The Avi Fellowship
A project to foster “young ambassadors” for Israel on North American college campuses. The Fellowhsip is geared toward students who have come to college after serving in the IDF, and who are dedicated to the work of promoting Israel and peace on their campuses. Each year, the Fund will select up to five of these outstanding IDF veterans to name as Avi Fellows, and will award them each a $5000 stipend for their studies. In addition, these fellows will have access to program funds to support their efforts and activities. Avi Fellows will work together with Jewish students and Jewish organizations on campus and in the local community to become an effective presence for Israel. Fellows will work to bring the “human face” of Israel to campus by embodying compassion, understanding, and a willingness to listen. With their efforts we hope to create a new model of utilizing personal experiences to educate about Israel . Inspired by Avi’s example, the fellows will promote nuanced and open discussion about Israel, demonstrate effective leadership qualities, and facilitate constructive dialogue in order to be strong voices for Israel and for peace on North American college campuses. The Fund will pilot the Avi Fellowship during the upcoming academic year (2011-2012).
Avi Fellows 2012-2013
Zaki Djemal (24) was born in London and grew up in Jerusalem. He attended Hartman high school and was active in those years in various social change movements promoting dialogue, conflict resolution and religious freedom in his own and in the wider community. These activities included, among others, his participation in NY based Auburn Theological Seminary’s Face to Face/Faith to Faith leadership program, that brings together disparate teens from afflicted regions of conflict, engaging them in non-apologetic interfaith dialogue.
After graduating high school Zaki was drafted into the IDF. He served for three years at Galei Tzahal the Israel Army Radio Station as vice editor of the daily morning news program “Good Morning Israel” and field reporter during the January 2009 Gaza War. Zaki produced the Galei Tzahal’s Remembrance Day Broadcast “Od Me’at Na’hafoch Le’Shir” (“Soon We Will Become a Song”), in which Israel’s most popular music artists compose and perform poems written by Fallen Soldiers. Zaki is the recipient of the Galei Tzahal Editor-in-Chief Annual Award for Best Documentary Radio Special: “Me’ayin Yavo Ezri” – Belief and Religion on the Battlefield (2009).
Upon completion of his Military service, Zaki traveled to Nepal with Israeli NGO Tevel be’Tzedek and spent six months working in eco-sustainability, hygiene promotion and youth empowerment in a small village at the footsteps of the Himalaya. Soon after, he traveled to earthquake-ravaged Haiti and served as chief logistics officer of the IsraAID/Tevel be’Tzedek Relief Mission for three months. During his travels, Zaki worked as a freelance journalist, his articles commissioned by Ha’aretz, Ynet News, CNN, and Israel Channel 2 TV News.
Since his return to Israel, Zaki has been working as a freelance project manager for a variety of non-profits. Some of his recent projects include: IsraAID’s “Israel in Africa” conference with Irish rock star Bob Geldof; IsraAID’s Exhibit in the Jewish Federations “General Assembly New Orleans 2010”; and Auburn Theological Seminary’s “Prophets/Profits for Peace” - a $25 million investment fund for Israeli and Palestinian joint business ventures.
Zaki is currently pursuing his bachelor’s degree at Harvard College. He hopes to major in Social Studies.