Wake County Board of Commissioners’ Chair Joe Bryan is traveling in Israel with Project Interchange, a non-profit educational institute of American Jewish Committee. Below is the press release distributed by Project Interchange. To view pictures of Mr. Bryan, visit facebook.com/wakegov or follow @wakegov on Instagram.
Bi-partisan Delegation of American Officials Visiting Israel
Focus on Education, Economic Development and High Tech Innovation, Health Care, and Immigrant Absorption
(Jerusalem, ISRAEL) A bi-partisan delegation of prominent American city, county, and state officials is participating in an in-depth visit to Israel for intensive dialogue and briefings through Project Interchange, an educational institute of AJC. The officials, which include State House and State Senate leaders, City Councilmembers, a County Commissioner, and a State Board of Education leader, represent the states of Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
The seminar, which was funded by Project Interchange and not taxpayers, is intended to provide these policymakers with a first-hand understanding of Israel, its rich and dynamic society, and often-times complicated reality. The trip includes meetings with influential figures across the political and social spectrum, including senior Israeli, Palestinian, and Israeli Arab leaders.
The delegation will also traverse much of Israel, including Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and the Northern border, for a first-hand look at Israel, both through, and beyond, the headlines.
Briefings and site visits reflect specific areas of interest for the delegation participants, with a focus on sharing best practices on such issues as from education, economic development and high tech innovation, health care, and absorption and integration of immigrant populations.
Briefings dealing with diversity issues, including civil rights and minority communities, as well as sessions on fostering bilateral high tech and economic initiatives, and meetings with internationally renowned experts on the geo-strategic issues facing the Middle East and possible implications for the West will be featured.
Sam Witkin, Executive Director of Project Interchange, noted, “Project Interchange is honored to host this important delegation of prominent American officials to Israel.” Witkin added, “These officials represent a diverse set of states and constituencies from across the United States, but they share a common interest in education, job creation and high tech innovation, health care, and immigrant and minority communities. They will also witness the complex realities and challenges facing Israel and the world. We hope that this educational experience will provide a platform for deeper understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing the region and commonalities between their communities and Israel.” Witkin continued, “We are hopeful that the site visits and meetings during this intensive educational seminar will provide these influential leaders with best practices for their communities and constituents, and opportunities for bilateral cooperation to the benefit of all.”
Since 1986, Project Interchange has been hosting seminars for city, county and state officials from across the United States. Previous seminars have resulted in numerous instances of collaboration between local officials and their Israeli counterparts. Most recently, Colorado State Senator Mark Scheffel, a 2012 seminar participant, drafted and oversaw enactment of a new law that allows Colorado to invest in Israel.
The Project Interchange delegation of city and state officials includes:
- State Representative Angela Williams, Colorado
- State Representative David Richardson, Florida
- Jim Holden, Chief Deputy Treasurer and General Counsel, Indiana
- State Representative Ryan Quarles, Kentucky
- Assistant Majority Leader and State Senator Harriette L. Chandler, Massachusetts
- State Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, New Jersey
- Commissioner Joe Bryan, Chair, Wake County Board of Commissioners, North Carolina
- Michael Collins, State Board of Education, Ohio
- City Councilman and Majority Leader Curtis Jones, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania