In December 2017, in partnership with Universities Canada and the Embassy of Israel, CIJA, hosted eight Canadian university Presidents on a fact-finding mission to Israel. The 2017 trip – the third such CIJA-led mission – was the largest to date.

Our delegation visited the Technion in Haifa, Ben Gurion University in Beersheva, Tel Aviv University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the Weizmann Institute. Along with meetings with their academic counterparts and with Canadian Ambassador to Israel Deborah Lyons, the Presidents learned about Israel’s efforts to include the Arab, Bedouin and Haredi populations in post-secondary education, the acceleration of entrepreneurship on campus, and Israel’s strategic advances in Smart Cities technologies.

This mission served as an important opportunity for collaboration. While in Israel, each of the eight presidents initiated new or deepened existing partnerships with Israel in areas such as water technologies, environmental studies, indigenous peoples, engineering, and smart and sustainable communities. Joint workshops between Israeli and Canadian scholars are in the works in the fields of neuroscience, microbiome, cybersecurity, and entrepreneurship. While new student exchange opportunities in law and entrepreneurship are planned, finding new ways to bring Canadian students to Israel remains a key desire for all participating presidents.

As we know from past missions, these trips are critical to CIJA’s efforts to enhance Canada-Israel academic relations and build positive and cooperative relationships among key university officials.