Prof. Nir Kedar, President of Sapir College, recently joined representatives of Bank Hapoalim to award the bank’s prestigious Working for Success scholarship to 45 promising students. In addition to the scholarship, it offers in depth career preparation skills and leadership development training.

The program seeks to empower students from Israel’s socio-economic periphery, helping them achieve social mobility and motivating them to promote social change.  Awardees are expected to give back to the community by volunteering 160 hours of service.

For Nurit Cohen, director of Bank Hapoalim in the nearby city of Sderot, the ceremony had deep, personal significance. A graduate of Sapir herself, Cohen now heads a key financial institution promoting economic growth in this Western Negev community.  The program, she said, exemplifies the bank’s commitment to corporate social responsibility. Kedar praised the scholarship program as an outstanding partnership between business and academia to foster the next generation of Israeli leaders.

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It was a crowning moment when 89 outstanding students at Sapir College received merit scholarships for academic excellence, 79 of them with great distinction and ten with the highest distinction. The fact that many of them hail from underserved communities in Israel’s social and geographic periphery only made it sweeter and more poignant. Liat Aleemo, a student at Sapir’s Cultural Studies program, explained how academic achievement is intimately connected to her own personal growth. “The opportunity to study theory at Sapir helped me frame my own experience in a broader social context.
It was the first event of its kind. Twenty seven students from the Sapir Academic College Innovation Lab met with representatives of JDC-Israel to pioneer a new approach to social service and advocacy. They’re all part of course at Sapir’s Communications Department, organized in conjunction with JDC, on the interface between digital communities and the third sector.  Under the direction of Dr. Omer Keinan, students follow and analyze relevant social media content and then build effective digital communities to help JDC improve its social intervention programs.