Developing Leadership for Change

4 November 2021

Directors from eighteen leading social change organizations gathered late October in the northern city of Caesarea to discuss rebuilding public trust at a time when the legitimacy of experts is increasingly under assault. Shatil is bringing these Jewish and Palestinian Israeli directors together for its newest training course Adaptive and Innovative Management (AIM).

Twelve years of rule by Benjamin Netanyahu, pandemic-related philanthropic and operational difficulties, and the intercommunal violence in May between Jews and Palestinians throughout Israel, presented civil society organizations with unprecedented challenges. AIM focuses on enhancing the capacities of NGO leaders to successfully cope with these and other challenges.

For three intensive months, AIM participants will continue to learn from activists and experts on the front lines of developing impactful social change methodologies. AIM combines peer learning, focused training from experts, a retreat on adaptive leadership, and a four-day study tour of Israel’s “mixed” cities where both Jews and Palestinians live.

AIM plays a crucial role as an incubator of innovation and excellence in civil society leadership,” notes Orly Fass, Director of Shatil’s Consultancy and Capacity Building Center. “Through AIM we are cultivating both individual capacities and development of a cohort of committed, skilled leaders dedicated to democratic values and a shared Jewish-Arab society.”

AIM is the sole management training program in Israel that brings together Jewish and Arab leaders working on a range of issues, including human and civil rights, democracy, shared society, women’s rights, social justice, and religious freedom.

Former director of NIF grantee Breaking the Silence, Yuli Novak, spoke at a recent AIM seminar, sharing her experience of coping with sustained government attacks on Breaking the Silence’s work to share testimonies of Israeli soldiers and their actions in the occupied territories. In another training, participants learned how the southern town of Yeruham succeeded in working with local residents to bring the COVID-19 infection rate down drastically over a short period.

“Leaders today must build trust and dialogue within and outside their organizations,” adds Fass, “or they risk becoming irrelevant. Gone are the days when organizations were considered experts through their very existence. Leaders must anticipate and even welcome the inevitable conflicts that arise.”

Participant feedback on AIM has been outstanding. “Meeting with my peers in such a supportive and educational setting is so meaningful to me,” one participant relates. “I’m benefiting from the experience and insight of others, as we together explore new ways of successfully addressing new and shared challenges.”