Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Ethiopian Students Excel at University

The Leo Baeck Education Center in Haifa, in partnership with the University of Haifa, provides Ethiopian students the chance to gain a higher education by fostering their leadership skills and academic excellence. The program creates a better starting point; an easier transition and integration into professional life for each participating student. With today’s troubling statistics; a mere 10% of Ethiopian Israelis have a higher education or job training, only 5% were in jobs requiring a university degree, Ethiopian Israelis receive a significantly lower salary in employment, women in particular are gived unequal opportunities and salaries; every one of these statistics is unacceptable and in light of the hard truth, the Leo Baeck Education Center is aiming to stop this downward spiral.

It isn’t simply the fifteen young hopefuls that gain valuable tools, enhanced resum├ęs, improve their employability, and become empowered. No, it is the entire Ethiopian community and general Haifa residents that benefit from the result of this program. What are the results? First and foremost, the ULTP (University Leadership Training Program) students become leaders and role models to the younger generations; lifting the whole community up. We have seen how excitement and motivation awaits the Ethiopian community; they go from a state of destitute to a state of optimism, filled with pride when they see one of their young members graduate from the ULTP program and become inspirational young leaders.

What is important to note is how the program embraces traditions. Rather than attempting to discard the students cultural heritage, the Leo Baeck ULTP program gives the students the abilities to look critically at the weaknesses in their own community. They are able to create coping mechanisms to solve the problems within their own culture and community.

“A culture that does not know her past, her present is poor and her future unclear” (Yigal Alon)

The ULTP program has transformed the lives of many capable Ethiopian Israelis, for the past 17 years. This is one of Israel’s most pressing social issues – the integration of young people into employment and removing the barriers that persist in society. 


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