On October 10, 2016, a celebratory graduation ceremony was held for the fellows of the Mandel Program for Local Leadership in Baqa al-Gharbiyye, in the presence of their friends and relatives, the program directors, the head of the local council, and Moshe Vigdor, the director general of the Mandel Foundation–Israel. Over the course of two intensive years of study, the fellows acquired new knowledge and experiences, and underwent a process of personal and professional development that has prepared them to serve as effective, moral, and visionary leaders.
“Today marks not the end of your leadership studies, but the transition to a new stage, in which you have become graduates and leaders with effective tools for social action,” said Dr. Asaf Turgeman, the co-director of the program, who served as master of ceremonies.
The head of the Baqa al-Gharbiyye local council, Mr. Morsi Abu Moch, spoke about the high expectations that the graduates will realize their plans for improving the town. Mr. Moshe Vigdor, the director general of the Mandel Foundation–Israel, thanked the local council for its cooperation, congratulated the fellows, and wished them every success in their efforts.
Speaking on behalf of the fellows, Ms. Marwa Watad and Mr. Tyseer Atamnah described the personal and collective experience that they underwent as participants in the program, and expressed their desire to continue to meet and engage in meaningful activity together in the future. Shahira Shalaby, the co-director of the program, spoke about the town of Baqa and about the great respect and sincere appreciation that the members of the group share for one another.
Dr. Asaf Turgeman concluded the ceremony by quoting the philosopher Baruch Spinoza: “And now, even if the way toward our goal seems very difficult, it can still be found. For anything that is truly precious is difficult to come by; if happiness were the lot of every person, and there was no need for striving or hard work, how would anyone ever be unhappy? Indeed, every worthy thing is hard to reach, difficult, and precious.”