The Mandel Center for Leadership in the Negev

About the Center

The Mandel Foundation-Israel established the Mandel Center for Leadership in the Negev with the goal of spearheading change based on values and vision to improve the quality of life for residents of the Negev through educational and communal leadership development.

The Mandel Center for Leadership in the Negev runs leadership training programs to develop local leadership. These programs focus on improving the leadership capabilities of individuals who work with local and regional officials to enhance education, welfare, culture and health networks in the Negev. They promote the participants’ ability to collaborate with others and to take on leadership roles in public service and civil society.

The center seeks to attract public and community leaders in education, community services, welfare, and culture who work in local authorities, in district government offices in the Negev, and in communal organizations. The center also runs professional training programs focusing on leadership groups in areas such as welfare, education and community relations. Its programs are conducted in cooperation with the local authority and community leadership. Participants are selected by the center’s staff and must have academic background and experience in social action.

The center sees leadership as the ability to look at the reality and work within it, while constantly striving to clarify the underlying values and shape a world-view, formulate a vision and translate it into practical programs, and then work to implement these programs for the benefit and progress of the community.

The center seeks to promote the building of a thriving civil society and nurture improved relations between the Jewish and Bedouin Arab populations in the Negev. The faculty and staff of the center work together with other entities in the Negev: social welfare organizations, academic institutions, local authorities and government ministries.

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Our Training Approach

Programs at the Mandel Center for Leadership in the Negev (MCLN) make use of specially-designed pedagogies tailored for their needs and purpose. The learning processes at the center combine individual learning with group work, and cover a variety of subjects and modes of learning. Alongside content from different fields (philosophy, law, psychology, planning, public policy and more), the center insists on pedagogic diversity –​ studies include reading texts, lectures, workshops, experiential activity in other arenas, activity outside the center, study tours, interpersonal processes and more.

The center's training programs are characterized by a dialogue between theory and practice and by their ability to enhance their participants' professional and personal judgment. Some of the programs are devoted to providing skills, such as mapping and analysis of the arena of activity, defining a problem for the purpose of formulating a vision, planning processes of change, working in teams, and leading implementation of policy. The programs are flexible and are conducted in accordance with the needs of the participants and their home organizations. The programs are not "off-the-shelf" products; they are tailored to the needs of the participants, as elicited in dialogue with them.

A typical training program comprises three central elements:

  1. Definition of a vision and formulation of a world-view – based on a process of clarification of values, formulation of a professional world-view, clarification of the main goals in the organizational context and in the context of the local authority, all these in light of the program participant’s professional position. This is achieved by exposing program participants to basic concepts in social sciences and the humanities that are related to the participants' locality or fields of interest, and discussion of these concepts.

  2. Mapping and analysis of central issues – identification and analysis of the problems in the local authority and definition of those problems whose solution will create significant change. This is achieved by data collection and analysis. This process also contributes to the formation of a broad perspective on the local authority, the community and the space in which the participants work and live.

  3. Renewed modes of action –​ development of action plans that grow out of the formulated worldview and the problems defined in earlier stages of the process. The goal is to aim for reasoned and sustainable solutions by creation of a structured, developmental and communal continuum.

The center’s programs meet one day a week for a period of two years and include a total of approximately 400 hours of study. They​ include lectures, discussions, workshops, mapping assignments, photography and writing, individual reading, group reading, presentations, processing in groups, study tours, outdoor training, meetings, seminars, films, individual and group counseling and guidance, data analysis and case studies. The programs also provide participants with knowledge such as mapping, analysis of the location, definition of problems, creation of collaborative ventures and spearheading of change processes.

Participants in the center’s programs fulfill positions of social leadership in their communities – whether in the school system, formal and informal educational settings, the welfare system, institutions and organizations –​ and are expected to make a significant contribution to advancing the Negev and the welfare of its residents.​


About the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation

"The hallmark of our philanthropy is our commitment to invest in people with the values, ability and passion to change the world." – Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel

Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel founded the Mandel Foundation in 1953 in their hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. The work of the Foundation is grounded in the belief that exceptional leaders, inspired by powerful ideas, are key to improving society and the lives of people around the world. 

The Mandel Foundation aims to contribute to the flourishing of the United States and Israel as just, inclusive, compassionate and democratic societies, and to improve the quality of life in both countries.

The Foundation’s philanthropic work is devoted to the following five areas of engagement: leadership development, management of nonprofits, humanities, Jewish life, and urban engagement.
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