Israel to house campus of International High School

Author: Rivka Borochov

The two-year program is to open in 2014 under the auspices of the United World College.

Drawing on its special location and expertise, Israel plans to open an international high school in autumn 2014. The new non-profit Eastern Mediterranean College (EMC), for 200 students in grades 11 and 12 from as many as 100 countries, will be based at the Kfar Yarok campus just outside Tel Aviv. The school has applied to become part of the United World Colleges (UWC) international network of 12 high schools, on which it is modeled. The aim of EMC founder and volunteer CEO Oded Rose is to create young ambassadors for Israel, and to open the minds of Israelis to other cultures. He also sees the school’s potential for widening the horizons of young Arabs and Israelis.

Says Rose: “It will bring potential young leaders from all over the world to see Israel for what it is – all the good things – and to teach them about these good things that they don’t see through the media. The media offer a narrow aspect of Israel, so through this [high school] we aim to gain good-will ambassadors from around the world.”

Students will get full scholarships if needed, and will be accepted based on academic merit and community involvement. Twenty enrollment slots annually will be reserved for Israelis, while another 20 will be set aside for Arab youth from Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), Jordan and other Arab countries that have diplomatic relations with Israel. Rose would like for 40 percent of the students to be from the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East region. Students will not only study together, but will live together on campus in dormitories built on the ideals of environmental sustainability.

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The school’s curriculum is to be based on the Swiss International Baccalaureate, and its accreditation process has been initiated. In addition it will provide two special tracks to take advantage of Israel’s experience in meeting environmental challenges and devising innovations. Students can opt to learn about geopolitical water issues, desert regions and Israeli clean-tech inventions in cooperation with Israel’s Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, or about the basics of social and business entrepreneurship. Instruction is to be in English, and all students will be required to study either Arabic or Hebrew as a second language.

The Israeli school will be governed by the EMC Foundation Executive Board, which includes both Jewish and Arab leaders in business, academics and social/political activism. Rose himself had the opportunity to represent Israel at one of the United World Colleges 30 years ago. For two years, he lived in a remote campus near Victoria on Vancouver Island in Canada, where he met kids from around the world. This experience more than three decades ago influenced who he is today: a clean-tech CEO at the multimillion-dollar Flow Industries, an Israeli company that resolves blockage problems for water, cement and oil manufacturers.

“All my jobs since I finished military service in Israel have had strong international components to them,” says Rose, a father of five. “I didn’t always have a job based in Israel but all my jobs involved cross-cultural business liaisons. So studying at the United World College affected my career as well.”

Already recognized by the Israeli Ministry of Education, EMC will take advantage of an existing dormitory and facilities at Kfar Yarok, but there are plans to construct a school building of its own.