A special Weizmann Institute program for science and technology education, designed for Ethiopian-Israeli youth, is entering its sixth year. The program’s first graduation ceremony, a festive affair, was held recently in the Institute’s Wix Auditorium. The 35 graduates were Ethiopian students for whom completing the program marks their successful integration into Israeli society. The ceremony ended with the performance of a play, One of a Kind, by the National Youth Theater.
Launched five years ago in collaboration with the Jewish Agency and the UJA Federation of New York, the program aims to help gifted Ethiopian students prepare for university studies in science and technology, develop their personal abilities and help them build the self-confidence to engage in these fields.
Some 80 students are currently participating in various stages of the program. In addition to enrichment studies in the sciences, mathematics and English, they receive guidance from tutors of the “Perach” mentor program and from the International Sephardic Education Foundation. Some also take part in various other offerings of the Weizmann Institute’s Young@Science, including delegations to the NASA Space Camp in Turkey and the “Explainers” training courses at the Clore Garden of Science. In cooperation with the “Atidim” (Futures) project, the students take a preparatory course for psychometric (college entrance) exams. Culture and citizenship are also part of the program; activities have included visits to the Supreme Court, the Israel Electric Corporation’s power station, museums, nature sites and dance and theater performances.
Special emphasis is put on strengthening the ties between program participants and Israel’s Ethiopian community, and on fostering dialogue between the educational team and the students’ parents. The program’s staff hopes that these young people will not only be able to fully utilize their native talents and successfully develop their individual careers, but also serve as role models and active citizens, contributing to the integration of Ethiopian immigrants into Israeli society.