The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies (AIES)

 The Arava Institute is the premier environmental teaching and research program in the Middle East, preparing future Arab and Jewish leaders to cooperatively address and resolve the region's environmental challenges

Mission Statement:

Our mission is to create a world-class environmental teaching and research institute at Kibbutz Ketura, which will:

  • Prepare future Arab and Jewish leaders to cooperatively solve the region’s environmental challenges.
  • Maintain high academic standards.
  • Deliver teaching and trans-boundary research opportunities at the highest quality and level to students from the Middle East and from all over the world.
  • Play a leading role in research, conservation, environmental protection and sustainable development in the region.
  • Generate capacity for conciliation and cooperation in the Middle East, in order to transcend political boundaries and achieve environmental change.

Programs and Activities:

  • Academic Programs: We implement an undergraduate program and a master’s degree program in Desert Studies accredited by Ben-Gurion University. The student body is generally comprised of a third Israelis, a third Arabs (Jordanian and Palestinian), and a third overseas students.
  • Peace-building Seminars: The Arava Institute fosters cross-cultural dialogue among students. We created the Peace-building and Environmental Leadership Seminar (PELS) to provide students with a facilitated forum for expressing their views on race, religion, identity, and the political situation. Students emerge with skills and tools for effective communication which they apply in their future professions.
  • Supporting Talented Alumni: More than 75% of Arava graduates are environmental professionals, and in many cases they continue to work together on environmental initiatives. In 2005, the Arava Alumni Peace and Environmental Network (AAPEN) was launched to assist continued contact and connection between alumni.
  • Research: The institute is home to a dynamic Research Department that has established a number of cross-border projects with the Palestinian Authority and Jordan in the areas of bio-diversity, air quality, river restoration, arid lands agriculture, and the preservation of the Dead Sea. Recent initiatives include the Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation (CREEC), and the Center for Trans-boundary Water Management, as well as numerous international workshops and conferences focusing on environmental issues pertinent to the Middle East.
  • Empowering Civil Society – 'Sababa': Sababa serves as a coordinating body for local environmental efforts in the Arava region of Israel and aims to support and foster eco-activism among local residents.
  • Youth Initiatives: Arava Institute graduates have developed intercultural environmental education programs. Through school programs and informal initiatives, Arab and Jewish youth learn about each other and their shared environment.

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