greenXchange 2014 – A German-Israeli Sustainability Program for Young Professionals

Many things connect German and Israeli society - one of them is their respective special expertise in the areas of environmental technology according to international comparisons. It thus seems logical to offer up and coming members of academia, the economy and society a platform where ideas can be exchanged bilaterally and intensive collaborations established. This is exactly where greenXchange comes in: The program is a forum for young professionals, students in the final semesters of their studies and doctoral students to develop sustainable solutions to a wide range of different problems in joint seminars and workshops in Germany and Israel. 

In this context, sustainability also means taking a holistic approach: when the focus is on questions of city and country development, energy and water management and conservation, social, economic and ecological factors are of equal importance. The program participants work out what this means in detail in workshops on subjects such as “green project management” and “green leadership”. This theoretical grounding is followed by a practical component within a compact eight-day seminar: In Germany, these prospective sustainability experts discuss concrete infrastructural challenges on the ground and debate their relevance for the situation in Israel. This demands both specialist assessment abilities and intercultural competence, with the program being intended to promote both simultaneously. The result is concrete suggestions for sustainable projects to be implemented on location in Israel.

Yet these reflections also lead back to greenXchange: In a final workshop, the participants create the basis for further exchange and a continuation of the program in 2015. Above and beyond this however, they also incorporate their newly acquired knowledge into their professional or academic contexts in the capacity of multipliers – and thus play a role in both initiating a shift towards sustainability in German and Israeli society and shaping this shift as it occurs. It is personal contacts and above all professional networks that are made in the process: What should be seen as best practice in each case thus remains a goal that extends far beyond the end of the program.

GreenXchange is a German-Israeli program by the Jüdischer Nationalfonds e.V. (JNF-KKL) which gives students reaching the end of their studies and young professionals the opportunity to work together on finding sustainable solutions to infrastructural tasks. In 2014, the project takes place between March 1 and December 31 and brings together 13 participants from Germany and Israel respectively.