Village Way Educational Initiatives Conference provides exciting opportunity for 750 partner educators to connect to each other and share experiences and best practices.
Approximately 750 educators from Village Way partnering high schools, youth villages and other educational frameworks for youth at risk across Israel attended the 2019 Village Way Educational Initiatives Conference, held at Tel Aviv University. The conference is organized by Village Way Educational Initiatives, created in 2006 to expand the Village Way methodology to youth villages, therapeutic residential communities and high schools with high populations of at-risk youth, including schools in Arab communities.
Israel President Reuven Rivlin expressed admiration and support for the educators in a recorded video message.
“If you look to your left and right in the auditorium, you’ll see all the diverse faces of Israeli society, Arabs and Jews, religious and secular. All sitting together, learning together, all willing to follow the same path: The Village Way. This isn’t only Israel at its best, it’s our collective Israeli hope. It’s proof that education truly leads society.”
This biennial conference is intended to show appreciation to the educators who work so hard all year in their educational communities. The conference is also intended to inspire the educators – to show them that they are connected to a larger educational movement, that they are not alone in their work, and also to provide the opportunity to connect with each other and share ideas and experiences.
Conference theme is “An Island of Stability during Adolescence”
The theme of this year’s conference, “An Island of Stability during Adolescence,” focused on the role of the “meaningful adult” and the “whole village” in the lives of adolescents. It is believed that all adolescents go through a period of instability.
Educators from diverse backgrounds exchanged ideas about their work and shared experiences about their personal lives. “It was interesting and educating to learn about other frameworks that are different from ours,” said Meir, an educator at Ramat Hadassah Youth Village.
Educators inspired by speakers
Following an afternoon of small group workshops and discussions, participants gathered to be addressed by Israeli leaders in advocacy, education and national politics.
Speakers included Yitzchak Herzog, Chairman, Jewish Agency for Israel, and Lisa Miara, an Israeli working with ISIS victims in Iraq. George Blank, Board Chair, Friends of Yemin Orde, congratulated the educators for their success and expressed ongoing friendship and support for the Village Way.
Chaim Peri, Founder, Village Way Educational Initiatives, also addressed the 750 educators from around Israel.
“Providing an island of stability means organizing the educational environment as a source of a coherent existential experience. In our view, this is the most important resource in the process of forming a personality and a healthy identity,” Chaim said.
The evening ended with an energizing concert by Israeli rock band, Tippex, getting educators on their feet dancing and singing. The result was a feeling of togetherness, recognition and appreciation.