne is vice president at GKM Advisers, LLC and an investment management consultant. He is also a vice president on AABGU’s national board. 

Lisa Scheller is president of her family’s manufacturing business, Silberline Mfg. Co., headquartered in Tamaqua, Pennsylvania. She is the elected Lehigh county commissioner. Lisa and Wayne are married and have six children.

“While monetary donations are critical for the growth and development of the University, Lisa and I conceived the Zin Fellows program to cultivate a younger, future donor base,” Wayne explains. “This innovative, self-sustaining program will also create a highly knowledgeable group of ‘Negev Ambassadors’ who will truly understand and effectively communicate the importance of the region for the future of Israel.”

The name Zin is derived from the biblical Wilderness of Zin. The Desert of Zin is a geographic area mentioned in the Torah as a place where the Israelites wandered and Moses drew water from a rock. David Ben-Gurion chose to live near and be buried on the edge of a cliff overlooking the vast Zin Canyon. BGU’s Sede Boqer Campus, home to the program’s lead faculty, also overlooks the canyon.

About American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion’s vision: creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University’s expertise locally and around the globe. Activities include showcasing BGU’s academic excellence and cutting-edge research through educational programs, events and informative communications. AABGU’s main purpose is to support Ben-Gurion’s vision and the university that bears his name by creating a community of Americans committed to improving the world tomorrow from the heart of the Israeli desert today.

Media Contact:
Andrew Lavin
A. Lavin Communications