Student Leaders From Across the United States Visit Israel on ADL Campus Leadership Mission

  • January 29, 2015



A group of campus leaders from 16 universities across the United States, including one student from the University of Colorado at Boulder, traveled to Israel on an Anti-Defamation League (ADL) mission, giving college students an up-close look at the complex issues within Israel and the Middle East.


The 18 participants in the annual ADL Campus Leaders Mission to Israel spent eight days in Israel from December 30 to January 6 where they visited Christian and Jewish holy sites, met with decision-makers, government and military officials, diplomats, journalists,  religious figures, business people, Israeli and Palestinian students, and ordinary Israelis, both Arab and Jewish.


The participants are chosen for their experiences through a rigorous selection process. Students must demonstrate a record of leadership at their respective colleges through political involvement, student activism, or as an editor of a student-run newspaper.


“This mission took place at a particularly complex time in the wake of Israel’s war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip this past summer,” said David S. Waren, ADL Director of Education. “Our goal is to equip the students with a better understanding of the complicated issues facing Israelis and Palestinians today, and return to their schools as better informed participants in the dialogue on campus.”


Chelsea Canada, the Colorado participant on this year’s mission and a student body president at CU Boulder, reflected,

“In reporting on the conflict, the media often offers only option one or option two in a way that the reader must choose one side or the other. The complexity of the history of the region, the connection to the land by multiple groups, and the different political views within the country itself make this impossible.”


Chelsea, whose only other trip outside the United States had been on a mission sponsored by her church to rebuild an orphanage in Mexico, related her experience on the ADL mission to her leadership role at CU by encouraging other students:

“I challenge you as a community member of the University of Colorado, a community member of Boulder, and a member of the international community to not jump to conclusions, to challenge beliefs that you would usually gravitate towards, and to take advantage of the resources we have on campus to better educate yourself before you leave this community and find your role within the greater community.”

The group met with Jewish and Arab Israelis from an array of communities, cultures, and backgrounds, and discussed the cultural landscape of Israel and its complex history, and learned about how these factors are entwined with critical political decisions from a variety of perspectives and opinions.  The students also visited with their peers at several Israeli campuses. Prominent individuals featured on the itinerary included Israeli journalist Yossi Klein Halevi and i24 News CEO Frank Malol.


The group also traveled across Israel with stops in Jerusalem, Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee, the Syrian border, Golan Heights, and Tel Aviv, and toured Yad Vashem, the Old City of Jerusalem, Old Jaffa, and the Christian holy sites Capernaum and Mount of Beatitudes.


The student participants represented Arizona State University; Cornell University; Duke University; Florida International University; George Mason University; Loyola University, Chicago; Marquette University; Michigan State University; Rutgers University; San Diego State University; University of Colorado; University of Maryland, College Park; University of Pennsylvania; University of Texas, Austin; Washington University in St. Louis, and Wesleyan University.