Eleven 17-year-old Italian members of an overseas outgrowth of the Israeli nonprofit social-impact organization LEAD came to Israel this summer for joint activities and meetings with Israeli peers and LEAD leaders.

The teenagers of LEAD Italia (LEADIt) are beginning a two-year leadership identity development program based on a model developed in 1999 by LEAD chief executive officer Eliav Zakay, an organizational psychologist who headed the R&D unit of the Israel Defense Forces’ school for leadership development for 11 years.

LEADIt was begun September 2016 in the province of Treviso as the result of a worldwide search by Italian university student Maria Elettra Favotto to find a leadership-building program to replicate in Italy. She chose LEAD as her model after doing a four-month internship during which she saw how the select participants learn conflict resolution, project planning and management, and social-needs analysis in preparation to initiate projects in their communities.

The Italian visitors met with LEAD Chairman Morris Kahn and with the Consul General of Italy in Israel. They traveled to Jerusalem, Acre (Akko) and other areas including an Arab village where some LEAD members live. The two groups of teens built items together in a carpentry workshop at Opportunities Salon to donate to the elderly.

Israel members of youth leadership program LEAD. Photo by Sivan Farag