One of the most surefire ways to gain insight into and respect for someone else’s way of life is to put yourself in their shoes. If you experience what their life is like first-hand, you can begin to understand the factors that influence their culture.
Project Interchange is a program founded in 1982 that attempts to create this experience for influential people all around the world by bringing “opinion leaders and policy makers to Israel for a week of intensive travel and learning. Participants experience Israeli society, connect with their Israeli counterparts and learn about Israel’s extensive contributions in their fields.” Project Interchange’s program has reached over 6,000 people in over 70 countries, including NYCHA board member, Emily Youssouf, who we have previously featured.
Through the program, participants are exposed to “Israel’s diverse population, democratic system of government and complex strategic and social dilemmas.” They participate in discussion with Israeli leaders, meet with Arab-Israeli and Palestinian leaders, and visit a variety of historically, strategically, and religiously significant sites. Project Interchange’s eye opening seminars are a week long.
Along with other American women executives in her field, Emily Youssouf participated in the program in 2008, prior to her work with NYCHA. In an interview at the Beduin Village of Lakia, Ms. Youssouf said it was a “heart wrenching and heart warming experience.” She continued on, saying, “The obstacles [women] face are enormous… This is an experience I think anybody who comes to Israel should do because it shows another side.”