The first ever Israeli youth delegation departs for Bahrain

The PICO Kids flagship program, now in its tenth year, allows the youth of Jerusalem to explore and develop their skills in a variety of areas including 3D printing and coding.

 PICO Kids ambassadors en route to Bahrain.  (photo credit: PICO KIDS)
PICO Kids ambassadors en route to Bahrain.
(photo credit: PICO KIDS)

20 young Israelis departed this week for Bahrain on a mission to promote positive diplomatic relations between the two nations. 

The PICO Kids flagship program, now in its tenth year, allows the youth of Jerusalem to explore and develop their skills in a variety of areas including 3D printing, coding, photography, graphic design and more.

The organization was founded in 2012 by Elie Wurtman, a Jerusalem-based venture investor and entrepreneur.

Since its founding, PICO Kids has grown from 12 students to operations in 60 schools throughout Jerusalem, with over 4,000 kids enrolled in PICO Kids programs. The program aims to encompass a representative sample of Jerusalem's diversity, pulling from neighborhoods all over the city. 

The last trip of this kind was in December 2021 when 16 teens from Jerusalem flew to Dubai to discuss the shared issue of water scarcity with their UAE counterparts. 

 Children participate in a PICO Kids program in Talpiot, Jerusalem. (credit: PICO KIDS) Children participate in a PICO Kids program in Talpiot, Jerusalem. (credit: PICO KIDS)

“While technological advancements have presented a critical response to this issue, we know that it will continue to challenge our region and the world, particularly as populations increase and urban centers expand,” said founder Elie Wurtman. “The people who will be most impacted by this issue are the future generations so it is only fitting that they will be the ones to introduce working collaborations to find long-term and increasingly modern answers to this age-old problem.”

All 20 students prepared for this 2022 trip by participating in an intensive program focused on public diplomacy, regional cooperation and strengthening English communication skills.

The trip's focus will be on interacting with local students and, like on the previous year's trip to Dubai, the group will be discussing water scarcity. 

Israel-Bahrain relations

The program has strong support from the Bahraini Embassy in Israel. 

“The PICO Kids Ambassadors mission is a remarkable example of how the power of the younger generation can contribute to building bridges between our two nations through a spirit of creative collaboration,” said H.E. Ambassador Khaled Yousif Al-Jalahma, Bahrain’s Ambassador to Israel. “There is no doubt that the type of innovative thinking that comes from the minds of young Bahrainis and Israelis will be critical for addressing many of the mutual challenges facing our region today and, in the future, and I commend all involved in bringing this historic program to fruition.”

"These interactions are at the heart of the Abraham Accords," wrote Elie Wurtman in a recent Jerusalem Post op-ed. "The success of the accords has allowed preconceptions of decades of geopolitical and religious conflict to be put aside in favor of partnerships based on the understanding that as people there will always be far more that unites us than divides us."

Shira Silkoff contributed to this report.