Sometimes it takes a rainy and messy morning in New York City to hatch a great idea.
Out the window of an iconic Grand Central café, the traffic on 42nd St was moving slowly but the coffee was flowing as we racked our brains trying to answer a question that was continually being asked of us professionals at ISRAEL21c. Just what are you planning on doing with and for college students so they can better navigate issues around Israel on their campuses?
As an apolitical organization, we had been hesitant to join the cacophony of voices on campuses – all vying to win unwinnable arguments. It was 2013 and the dawn of social media. Always ahead of the curve using the Internet as a loudspeaker, we hypothesized that we use this new medium with college-age students and advance the positive Israel message of 21c.
ISRAEL21c’s Digital Ambassador Program was born that rainy day. Five students formed the first team in February of 2014.
Fast forward to present day, 2021. More than 300 students from over 75 universities have now joined us. The program has grown into two tracks – based on skills and interests. This August we will welcome our new 2021-22 cohort of 75 students!
Today, we have something remarkable to share. It’s called “Groundbreaking Israel” – a new project by our Digital Ambassadors – now launching.
Over the past year, ISRAEL21c’s Digital Ambassadors have been in the process of designing the Groundbreaking Israel project, which is a new section of the ISRAEL21c website that is geared to 18-24 year olds and focuses on the diverse people of Israel and their vision, accomplishments and tenacity. Groundbreaking Israel can also be found on Instagram and Facebook.
Groundbreaking Israel features all-new exciting and innovative content that demonstrates – one amazing Israeli at a time — that Israel isn’t just one of the world’s most innovative tech hubs, but so much more.
The project will not only include well-researched and developed content but also offer an opportunity for dialogue, and reaction from the users, that can determine whether the intentioned impact is being heard and felt.
Groundbreaking Israel content includes virtual games and quizzes, online exhibits, blogs and vlogs, interviews, partnerships with influencers, information on online or in-person campus events, and more.
The Digital Ambassadors behind Groundbreaking Israel are divided into five sub-sections: humanitarian aid, diversity, startup news, Covid resilience, and arts and culture.
All ambassadors have specific interests in one of these areas, and their passion behind their work takes the content to the next level.
Alyssa Harris, University of Miami – World Aid
“In the World Aid group, we highlight Israel’s incredible humanitarian aid organizations that have helped over 140 countries around the world. I am very proud to say that our #WorldAidWednesday post of the Internet celebrity and family medicine physician Dr. Mike, visiting Save a Child’s Heart has been the post with the highest engagement on the Groundbreaking Israel page. It was amazing to see the support and admiration for Dr. Mike, Save a Child’s Heart, and Israel.”
Lily Dillon, Barnard College of Columbia University – Israel Diversity
“I’m really happy with how innovative my team has been in terms of finding influencers to collaborate with. In particular I’ve been proud of the articles from Abby, Jessie, and Catelyn and the Instagram content from Eden and Lexi.”
Maxim Averbukh, Arizona State University – Startup News
“The Startup and Tech team provides insight into the incredible new companies and technologies coming out of the Startup Nation. We are incredibly proud of the research and content we have created.”
Sharon Sheyman, University of California, Berkeley – Covid Resilience
“The COVID resilience team is focused on sharing personal stories from everyday people, entrepreneurs, social media influencers to spread positivity, strength, and resilience among all. The team is here to help you. I am so proud of the work each team member has put in to make amazing interview videos and inspire others.”
Frankie Alchanati, Drexel University – Arts and Culture
“The Arts and Culture team shares a wide range of content that gives insight on how Israel has, is, and will continue to impact the world. This impact is seen through the fields of fashion, comedy, film, TV, music, architecture, and art. I am so proud that my team has been able to successfully break apart this dense topic and produce content that shows the everlasting bright light of the Israeli people.”
Check out all 9 episodes of Shtisel on Netflix on March 25th! And thanks to @yesstudios for a behind the scenes look!
At the end of every Digital Ambassador cohort, the ambassadors will present the impact of their content and make recommendations for how future cohorts can continue it and take it to the next level.
In addition to understanding how many students consume the campaign’s content, the ambassadors aim to discover specifically how their content is impacting various audiences. Assessing impact includes measurement of meaningful interactivity with users, viewers, and readers.
Check out the new Groundbreaking Israel project here, and join ISRAEL21c’s Digital Ambassadors on their journey of uncovering Israel’s many groundbreaking contributions to humanity. You can also follow Groundbreaking Israel on Instagram and Facebook.
Funding for the Digital Ambassador program is generously provided by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, the Koret Foundation and Susan and Moses Libitzky.