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December 3, 2008

UC to reopen study in Israel; Brandeis offers summer prep program

http://www.jewishjournal.com/community_briefs/article/uc_to_reopen_study_in_israel_brandeis_offers_summer_prep_program_20081203

UC to Reopen Study in Israel

Officials at the University of California are talking with their counterparts at Hebrew University of Jerusalem about reopening the UC's study abroad program there for Fall 2009.

The program was suspended in 2002 after Israel made the U.S. State Department's travel-warning list. That didn't stop an unknown number of UC students -- the university has no official record -- from studying in Israel, but the move required students to officially drop out of the UC campus they attended, possibly forfeiting financial aid, and enroll directly in an Israeli university or a third-party provider for a semester of more. Students were left to work out when they reenrolled at their degree school whether their credits would transfer.

Other universities, from USC to University of North Carolina (UNC), had reinstated their Israel study programs after the Second Intifada ended in 2005. UNC, which like the UC system is a public institution, merely required students to sign a waiver. Leaders in the Jewish community, state legislators, members of the UC Board of Regents and the student bodies at Berkeley, Davis, San Diego and Los Angeles all have pushed the UC Office of the President for a similar exception to its policy prohibiting the education abroad program from operating in countries under a State Department travel warning.

"We are always concerned about the safety and security of our students, no matter where they are studying on traveling -- whether it is in a classroom in California or in one of our research labs, or if it's overseas," said Chris Harrington, a UC spokesman.

The university has new tools for assessing risk, Harrington said, and officials are confident now that studying in Israel is safe again. This summer, UC Provost Wyatt "Rory" Hume asked an ad hoc committee to determine whether the university could create such an exception. The UC Academic Senate Committee on International Education voted last month to approve the academic program for Hebrew University. Officials are now in negotiations to send students as soon as next fall.

"It is in the best interest of our students to once again provide educational opportunities in Israel," Michael Cowan, the education abroad program's acting director, said in a statement. "In today's richly interconnected global economy, a study abroad program at Hebrew University of Jerusalem would provide a unique academic and cultural opportunity for UC students."

-- Brad A. Greenberg, Senior Writer

Brandeis University Offers Summer Programs for High Schoolers

Brandeis University is offering high school students a taste of the college life. The university is sponsoring two summer programs: BIMA, designed for students with an interest in the arts; and Genesis, covering a variety of academic subjects. Both programs will take place on the Waltham, Mass. campus July 6-Aug. 6. Genesis will include courses such as "Judaism and Justice," "Investigating Journalism and Responsibility," and "World Religions: Encountering Diversity." BIMA students can take classes in film, theatre, writing and music. Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to meet the first application deadline of Feb. 2, 2009. Applications are available at http://www.brandeis.edu/bima and http://www.brandeis.edu/genesis.

-- Lilly Fowler, Contributing Writer

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