(photo credit: Courtesty)
While the World Jewish Congress kicked off its governing board meeting at Jerusalem's Inbal Hotel on Monday, some 25 young Jewish professionals from countries throughout the world attended the WJC's Future Generation program.
The participants were invited to the conference following a recommendation from their home countries and a selection process conducted by the WJC. They work in various fields, including nongovernmental organizations and Jewish organizations. Many of them were student leaders and activists throughout high school and university.
This week's seminar is entitled "Jewish Diplomacy: Dreams, Dilemmas and Decisions." Shai Franklin, the WJC's director of international organizations, spoke on Monday about "Jewish Diplomacy on the International Stage." Also scheduled to address the participants in the seminar are WJC president Edgar Bronfman, who will talk about "The WJC in the Global Arena," and Matthew Bronfman.
The young leaders attending the program come from countries as geographically and culturally diverse as Argentina, Belarus and Canada.
Dr. Olga Baskina, 23, from Minsk, Belarus, is a general practitioner at a Minsk hospital. She is the former head of Netzer, the Jewish Reform Movement in Belarus, and is also involved with the local Hillel, serving as a Jewish renaissance fellow.
Marclo Ellenberg, 30, is the executive-director of Yavneh in Uruguay. Yavneh is an organization whose "goal is to provide Jews in Uruguay the possibility to lead a Jewish life - really giving people no excuses why they can't lead a Jewish life [in Uruguay]," he said.
The WJC's young leadership seminar "is the fruit of the long-term vision that Edgar Bronfman has had as head of WJC," said Peleg Reshef, director of the WJC's future generation programs. "Young professionals "are not just here to participate in the governing board, as some of them do have a vote. It's really part of a long-term program to educate youth about diplomacy... They will be the future Edgar Bronfmans, and other huge Jewish diplomats who have done wonders for the Jewish people."
Gabi Briker, 25, from South Africa, said a conference of this magnitude creates various opportunities, adding: "We are here to create a serious network between the 25 people here. We are young enough to connect with the majority of young people at home, but at the same time we are old enough to make a real difference."