Uruguay Officials Visit Israel for Project Interchange

By AJC, Special for  USDR

AJC Project Interchange, in collaboration with AJC’s Arthur and Rochelle Belfer Institute of Latino and Latin American Affairs (BILLA) and the Jewish community of Uruguay, is hosting its first seminar in Israel for Uruguay senators, congressmen and other top political leaders. Participants include representatives from the ruling Frente Amplio coalition as well as the Nacional, Colorado and Independiente  parties.

“We are so pleased to partner for the first time with the Uruguayan Jewish community to expose influential leaders in their country to Israel,” said Dina Siegel Vann, Director of AJC’s BILLA. “Historically, Uruguay has stood tall in its support for the Jewish State being the first Latin American country to engage in diplomatic relations. Politicians in this delegation will confirm that Israel and Uruguay are bound together by key values such as democratic rule and respect for human  rights.”

The seminar focuses on providing participants with first-hand knowledge of the geopolitical landscape of Israel and the region, its strategic environment, and the diversity of Israeli society. Sessions of special interest to the Uruguayan leaders include:Israel’s approaches to water reclamation and management, innovations in agriculture, challenges facing secondary educational systems, and Israel’s prison system and approaches to reducing recidivism. Speakers also will discuss coexistence efforts, human rights, and Israel’s legal  system.

Throughout their week in Israel, high-level briefings with members of Knesset (Israel’s Parliament) and government officials, such as Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Deputy Director General for Latin America at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Modi Ephraim, and Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Yuval Steinitz, will take  place.

As with all Project Interchange seminars, participants will traverse much of Israel, including Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the Galilee, the Northern border and Southern region. The delegation also will travel to the West Bank to meet with Palestinian leaders who will discuss Palestinian business and innovation, as well as the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian peace  negotiations.

Uruguay was the first South American country to officially recognize the State of Israel and was home to the first Israeli Embassy in Latin America, established in 1948. In recent years, Uruguay has been a staunch supporter of Israel in various international and regional  forums.

“Project Interchange is thrilled to welcome a delegation of strong, diverse and influential Uruguayan voices to Israel to meet and collaborate with Israeli counterparts,” said Robin Levenston, Executive Director of Project Interchange. “This seminar is a first-of-its-kind for Project Interchange and we look forward to connecting these impressive leaders to Israel to explore best practices in areas of shared interest, thereby further enhancing the important relationship between Israel and  Uruguay.”

This seminar was made possible through the generous support of the Paul and Balbina Schifter Memorial  fund.

SOURCE American Jewish  Committee

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