On Oct. 29, University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) hosted an event to educate the local community about its academic partnership with the University of Haifa.
The UMBC-University of Haifa partnership was launched in 2013 with the goal of amplifying the noteworthy models of community collaboration occurring in Baltimore and Haifa.
While race relations have traditionally been a flashpoint issue in Baltimore, Israel is no stranger to such challenges, particularly in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Yet University of Haifa is known for a population of Arab students that comprises 35 percent of the University’s total enrollment, exceeding the 20 percent Arab population share of Israel as a whole. University of Haifa also serves a greater number of both recent immigrants and first-generation university attendees than any other Israeli university.
“A strong commitment to cultivating diversity and multiculturalism is deeply embedded within the fabric of our institution,” said Karen L. Berman, CEO of the American Society of the University of Haifa. “This is apparent not only in Haifa itself, but in global partnerships such as our collaboration with UMB.”
In the universities’ partnership, students from each school travel overseas to learn about local approaches to promote participation of diverse populations around shared civic and social concerns.
An interprofessional global student course within UMB’s Center for Global Education Initiatives as well as the University of Maryland (UM) Schools of Social Work, Law, and Nursing has offered more than 100 UMB and University of Haifa students and faculty members the opportunity to work and learn alongside each other in experiential activities in both cities.
“From a global perspective, I learned that our world is large and our cultures may be different, but we can learn from each other to improve the conditions in our own communities,” said Rachael Parran, a doctoral student in the UM School of Nursing, who took part in the global interprofessional health program within the partnership.
“From an interdisciplinary perspective, I learned that, whether in Haifa or Baltimore, working collaboratively with other disciplines is an effective approach to tackling complex issues that negatively affect our communities.”