This summer, ISRAEL21c welcomed 35 students from colleges across the United States to the first Digital Ambassador retreat for this academic year.

The three-day event took place in Evanston, Illinois. Students from 30 campuses, including Barnard College, Rice University, UC Berkeley, New York University, Indiana University, University of Oregon, Tulane University and George Washington University learned about social media, strategic communications and journalism.

They developed a series of new projects to work on throughout the year.

From left: Dana Tsipenyuk, Sharon Sheyman, Zachary Gaterbaum, Alyssa Harris, Elan Itschakov. Photo by Nicky Blackburn

Students also took part in fun evening events, including a baseball game at Wrigley Field and an escape room.

The event was led by Amy Friedkin, President of ISRAEL21c; Nicky Blackburn, Editor and Israel Director; communications strategists Nathan Miller and Meira Feinman; and Rachel Poulin, the Outreach and Engagement Coordinator for the Digital Ambassador Program.

From left: Jacob Ziegler, Lexi Naskiewicz, Natalia Correa-Farro, Abby Adelman, Lilly Coveney, Julia Woolf. Photo by Nicky Blackburn

The projects devised by the students include:

● The Holyistic Project, which will create wellness events on campuses across the country that educate about health/wellness projects and initiatives coming out of Israel.

● Celebs in Israel, which will engage with the fan bases of celebrities who have been to Israel in an effort to showcase the relevance of Israel as a popular and noteworthy travel destination.

● Israel in the World, which aims to change the negative perceptions that college students have about the way Israel treats others.

● 21see Kitchen, which will focus specifically on promoting ISRAEL21c Tayim videos while also pitching new ideas for food-related video content tailor-made for millennial/Gen Z audiences.

● VeLove Israel, which will target vegans with newly curated content on vegan food in Israel.

● Yalla on a Budget, which will curate new content on budget travel to Israel for millennial/Gen Z audiences.

● Creating Coexistence, which will create and distribute short videos on coexistence stories in Israel.

From left: Maxim Averbukh, Benny Weisbrot, Solomon Rapoport, Marshall Ivler, Jeremy Rosenberg, Yochanan Gibly. Photo by Nicky Blackburn

“Before the Digital Ambassador Retreat in Chicago, I had little to no experience with marketing or developing a brand. But after hearing from professionals and networking with other students, I was able to go from 10-15 likes on an ISRAEL21c post to almost 200 on a post about judo!” said new ambassador Abby Adelman, from Indiana University.

ISRAEL21c launched its Digital Ambassador project in the US five years ago. The first retreat was held in Chicago in January 2018, and was followed by another two retreats, one in Chicago in August 2018 and another in April this year in San Francisco.

From left:, Ben La Kier, Austen Steinberg, Dana Elazar, Marcella Bluth, Jasmine Lewin, Amalia Birch. Photo by Nicky Blackburn

In the new academic year there are 44 students in the program, including two ambassadors working exclusively with ISRAEL21c Espanol.

This summer’s Evanston retreat was followed by a smaller retreat in September in Los Angeles for seven students who couldn’t get to the Evanston event.

The Alternate Training Retreat & Hackathon included training sessions, a mini-hackathon and evening excursions. The ambassadors at the LA retreat decided to work with ISRAEL21c on creating more 21see video content specifically tailored to college students.

From left: Brian Goldsmith, Jonathan Kirsch, Adina Romaner, Erica Lester, Frankie Alchanati, Bridgette Stolyar. Photo by Nicky Blackburn

“The ambassador program is really going from strength to strength,” said Friedkin. “At both retreats, it was wonderful to see how these smart, talented college students are eager to learn and systematically apply their new social media knowledge to their posts, their team projects and their own campus activities.”

“The program is moving in a very exciting direction,” added Poulin. “We have an amazing team of Digital Ambassadors this year, from 30 different campuses. I can’t wait to see what they accomplish.”

From left: Isa Zweiback, Sarah Winkelman, Lily Dillon, Gabriella Hazan, Julia Pratt, Hayley Sharkey. Photo by Nicky Blackburn

ISRAEL21c launches the Influencer Track

ISRAEL21c is set to launch a second track to the Digital Ambassador Program, called the Influencer Track, which allows students to further the mission of ISRAEL21c by working independently on social media instead of with teams.

The LA Team at Santa Monica Pier. Back left to front right: Ben Rozio, Cassandra Shand, Yogev Ben-Yitschak, Megan Grossman, Talia Rashba, Jordana Ichilov. Photo by Rachel Poulin

Ambassadors on this track will learn how to use their online communities to spread a message about subjects that are important to them, while simultaneously increasing their influence and gaining a larger following.

Applications for the Influencer Track are now open, and applications are due by November 30. The pilot program will launch officially in January 2020.

If you would like to learn more about the Influencer Track and how to get involved, click here.

The ISRAEL21c Digital Ambassador Program is funded by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, the Koret Foundation and the Rodan Family Foundation.