The four-week summer program will be offered in July, 2013. The program is directed by Dr. Michael Beevers, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at Dickinson College, focusing on topics integral to understanding environmental issues in the region:
- Desert Ecology and Biodiversity
- Sustainable Agriculture
- Desert Geology and Geomorphology
- Archaeology of the Southern Negev
- Water Issues and Management
- Sustainable Development in Arid Environments
- Eco-Building and Organic Gardening
- Environmental Ethics and Justice
- Peace Building and Environmental Leadership
The curriculum uses environmental issues as a vehicle to examine and discuss the social and political challenges of the region, which are threaded throughout the curriculum to provide the context for the issues facing the region. Key topics will be taught by experts in their field. Dr. Beevers will weave together the various topics of sustainability in evening seminars with students.
In addition to the environmental curriculum of the Arava Institute, the program will consider the social and economic structure of kibbutz living and the history of the kibbutzim movement in Israel. To this end, students will conduct small group community based research projects related to the desert environment and community at Kibbutz Ketura and Lotan.
The format includes classroom and field sessions, and students get hands-on community experiences including mud-building projects, organic gardening and work in experimental orchards.
Excursions to the Dead Sea, Jerusalem and Eilat are included in the program.