Successful Scholarship Programmes and a New Approach in Scientific Co-operation
Since the original launch of the scholarship programme for young Israelis in 2004 the Government in NRW has spent time over the last few years working consistently on continuing its development. Each year up to 20 Israeli students can take part in the programme and visit a university in North Rhine-Westphalia, familiarizing themselves with university courses in Germany and indeed with the country itself. In the meantime all the universities in Israel have become aware of the programme which is now enjoying ever-increasing levels of interest.
Indeed the stage has now been reached where the number of applicants exceeds the number of scholarships. By the end of 2009 almost 100 young Israelis - out of approx. 250 applicants - had already taken part in the programme. In 2007 the programme was extended to students from the Palestinian territories and since 2010 several places have also been reserved for students from Jordan.
The NRW Government is also focussing on a new approach with regard to scientific co-operation: In 2007 it agreed on a programme for visiting professors together with the Center for European Studies at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya, run by the Israel's former Ambassador in Germany, Avi Primor, which was initially planned on a temporary basis of three years. Since then each academic year has seen Israel playing host to two new professors from North Rhine-Westphalia who hold lectures at the IDC.
These visiting professorships also form the basis of a course in European Studies which has been agreed between the IDC, the Al-Quds-University in East Jerusalem, the Jordanian Royal Scientific Society in Amman and the Heinrich-Heine-University in Dusseldorf. Each of the three Middle Eastern universities offers its own individual European Studies Programme, each harmonizing with the others. Subsequent to these programmes the graduates continue together with a Master's programme which commenced in winter semester 2009/2010 in Dusseldorf, albeit with Jordanian participation still outstanding.
North Rhine-Westphalia also continues the support it has been offering since July 2008 to a scholarship programme of the Dr. Heinz-Horst Deichmann Foundation. This programme allows students from Israel's neighbouring countries to take part in a two-year Master course at the Blaustein Institute for Desert Research at the Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva. This programme provides scientific and economic co-operation as a measure of support to the peace process in the Middle East.