Birthright Excel held its first virtual business leadership summit, kicking off its 10-year anniversary celebration that will consist of several exciting international community activations and initiatives. The Summit followed the organization’s 2020 digital fellowship program, which took place this summer. Recognizing early on the challenges that COVID-19 would pose to international travel, Excel staff worked tirelessly to migrate its in-person internship and business accelerator programming -- which takes place on the ground in Israel over ten weeks -- to a fully online experience. The online event kicks off the ten-year anniversary celebration of Birthright Israel’s renowned business leadership fellowship program Birthright Excel.
Birthright Excel also announced that for the first time ever, diaspora Jews from every country can apply to participate in next summer’s Excel experience. Previously, applications and participation were limited to individuals from North America, Israel and the U.K.
Registration is open now at birthrightexcel.com.
“While COVID-19 has certainly presented challenges for our organization, we’ve actually found that the pandemic has been a catalyst for growth and expansion,” said Idit Rubin, Executive Director of Birthright Israel Excel. “The increased use of video conferencing tools accelerated our ability to connect with talented young individuals around the globe and actually helped drive additional international interest in our program. As a result, for the first time we’re now thrilled to welcome applications from all over the world for our summer 2021 program.”
The theme of the summit was “New Ideas for New Times", with several keynote speakers: founder of The Huffington Post Ariana Huffington; founder of Tablet Magazine Alana Newhouse; renowned talent agent Steve Herz; award-winning journalist Jessica Abo; and cofounder of SpaceIL, Yonatan Winetraub.
"The Coronavirus has changed our lives, and for Birthright Israel the impact has been significant. But we have not forgotten our mission: to connect young Jewish adults to their Jewish identity, Jewish community and to Israel and Israelis and continue to achieve this goal with a variety of online activities " said Birthright CEO Gidi Mark in his opening remarks. "When we celebrate Excel’s 15th and 20th anniversary I am sure that I will look around the room, assuming the there is no more COVID by then, and will see that the members of the community themselves are integral parts of the solution, providing inspiration, teaching us about innovation, demonstrating entrepreneurship and taking up leadership roles in the Jewish community” he concluded.
Founded in 2010, Birthright Israel Excel is a highly selective fellowship that builds leadership skills and relationships among tomorrow’s global business leaders to propel the future success of the global Jewish community. In its first 10 years, the organization has developed a community of 850+ global Fellows from a diverse range of more than 95 private and public universities. Through Excel, Fellows have participated in internships at prestigious companies and organizations such as Deloitte, Check Point, Evercore, Facebook, FairFly, Ernst & Young, The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, and many others. Several Fellows have then gone on to earn recognition including being named to Forbes 30 Under 30 lists and selected as Fulbright Fellows, among other notable achievements.