The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, which I’ve been a part of for many years, is an academic and research institution, where we try to advance cross-global environmental cooperation in the face of political conflict.
Our biggest motivation comes, of course, from climate change. It is a threat but at the same time an opportunity for cooperation on a regional and international level.
We use what we call applied environmental diplomacy in dealing with environmental challenges under conflict, harnessing these issues as a diplomatic tool to build understanding and trust. Through this methodology we are changing the Middle East and beyond.
We work with non-governmental organizations and everyday people, to ensure the public enjoys the benefits of the programs we implement and can harvest the fruit of our efforts in the long run.
The greatest challenge I had to overcome was the conflict between Israel and its neighbors. We confronted issues stemming from this in the exact same way we work — by creating cooperations and bridging the gap, even during the toughest times (during war between Israel and Gaza we still managed to implement projects and continue our mission).
Bringing people together, even under the hardest conditions and circumstances, is possible. People should understand that creating a sustainable future in this region, in order to achieve peace, is doable! We just need to use the right technique: equality, equity and a true, equal partnership.
I think the future looks very promising and see the Arava Institute as the regional hub for combatting climate change. We will continue our work to bring both the people and policymakers in our region together to implement much-needed policies, to deal with the threats of climate change and make life in our region better for everyone.