Jerusalem teens head to Dubai for academic meetup

Youthful ambassadors will join Emirati counterparts to find solutions to water scarcity

Students from an academic exchange mission are seen in Dubai, December 12, 2021 (Courtesy Barak Alkobi)
Students from an academic exchange mission are seen in Dubai, December 12, 2021 (Courtesy Barak Alkobi)

A delegation of 16 high school students from Jerusalem landed in Dubai this week for an academic exchange mission with youth from Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

The trip is an initiative of PICO Kids Ambassadors program, a Jerusalem-based program designed to promote collaboration between students on specific challenges facing the international community.

“Children have a particularly unique vantage point to act as innovators and conceive of new ideas in ways that adults might not be able to,” said Elie Wurtman, co-founder and managing partner of PICO Venture Partners and PICO Kids.

Wurtman said the Abraham Accords present a historic opportunity for collaboration between Israel and the Gulf countries, including among the countries’ youth.

All student delegates are Jerusalem residents under the age of 18, representing the city’s diverse population.

PICO Kids works with 60 schools across Jerusalem and more than 4,000 students, with programs and partnerships that deliver science, technology, engineering, entrepreneurship and math education (STEEM) through hands-on, project-based learning in afternoon programming to students in grades 1-12.

The student delegates in the Ambassadors program went through training and workshops with experts in the fields of diplomacy, design thinking, public speaking, English and Arabic lessons, storytelling, branding, group dynamics and entrepreneurship to prepare for the visit.

The participants are touring and visiting cultural sites across Dubai, and participating in a “Makeathon” at the Dubai Future Foundation, where the pupils from Jerusalem are teamed up with student counterparts from Dubai’s Taaleem Schools to create workable solutions to water scarcity.

The mission to Dubai is in partnership with the Taaleem Schools, Target Global, Concert Together for Israel and the Abraham Accords Peace Institute.

Since its inception four years ago, the PICO Kids Ambassadors program has led delegations to global partner communities in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

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