[Israel to US] Eli Hazan: The Strength of ACYPL Is In The Connections They Build
Until the fall of the Soviet Union and the acceleration of globalization, the countries of the Western world had good relations with one another, but few were truly united. The uniting of these countries in the wake of the Cold War was the most important global revolution in human history, slightly reminiscent of the “Pax Romana” (although it was surpassed by the uniting of the West post-9/11). However, in order to deepen it, they required an investment of special personalities, institutions and organizations who understood the importance of nurturing those relationships and, more importantly, nurturing the concept that not only is it important to ask what kind of world do I live in, but also, what kind of world am I going to leave behind?
Thus, the effort and persistence of the American Council of Young Political Leaders in organizing delegations of young politicians from around the world is no less than a breakthrough.
I was given the privilege to join to the delegation of 2013 as a representative of a small country – Israel. We, the Jews, have an interesting past, a thrilling present and exciting future full of question marks. On the one hand, we are only eight million people, but our impact on the globe is significant. However, we would not have gotten there without American help. The initiative of ACYPL is a great example of how this happens.
The Israeli delegation was invited to Washington and Colorado. Our visits to these areas have enriched our knowledge and changed old concepts and understandings of how the United States relates with the world, examining perspectives and angles that are completely different from what we knew or thought before.
Order is very important in an organization of such missions. I want to thank Donna Farag, who is a program officer at ACYPL. Also great thanks to Bill Hybl and Mike, Ryan, Katie, Ben and Connie from the El Pomar Foundation. All have made the visit a fascinating experience and taught us a lot about American society, but also about the considerable importance of relationships between people from around the world.
We were exposed to the complexity of American politics and we also learned the ways to work within it, as well as the intricacies of the system itself. We were exposed to issues in American politics like illegal immigration and the demographic face of the United States in years to come. We met members of Congress at the federal level, state level and local level, and we discovered great American individuals who are willing to invest in shaping their society.
I can say that for me, the visit was a formative, “once in a lifetime” experience that I will never forget. However, the most striking thing was meeting with representatives from Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and the Palestinian Authority. After all, my chance as an Israeli in the Middle East to meet young people from these countries is extremely rare. Arabs are very concerned about the Jewish state of Israel. And precisely here, in the land of freedom, and thanks to the excellent organization, I had the golden opportunity to meet the same young people, respond to complex questions, get answers to questions I asked them and find all the ways to build a common future. Will we get it soon? I doubt it. But ACYPL’s initiative has planted the seeds for connecting people. ACYPL therefore presents the unique perception of connecting people.
I’m proud to say I am an ACYPL ALUMNI, and I am proud to invite you all in Israel. Thank you and Shalom.