REALITY GLOBAL participants pose for a photograph with former president Shimon Peres ahead of his address to them at the Peres Peace Center in Tel Aviv yesterday.
(photo credit: NETANEL TOBIAS)
Conversations about social change, environmental conservation, and global politics bubbled over at the Bar Kayma restaurant in Tel Aviv on Monday, when 50 entrepreneurs from 11 countries sat down for lunch as part of the week-long REALITY Global program.
REALITY Global is a leadership development program that has brought together philanthropists, social entrepreneurs, and professionals in an initiative funded by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation.
The program has been running since 2009 and is designed for young change-makers. It focuses on Tikun Olam – the Jewish term for healing the world.
The participants, aged 25 to 40, are given a variety of perspectives and experiences from across the political and philanthropic spectrum during the program, which is fully funded and takes them across the country over the course of seven days.
Yaniv Rivlin, a program officer at the Schusterman Foundation, says that REALITY encompasses the Schustermans’ vision of trying to unleash the power in young people to create positive change, both within the Jewish community and across the world at large.
According to Rivlin, all of the participants are “social entrepreneurs and people from the international development space. All these people are tackling the hardest problems of the world.
“We hope that through this journey they will strengthen their ties to Israel and spread the word about Israel to their influential networks. All these people are making the world a better place and exploring their leadership identity. There’s no better place to do this than Israel.”
The group visited the Peres Peace Center, where former president Shimon Peres gave a message of hope to the group, emphasizing their potential as the younger generation, the power of optimism, and the importance of Israel.
Participant Julian Bronstein from Cordoba, Argentina, echoed Rivlin’s message. “As an entrepreneur I like the idea of people building a place where people can discover the best version of themselves,” she said. “Not what society tells you to do or how to be. I am starting to believe that Israel is a place where I, or any Jew, can discover the best version of themselves.”
Bronstein has been one of the coordinators of the Academia Solidaria de Arte (Solidarity Arts Academy), an NGO that offers people from vulnerable backgrounds the chance to attend classes from a range of artistic disciplines. The only requirement for participation is that they must one day “pay back” to society by participating in community projects.
Anastasia Dellaccio from Washington DC applied for the REALITY program as a means to reconnect with her Jewish roots and collaborate with other entrepreneurs in an engaging environment.
“The relationships that you build, that’s when you learn from each other and that’s when friendships come about.”
Discussing her philanthropy, Anastasia says “Everyone has a role to play and whatever choice I made it had to be something filled with purpose.”
Anastasia is the director of marketing and communications for Sister Cities International, an organization designed to connect people and communities around the globe in order to foster peace and understanding. She also co-chairs the Millennial Action Council and is co-founder, with her husband, of Dolci Gelati.