It has become readily apparent that the standard of advocacy on Israel's behalf throughout the world is woefully inadequate. This is based, in large measure, on the fact that advocates are simply ill-prepared and lack the necessary skill-sets. The education component of the fellowship aims to change that; we aim to give the next generation of Israel advocates high-level, practical training in all aspects needed to be an effective activist.
As such, the seminar series forms an integral and crucial part of the IRF program. Throughout the fellowship year the Fellows are engaged in activities that allow them to hone their skills, learn new expertise, and become better advocates for Israel. These new attributes enable the Fellows to remain effective long after they have left the IRF. Moreover, the seminar series help to inform the Fellows and guides them in their decision making for their entire professional careers.
Through advanced briefings and exposure to the best practices and wisdom of seasoned organizational and political leaders, the fellowship also ensures that the Fellows are up-to-date on all developments in the region and globally that impact on Israel.
The seminar series of the IRF is the central tool in which we train the Fellows. Each seminar is tailor made to suit the needs of the Fellowship and devoted to the following key areas of expertise:
- Public Speaking
- Online Media and Social Networking Skills Workshop
- Updates and Expert Briefings
- Developments in the region and globally that impact on Israel
- Briefings with Media, NGOs, and experts that are working in the field
Each Fellow is required to prepare for and participate in all seminars. Opportunities to present his/her work and progress while providing feedback on their colleagues' work form part of the program.
The Op-ed writing seminar is the first major seminar of the year. It is a three-part series in which Fellows learn from professionals the essentials of op-ed writing (and other pieces of writing), including how to write an op-ed, how to choose a topic, and how to choose a place to publish the piece.
For the seminar, the Fellows are required to write and edit several attempts at an op-ed during and between each of the three meetings. The drafts are reviewed, discussed and corrected during the seminars by the team and the Fellows themselves.
The public speaking seminar is another major IRF seminar, the purpose of which is to train Fellows to be able to speak in front of an audience, or on TV. Such a skill is crucial in the world of Israel advocacy, and something that is sorely lacking. Similarly to the Writing Seminar, the IRF hires professionals in the field to coach the Fellows.
Online Media and Social Networking Skills Workshop
In an ever-changing world of technology, where information is readily available, advocates for Israel must remain vigilant. Best practices in the media and online are constantly changing. As such, the IRF is committed to making sure our Fellows remain at the cutting edge of advocacy by learning the latest techniques, and have the latest tools to competently make the case for Israel in the wider global community.
The Fellows engage the issues from all angles and hear and learn from experts in the various fields within Israel advocacy, such as online advocacy, media advocacy, social networking etc. How to use and master new formats such as Facebook and Twitter are taught.
Updates and Briefings
It is crucial that the Fellows remain well informed throughout the fellowship. We believe the most effective advocates are those that know their material and who are able to call on a wide range of facts and opinions in support of their arguments. A well-versed Israel Research Fellow is a daunting opponent.
The Fellows hear from experts in Israeli politics, foreign policy, and international law. They hear from Members of Knesset, diplomats, ambassadors and heads of major organizations and newspaper editors and journalists. In addition, when there are outside conferences relevant to the work and goals of the fellowship, we endeavor to have the Fellows partake thereof.
The Fellows also hear from the heads of major Israel advocacy non-governmental organizations (NGOs), who present to the Fellows showing them the work that they are involved in. More often than not, these sessions turn into brainstorming sessions that can benefit the NGOs as much as they do the Fellows.