UC Irvine Students Travel To AIPAC
This weekend, 27 UCI students traveled with over 50 Orange County community members to the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference which kicked off Saturday night, March 20, 2010. Each year, more than 7,500 people travel to this conference in Washington D.C. in support of a strong U.S.-Israel relationship, to learn from leading experts on the key issues facing Israel, such as Iran’s nuclear arms race, the continue threat from Hamas and Hezbollah, U.S. government foreign policy, and current positions on the Israeli-Palestinian peace procress. The conference culminates tomorrow (Tuesday), when the 5000+ conference delegates will fill the halls of Congress to lobby their local senators and representatives in efforts to maintain and ensure the continued support for the state of Israel.
Each year, the AIPAC Policy Conference is addressed by several special guest speakers, and this year will not disappoint! Confirmed speakers include Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Hillary Clinton, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Alan Dershowitz and recent visitor to UCI, Israeli Ambassador Michael B. Oren.
Jewish Federation Orange County CEO, Shalom Elcott said, “This year is a record number for UCI student attendance. Each year, there are always a handful of UCI students that attend, but beginning last year, thanks to several scholarships from AIPAC and through significant additional underwriting from Jewish Federation’s Rose Project, we sent 10 students last year, and 27 this year. This is truly amazing!”
This year’s student delegation from UCI includes members of campus groups such as Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority, Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, Anteaters for Israel, Chabad on Campus, and Hillel–as well as several students of other faiths, one of which is UCI’s student body president.
Matan Lurey, third year Computer Science major and leader in several of the Jewish student groups, and Josh Berookhim, fourth year Biological Science major and campus liaison of AIPAC’s campus cadre at UCI, began recruiting students for the Policy Conference in late January. “There is a growing interest amongst students at UCI to become better educated and better equipped to advocate on behalf of Israel at UCI,” said Lurey.
Jay Feldman, Director of the Rose Project, added, “Our community is committed to identifying and investing in the best leadership development and advocacy training opportunities for our students.”
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