At a public meeting held to mark the culmination of the program, the participants presented aspects of their personal and public development, their final projects and their proposed directions for developing Migdal HaEmek. Their projects were presented in parallel discussion groups that dealt with a number of central themes: the identity, resilience and history of Migdal HaEmek; community development; development of local assets; personal and professional processes of change and growth; educational issues at the Ort Rogozin high school; informal education in Migdal HaEmek; and developing new programs and initiatives in the city.
The event, held on June 24, was attended by Mayor Eli Barda, who delivered a warm address to the program graduates and the audience, and also visited a number of the discussion groups. Participants were also given the opportunity to receive professional feedback from the various practitioners and academics who participated in the discussion groups, as well as from the faculty of the Mandel Center for Leadership in the North.
The graduation ceremony and the award of certificates to graduates was held a week later. Mayor Eli Barda expressed his personal thanks to Mr. Morton Mandel, who he met during the latter’s recent visit to Migdal HaEmek. Barda also thanked the Mandel Foundation, the Mandel Center for Leadership in the North and the center’s director, Dr. Danielle Shani, for their cooperation with the Migdal HaEmek municipality. He spoke of his belief in the graduates’ ability to influence and to lead significant change in the city, and called for collaboration between the municipality and the graduates in order to promote new ideas and initiatives.
The director-general of the Mandel Foundation-Israel, Moshe Vigdor, praised the current movement for change and action in Migdal HaEmek and expressed his hope and belief that the graduates would make their own contribution to it. Dr. Danielle Shani, director of the Mandel Center for Leadership in the North, also spoke, as did two program participants, and the program directors, Dalit Caspin and Ayelet Ilany. With their new certificates in hand, the participants officially became Mandel graduates.