World Union of Jewish Students 2013 Congress began Sunday, December 29th with over 80 participants representing almost 20 countries.
Congress is the Annual General Meeting of the Jewish union movement, with leaders from the Jewish student organizations representing countries all over the world, who joined together to set the agenda for the coming year, coordinate their activities and receive crucial training. At this years Congress participants learned, debated and discussed a variety of issues that are prevalent to them as Jewish students.
Congress opened up with poet Andrew Lustig reciting his YouTube sensation “I am Jewish” allowing students to reflect on what makes up their own Jewish identity. Following, MK Dov Lipman discussed how Israel’s government can work with students internationally towards one collective goal.
On Monday, December 30th, as part of the Global Campus Initiative (GCI), students gathered to learn and gain the tools necessary for combating the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanction) movement in academic environments. Participants started off their day at the Knesset where they heard from Avi Mayer and Asher Fredman on ways to counter the delegitimization of Israel and gained a better understanding of the origins of BDS. Following the discussion, MK Ronen Hoffman spoke about the importance of Jewish students in the international arena. The day at the Knesset concluded with a tour and a few words from MK Ruth Calderon. The day continued with workshops, teaching students how to advocate for Israel on their individual campuses and a stimulation workshop that focused on best practices of communication. At night participants, WUJS alumni and donors gathered for a Gala Dinner.
On the third day of Congress, December 31st, students had the choice to partake in sessions revolving around Jewish identity and leadership, fighting anti-Semitism or interfaith relations. In each session, students were able to grasp the understanding of each pressing issue so they could bring back what they learned and use it in their day-to-day lives in their respective countries.
On January 1st, participants came together to discuss policy and elect the new WUJS Leadership for the coming two years. Andi Gergely was elected incoming Chairpeson of WUJS. Following elections an organizational fair was held for students to see the various opportunities available to them from a wide variety of organizations based in Israel. The night concluded with a discussion about diversity led by the Chilean delegation.
Congress concluded with a JNF day trip down South where participants planted trees, and learned about Israelis development in the areas of water and agriculture. The day concluded with a meeting with Efi Stenzler, Chairperson of KKL.
We wish Andi much luck in the coming years and thank Chaya Pomeranz, the outgoing Chairperson for her hard work, dedication and accomplishments throughout her term.
Congress couldn’t have been possible without the generous support of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL).
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