“Humans think in stories, and we try to make sense of the world by telling stories,”  Yuval Noah Harari.

Storytelling is central to human existence. Our stories capture the complexity of the world around us, as well as the nuance of our daily lives. They link groups of people over the course of space and time. There are often multiple perspectives on a given story, and multiple lessons that can be attained through those stories.

There are a variety of ways to tell Israel’s story. Whether it’s through the lens of ancient history or through modern culture and technology, there is always something interesting to learn about this tiny but impactful country. Israel’s stories include narratives about a special land and people, a revived language and a rich heritage, and countless advancements in society.

My Israel story begins in January, 2009. From the moment I touched down in Ben Gurion Airport, I knew I was somewhere special, somewhere I could call my own. I was surrounded by unfamiliar sights, smells and sounds, yet deep down I had an instant connection that I needed to explore.

Ali Cohen at the Western Wall. Photo courtesy Ali Cohen

I was profoundly impressed by the grandeur of the Western Wall and was equally touched by the hospitality of strangers in every city and village. I was immersed in a vibrant landscape and was honestly changed forever.

In one single moment, I stumbled upon the crossroads of my ancestry and my legacy. From that instant forward, I was determined to uncover Israel and to share it with the world.

Upon return to my college campus, I set out on a mission to absorb as much knowledge and exposure to Israel as possible. I joined clubs, watched movies, listened to music, studied Hebrew, attended conferences, signed up for advocacy training… I couldn’t get enough.

Ali Cohen ringing the bell at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Photo courtesy Ali Cohen

I learned about battery-operated vehicles, scientific discoveries, charitable organizations, diverse ethnicities, historical milestones, archaeological discoveries and more. In those years, I was determined to build strong coalitions surrounding mutual interests and increase awareness of Israel in every avenue I pursued.

As I embarked on my professional career, I decided to serve my community and continue to provide access to Israeli diplomats, entrepreneurs, business people and public personalities to decision-makers at all levels.

After over a decade of outreach and experience, as well as nine incredible trips to Israel, I’ve gathered innumerable stories that shape my perspective on Israel’s place in the world. Through these experiences, I’ve determined that college students are uniquely empowered to lead the future. And they need institutional support to help them become strong proponents of progress.

Relatable and interesting news

Throughout my journey, I’ve relied on ISRAEL21c as a source of relatable and interesting news coming out of Israel.

ISRAEL21c is positioned as the only major publication that focuses exclusively on positive, contemporary and apolitical stories about Israel. Its 21see channel presents high-quality and intriguing videos, and its newsletter and social media amplify important messages about a variety of fascinating topics.

While I’ve been an avid consumer of ISRAEL21c content since I was 19 years old, I only came across the organization’s program for college students recently – and I am glad I did.

The Digital Ambassador program is unlike any other that I’ve been part of. Not only does it embolden its participants to develop their own content about Israeli achievements, but it provides a space for this next generation of storytellers to discover for themselves how truly remarkable Israel is.

Through monthly seminars with leading media experts, regular group discussions and access to a limitless library of ISRAEL21c resources, Digital Ambassadors receive the keys to a very powerful vehicle for change. Through online networking, Ambassadors have the ability to reveal the real Israel to their audiences.

This 10-month virtual program allows students from across the United States to connect with their peers on the issues that matter to them.

Join our Digital Ambassador Program

This spring, I joined the ISRAEL21c team as its first Digital Ambassador Program Coordinator. I am eager to help the program expand its reach, engage its community members and most importantly, recruit future cohorts. In the upcoming school year, we aim to bring 75 students aboard to our Team Campaign and Influencer Tracks.

The ideal Digital Ambassador has a background in journalism, communications or marketing, is involved in clubs and organizations on campus and is looking for a way to make a meaningful contribution to the broader Israel story. As ambassadors and alumni of the program, they are tasked with amplifying Israel’s story.

There are a lot of exciting initiatives coming out of the Digital Ambassadors Program, including the Groundbreaking Israel campaign. With the mission of sharing Israel’s many groundbreaking contributions to humanity, Digital Ambassadors on the Team Campaign track have spent many months generating stories, quizzes and graphics which highlight startups, diversity, arts and culture, world aid and COVID resilience.

We are preparing to showcase their hard work through a Groundbreaking Israel website, which will launch very soon.

While I am constantly writing new chapters of my Israel story and absorbing the myriad stories coming out of Israel, I can’t wait to provide the ink and pages (or digital platforms) to young adults looking to do the same.

Students who wish to participate in the 2021-22 cohort are welcome to apply from May 2nd through May 31st by clicking here.

To learn more about ISRAEL21c’s Digital Ambassador Program, follow us on the ISRAEL21c website and on Instagram at @groundbreakingisrael and @i21cdigitalambassadors.