March 20, 2019

Life-changing cultural experience broadens students' policy perspective

School of Public Policy master's students gain insights into politics and life on Israel trip

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School of Public Policy Staff

Master's students in The School of Public Policy travelled to Israel in February for the Multi-Faces of Israel course, to gain international perspective from leaders and industry innovators there.

MPP students traveled to Israel in February for the Multi-Faces of Israel course.

School of Public Policy

In February, graduate students from the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy travelled to Israel for the Multi-Faces of Israel course offered by The School as part of their Master of Public Policy (MPP) program. The course was first launched in 2013 and to date almost 100 students have participated in the program, which is designed to broaden students’ policy perspective at the international level. 

The course features high-level speakers from business and government, allowing students to actively engage with current leaders and industry innovators in Israel. Topics cover the four research areas of The School of Public Policy in Social and Health, Energy and Environmental, Fiscal and Economic as well as International Policy and Trade.

Students met with distinguished speakers such as Elad Golad, head of Regulation Department, Natural Resources Administration, Israel Ministry of Energy, and Col. (ret.) Miri Eisin, former spokesperson to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, as well as David Roet, head of the North American Bureau and deputy head of the North America Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

MPP student Mitchell Boyne says, "The trip provided me with a level of insight into not only the politics of Israel, but life in Israel in general...the opportunity to meet and connect with Israeli students was invaluable. This trip has changed my outlook on the region, and I am incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to participate."

Students tour Yad Vashem in Jerusalem: the world centre for Holocaust research, documentation, education and commemoration.

Students tour Yad Vashem in Jerusalem: the world centre for Holocaust research and commemoration.

School of Public Policy

The trip included a moving visit to Israel's National Holocaust Museum, Yad Vashem, where students listened to Rena Quint's story as a holocaust survivor. 

Student Patrick Smith says, “By far the most impactful and meaningful element of the trip was being able to meet with Rena, a Holocaust survivor. Today, there remains only a select few survivors and hearing her story provided a sober reminder that it’s the next generation's duty to ensure that something like the Holocaust never occurs again.” 

Students have called their educational and cultural experience in this program impactful and life changing, which will also have a lasting influence on their progression as emerging leaders in Canada.

The School of Public Policy’s Multi Faces of Israel program would not be possible without the generosity of The Gerald Schwartz and Heather Reisman Foundation — a Canadian foundation which provides transformational learning experiences for Canadian and Israeli university students.

Students speak with Holocaust survivor Rena Quint.

Students speak with Holocaust survivor Rena Quint.

School of Public Policy

Shamus Hardie, a current MPP student, comments, “I am truly grateful to have had the opportunity to partake in this trip. If it were not for the generosity of The School of Public Policy and its donors, the costs would have been prohibitive to travel and explore the beautiful country of Israel on my own.”

His fellow student Sarah Chow adds, “The entire trip gave me an appreciation for the sense of security that I have overlooked while living in Canada.”

The Multi-Faces of Israel is a unique program at the University of Calgary and across Canada. Professor Pierre-Gerlier Forest, Director and Palmer Chair, The School of Public Policy, notes, “Israel has developed original and innovative solutions to the most crucial problems faced by modern democracies.”

The gift from The Gerald Schwartz and Heather Reisman Foundation is part of the university’s $1.3 billion fundraising campaign, Energize: The Campaign for Eyes High. Thanks to the generosity of the Reisman Foundation, and other philanthropic leaders, friends and supporters, the campaign is now 90 per cent toward its targeted goal. The campaign is helping the university invest in new student experiences, like the Multi-Faces of Israel program, innovation in teaching and learning, and fostering deeper connections with the community.

Students interact during a Q-and-A session at Israel’s Ministry of Health with Dr. Asher Salmon, on the Israeli health care system.

Students interact during a Q-and-A session at Israel’s Ministry of Health with Dr. Asher Salmon.

School of Public Policy