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After four months of competing, six high school students have won the UK Ambassador Program and will be rewarded with a visit to Israel in February.
The program, based on the original Israeli TV show Ha'shagrir (the ambassador), was organized by Tribe, the youth wing of the United Synagogue in the UK which was launched in February 2003. It included an intensive course of Israel advocacy training and public speaking exercises designed to prepare high school students for the realities of university campus life in the UK.
Participating students competed in four tracks - public speaking, politics, education and media - and participated in a wide range of tasks which included giving an Israel advocacy presentation in a non-Jewish school, working with the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) at the London School of Economics, addressing members of the House of Lords and creating media blogs.
The six winning students, four from Jewish Free School (JFS) and two from King Solomon High School, were chosen by their peers and a panel of judges which included David Kaplan, managing director of Tribe and Lorna Fitzsimons, chief executive of the British Israel Communication and Research Centre (BICOM), as well as the schools' head teachers and governors.
The winners will take part in a six-day trip to Israel where they will meet with the heads of Israel advocacy organizations, politicians, government officials and religious leaders. The intense trip will also include a tour of the security fence and a helicopter ride to gain extensive insight into Israel's geography and security issues.
"All the participants have been first class and I am confident that they will have a major, collective, positive impact in promoting the State of Israel to their peers and to their future campus colleagues both Jewish and non-Jewish alike," said Kaplan
Robert Sands, winner of the King Soloman public speaking track, commented: "I have learnt so much and can not wait to go to Israel. It wasn't easy, but with all the help and training we were able to learn how to overcome our difficulties and really become ambassadors for Israel."
"The Ambassador Program was absolutely amazing and we want to thank all those who created it. The competition was so close that I feel privileged to take part," commented Charlotte Leigh, winner of the JFS politics track.