Mandel Program for Local Leadership in Beer Sheva: Cohorts 1–3
The three cohorts of the program strived to train outstanding local leaders to work toward substantive change and improvement in the quality of life in Beer Sheva
The Mandel Program for Local Leadership in Beer Sheva was established to train an outstanding group of local leaders to work toward substantive change and improvement in the quality of life in Beer Sheva and its environs. The participants in the program included local leaders active in areas such as education, welfare, and the arts, and who demonstrated community involvement, a desire to spearhead change, and a willingness to accept responsibility for what happens around them.
Each cohort participated in the program for a period of two years. The program provided fellows with theoretical and experiential studies, retreats, workshops, projects and individual mentoring.
Fellows in the program represented a broad cross-section of Israeli society in terms of age (from participants in their thirties to participants in their sixties), place of residence (across the Beer Sheva metropolitan area), occupation, and religion. Upon completing the program, graduates were given the opportunity to join the Center’s continuing programs.
Conducted in collaboration with the Beer Sheva municipality, the program aimed to enable the participants to study and clarify values such as fraternity, solidarity, justice, freedom, authenticity, and identity. Their study of society focused on social theory and specific issues, such as the relationship between the Center of the country and the periphery. Similarly, the program emphasized familiarity with the Negev’s population and communities, and introduced the fellows to leaders active in the field.
OUTPUTS OF THE PROGRAM
Over the course of the program, and subsequently, participants developed and implemented personal and group projects. For example: a Jewish-Arab café; a space for dialogue between different populations in the Negev (e.g., veteran Israelis and Soviet immigrants, or theater activities for Jewish and Arab women); urban cultural activities; and more.
The first cohort of the program began in fall 2010 and concluded in summer 2012 with 14 graduates. Among the important projects led by graduates of cohort 1 were the construction of a network of bicycle lanes and walking paths throughout Beer Sheva; the inclusion of paved, dedicated bicycle lanes in all planned new streets; the establishment of a values center for teachers which is operated in partnership with the Ministry of Education; “Walking City”; and more.
The second round began in fall 2012 and concluded in summer 2014. This cohort had 17 graduates. Projects developed by the graduates of cohort 2 include establishing a bilingual choir (Hebrew-Arabic) at the Degania school; collaborative theater activities for Bedouin and Jewish women; a center for therapeutic cooking; a Jewish-Arab café; integration of the elderly into the community; dialogue groups for veteran Israelis and immigrants from the former Soviet Union; community building; cultural and design activities in the Beer Sheva urban space; and more.
The third cohort opened in October 2014 under the direction of Dr. Smadar Ben-Asher and Israel Sorek and completed its studies in July 2016. Projects being developed by the 21 graduates of this cohort include the establishment of an educational farm in Yeruham, development of a long-term plan for promoting excellence in sports among young Bedouin, creating a comprehensive cultural vision for the city of Beer Sheva, promoting socio-economic advancement of Bedouin women, developing guidelines for integrating new teachers in schools, spearheading a social-environmental protest against a planned phosphate mine in Arad, building an operational network in the area of youth at risk, establishing a school of science and art for girls in the Bedouin sector, publishing a periodical on children’s education, and more.