The new Mandel Program for Local Leadership in Eilat-Eilot opened on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, with much celebration and excitement. Directed by
Dr. Nitza Roskin and
Dr. Eliezer Malkiel, the new program has 21 fellows from Eilat and the Eilot region, from a range of professional backgrounds: formal and informal education, tourism, management, society, health, and more.
The opening day of the program began with a session of reading and analyzing a philosophical text, followed by time for the fellows to get to know each other. The day continued with a festive New Year toast attended by
Mr. Meir Yitzhak Halevi, mayor of Eilat;
Mr. Moshe Vigdor, director general of the Mandel Foundation–Israel;
Dr. Drori Ganiel, director of the Eilat municipal Education and Community Services administration;
Ms. Hadas Shapira, director general of the Eilot regional council;
Dr. Adi Nir-Sagi, director of the Mandel Center for Leadership in the Negev; and graduates of the first cohort of the Mandel Program for Local Leadership in Eilat.
Mayor Meir Yitzhak Halev
i spoke of the great importance he attaches to leadership development in the city of Eilat and the region, and to the existence of a leadership program run by such a professional body as the Mandel Center for Leadership in the Negev. He added that he plans to be in regular contact with the program’s directors and participants throughout the program.
Dr. Drori Ganiel congratulated the participants, and spoke of his deep belief in the importance of educating and training leaders. He explained his views on the qualities that make for good leaders, including a commitment to learning and to asking questions, and underlined the value of extended and in-depth training programs.
Ms. Hadas Shapira presented her personal perspective as the new director general of the Eilot regional council. She emphasized the importance of leaders having an understanding of practice and stressed the importance of promoting the fellows’ ambitions and visions via practical projects that will improve the quality of life in the region in the deepest possible sense.
Mr. Moshe Vigdor, the director general of the Mandel Foundation–Israel, highlighted the centrality of leadership and the importance of leadership training. He quoted Ella Wheeler Wilcox’s poem, “The Winds of Fate”:
One ship drives east and another drives west
With the self-same winds that blow;
'Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales
That tells them the way to go.
He spoke of the importance with which he views leadership education that includes in-depth study, giving the participants “sails” that help them lead according to their values, principles, vision, and world view, rather than being driven wherever the wind blows.
Dr. Adi Nir-Sagi, the director of the Mandel Center for Leadership in the Negev, congratulated the fellows and directors of the new program, quoting the poetry of Avraham Ben-Yitzhak: “Blessed are they who sow and do not reap; they shall wander in extremity.” She explained the idea of sowing seeds as a metaphor for leadership: it involves taking a long-term view, planning, and giving without necessarily expecting anything in return. Referring to a later line of the same poem, “Blessed are they who know; their hearts will cry out from the wilderness,” she stressed that the program’s fellows engage in study, are involved in giving, and take responsibility for improving society.
All the speakers wished the new fellows success on their individual and shared learning journeys, and expressed hope that they develop new perspectives on the city and the region and new leadership capabilities that will help advance Eilat and Eilot toward a better future.
During the second half of the opening day, Dr. Nir-Sagi presented the Mandel theory of change, and the fellows heard about the learning process they will undergo over the course of the yearlong program.