On our last day together we dedicated our final projects in binational teams. The goal of the final project is to explore similarities and differences in resilience and develop recommendations for proposed studies and strategies. In teams of two, we developed a presentation that was then shared with the entire group. The following overarching questions were addressed:
Definition of the specific topic of resilience and its key characteristics;
Identifying the key challenges that this specific topic of resilience presents to the global population;
Mapping the similarities and differences between Germany and Israel in relation to the topic;
Developing recommendations for joint studies and policy decisions in the two societies.
The ideas presented all offer a lot of potential for international cooperation and could not have been more diverse. Overall, it was an absolutely successful conclusion.
After a short breakfast we drove to Beer-Sheva. There is the Resilience Center for the Bedouin community. We were warmly welcomed by Mr Ibrahim Altoona and Ms. Talia Lebanon and received a short introduction to the Resilience Center. Residents in the Gaza region have been subjected to constant physical threats and injuries, damage to infrastructure, community-wide trauma, and deaths for many years. These circumstances trigger anxiety, depression, and PTSD among all segments of the population. The resilience center serves as a focal point for assistance and training in the region. At the resilience centers, residents can receive needed trauma therapy as well as community empowerment and resilience building workshops. Recognizing the high rate of burnout among caregivers, the resilience center also offer workshops to train professionals in self-care. We got a more detailed insight into such a workshop right afterwards. The workshop about self-care and well-being was very impressively and we talked about the necessity of structural help for all helpers in crisis areas. After the lecture part, we spent the lunch break in an authentic bedouin hospitality. There, the hostess told us her impressive story of how she came to her business.
After a night in Jerusalem, we left for the Dead Sea. Our first stop was in the only inhabited Botanical Garden in the world, “Ein Gedi”. We met Alison our local guide from the Kibbutz. We learned about past and present life in there. Especially during the last years with the dead sea level decreasing more than 1 meter every year which creates sink holes that deteriorates the local businesses like tourism and agriculture. The new condition pushed the local community into adaptation like growing new corps (grapes), micro entrepreneurship all while trying to receive support from the government.
Next stop was Dead Sea research institute at the foot hill of “Massada”. We got an overview on their fantastic research activities, to name some of them, living under extreme conditions, Bats and robots, skin health, and practical biology projects.
We then continued to a very pleasant dip in the Dead Sea and a full body mask of mineral mud.
The day started with a very interesting lecture on “Resilient populations during adversities – Lessons learned from Covid-19 pandamic & the Ukrainian war” by Prof. Dr. Bruria Adini and Dr. Einav Levy. We discussed the different types of resilience and the results of an interesting survey on resilience. Through questionnaires and group work we found factors influencing our personal resilience.
In the second lecture, “Decision Making Under Uncertainty” by Moran Bodas, MPH, PhD. We discussed and learned that decision making is prone to external influence. We learned about cognitive heuristics and focussing the anchoring effect and loss aversion.
After lunch we took the bus to Jerusalem, where we got a guided tour in the old city of Jerusalem. We visited the holiest places of Christianity, the beautiful alleys of Jerusalem and the western wall. After a wonderful tour, we ended the day with dinner together in Jerusalem and a short visit to the famous Jerusalem market. What a wonderful day!
Today was the first day in Tel Aviv University, where we were welcomed by Prof. Milette Shamir, Vice President of the International Office. The first presentation was held by Prof. Colin Price of the Porter School for Environment and Earth science on the topic “Resilience and climate change”.
This was followed by a talk about “Urban Dynamics and Resilience in the Age of Cities and Complexity by Prof. Juval Portugali of the Department of Geography and the Human Environment. This was followed by a great lunch at Coffee Star and a short rest on the green grass of the campus.
The second block of presentations was started by Dr. Efrat Blumenfeld-Lieberthal from the Azrieli School of Architecture, discussing “Smart Cities – Smart Cities as a Component of Urban Resilience (?)”. Then we inspected the Porter schools building, an award winning construction, and got to know about the strategy used to create a so called “green building” and the intention behind several design choices. Also, there was the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful view on top of the building.
