Arava Institute for Environmental Studies (AIES)
A Unique School in the Middle East
The Arava Institute is an uncommon school in the region, in which Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian students collaborate in peace building environmental projects. The extraordinary immersion program provides international students from all around the world (mostly from North America) to join their fellow students at Arava Institute for a semester or two, and take part in numerous educational and social activities.
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The institute is located in Ketura Kibbutz in southern Israel, approx. 50 km from Eilat. Credit points earned at the different courses in Environmental Science or Middle Eastern Studies are accredited by Ben Gurion University, and thus recognized by hundreds of universities and colleges worldwide.
The courses offered at Arava Institute mostly regard the Middle Eastern politics, ecology and agriculture studies. All courses are taught in English. Each semester the students go on a field trip to different locations in Israel and Jordan, where they meet researchers and see local projects in fields of sustainable energy, agriculture, water and irrigation etc.
All students must attend the Peace Building Environmental Leadership Seminar (PELS). In this seminar students meet once a week and discuss cultural and political issues as well as attend lectures by guest activists and researchers.The program places much emphasis on social life and extracurricular activities that include trips around Israel, taking part in volunteer work, parties and much more.
International students may choose to stay a semester or a year, and take 4 – 5 courses in each semester. Students have the option of pursuing a personal project in addition to their other classes.
* Sustainable Energy
* Arava Ecology
* Sustainable Agriculture
* History of Ecology
* Environmental Science, Law, Politics and Leadership
* Water Saving Irrigation Techniques
* Anthropology and Environment
* Growing Organic Food
* Social Science Theories and Environmental Changes
* Water Issues and Politics in the Middle East
* Geographic Information System (GIS)
Most of the guest lecturers in the program are Palestinian, Israeli and Jordanian officials who present challenges they face in their lines of work, and discuss projects that were designed to solve these issues. On campus faculty are mostly Israeli researchers, including: an expert on medical and biblical herbs; a researcher of the water conflict between Israel and Jordan; a researcher of desert ecosystems and biology; and others.
Only students or graduates of an academic degree may apply for the program. Although candidates may have background in various fields in humanities, social sciences or natural sciences they should have some background in either Middle Eastern Studies or Environmental Sciences.
All applicants must hand in an official transcript of their current or past academic studies as well as a recommendation letter. Acceptance to the program also includes a personal interview (usually held over the phone). Candidates who are not native English speakers must pass an English proficiency test.