The day was closed by a lecture on “Cities at the Forefront of Climate Change”, held by Dr. Orli Ronen. Finally, we got some burgers and fries for the well deserved lunch and end of this day at the campus of Tel Aviv University.
After a successful week in Germany and the plane journey to Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv the previous day, the team had a free day. Some participants of the Summer School chose to spend the day with their families, while others set out early on foot or by bicycle towards the many Tel Aviv beaches. Many team members swam in the Mediterranean Sea or simply enjoyed the atmosphere of the beach and surrounding city.
After watching the sun set in the sea many participants from Germany and Israel met at a local Greek restaurant for a meal. Afterwards most members set through the White City of Tel Aviv, known for its Bauhaus architecture, for an ice cream before heading back to the hotel or their respective homes.
The day was a great opportunity for the German participants to experience Tel Aviv either alone on their trip to the city in the early afternoon or guided by some of the Israeli participants. Most importantly, all members could gain some valuable rest for the coming days of the Summer School.
The groups separated for the day of travel to Tel Aviv. The Israeli group left the hotel in the morning before the sun and before the city of Düsseldorf came alive. The German group followed later. Both flights went smoothly with little bit of talking, music food and sleep. It was time to review the last days and prepare for the days ahead. All arrived tired, satisfied and happy. The German group decided to explore the area around the hotel and had beer and snacks in a bar. It was a very warm first contact to the locals von Tel Aviv.
Today was our final day in Germany as we are heading tomorrow to Israel. Although our day was short, it was a great day!!
First we visited the State Chancellery of North Rhine-Westphalia. There we were welcomed by Winfried Mengelkamp, the Deputy Director International Relations, and talked together about the experiences of the Summer School. We learned a lot about the state’s relations with foreign countries, as well as their cooperation regarding academic matters as well as climate change mitigation issues.
In the following feedback session, we reflected on the last days, talked about great aspects of the summer school and possible ways to improve it. Thank our organisers for the tremendous work behind building the program and give suggestions for future summer schools 🙂
The most incredible thing we witnessed from the state chancellor’s building was the Rhine river!! The river’ level of water seems to be much lower than usual, as the whole region experienced lower than usual precipitation during last month. All of the ferries were traveling with light cargo, only in the center of the river. It was overwhelming to see how nature changes as Earth gets warmer… Good thing we are meeting to talk about this important issue!
Afterwards, we went to lunch and explored the wonderful city of Düsseldorf. Here you can see some of the view from the TV tower (160 meter high!). Dusseldorf was absolutely great!!
The day began at the Ruhr West University of Applied Sciences with what has become our little routine: physical warm-up exercises, followed by the workshop. Before diving into the new topic, we briefly discussed our interpretation of resilience after the previous day. We mentioned that resilience should be looked at from different angles such as gender, socioeconomic status, age, ethnicity, etc. In the first workshop, we looked at the relationships between students and professors during the doctoral phase. We were given a taste of the GROW model as a tool for conflict resolution. In the second workshop, we split into two groups and tested our group building skills using puzzles. In the evening, we explored the city of Düsseldorf.
After breakfast, we took public transportation to the university campus in Bochum. Before the workshop started we had a little morning stretching session (thanks for the great instructions!!). Once in the seminar room, we first thought about the following question “Where is resilience mentioned?”. Small groups then discussed the extent to which their own research field is affected by resilience.
Together, the following topics were then addressed and discussed: – My take on Resilience – Why is Resilience popular now? – Risks, uncertainty and institutions – Resilience between remember and revolt
After the workshop we went to the center of Bochum for lunch.
In the afternoon, Zeche-Zollverein was on the agenda. By public transport we went to the Ruhr Museum. The exhibition was very diverse and focused on the history, culture and nature of the Ruhr area. A small highlight was the roof terrace of the visitor center, there we had a fantastic panoramic view over the Ruhr area.