Mandel Program for Local Leadership in Baqa al-Gharbiyye

The program strived to create a group of local leaders with a values-based worldview who possess the professional knowledge and skills to move the community forward through their work in the local authority, the education system, civil society and social affairs.



The Mandel Program for Local Leadership in Baqa al-Gharbiyye began in October 2014 and ended in June 2016. The program comprised 450 hours of study spread over two years. During this period, the program fellows met once a week for a full day of study.

There were 17 fellows in the program, all active and influential in the city's various public and social spheres, such as the local authority, the education system, and civil society.

The program was run in partnership with the Baqa al-Gharbiyye municipality. During its first year, meetings were held at the Al-Qasami College of Science and Technology in Baqa al-Gharbiyye; during the second year, the program met at the Al-Qasami Cultural Center. 


The program aimed for its graduates to develop a values-based, complex and critical world-view; for them to lead and effect improvement of the systems in which they worked, both at the time of participation and in the future, in order to advance the city and society at large; and for the graduates to develop professional relationships based on shared learning, mutual support and collaboration.

During the second year of the program, learning focused on issues related to leading and implementing change. Over the course of the year, the group divided its time between group learning and personal guidance and endeavors.               

To these ends, the program operated on a number of levels:

  • Developing awareness of and exploring the values that mold the fellows’ personal, professional and social beliefs
  • Developing the ability to integrate the world of values with the fellows’ personal, professional and social reality
  • Broadening knowledge and strengthening the fellows’ professional and moral judgment
  • Developing fellows’ ability to view reality in a complex and critical manner
  • Nurturing fellows’ ability to work with others in a respectful and fruitful way
  • Improving fellows’ professional and social practice.



Year One:

The first year was dedicated to group bonding and to theoretical and practical study, with an emphasis on learning from the fellows’ arenas of professional practice. Over the course of the year, in addition to the weekly study days, the program also included field trips and a couple of two-day-long overnight retreats away from Baqa. The first retreat took place in Haifa and focused on inequality in the Arab public sphere. The group visited the Shatil NGO, toured a number of neighborhoods in the city and visited several public and private educational institutions, as well as the Haifa Women’s Coalition center. Another central theme of the first year was that of the study of place. This emphasized four central subjects, selected by the fellows: religion and modernity; environment and sustainability; children and youth; and women in the public sphere.

Year Two:

The second year of the Baqa program combined theoretical and practical study around three central content areas: liberty; public policy; and leadership. Particular emphasis was placed on practice-development workshops, which were led by professional facilitators and which required fellows to advance a significant form of activity, either in their own organization or as part of a new initiative in the city. Four workshops were held in parallel, each focusing on a different subject: sustainability, environment and volunteering (led by Hagit Naale-Yosef); educational entrepreneurship (led by Noah Shefi); women in the public sphere (led by Jabi​r Asaqla); and leadership, influence and management (led by Safa Garb). In addition, each of the fellows received personal tutoring from a professional tutor once every two weeks. Lastly, at the request of the mayor of Baqa al-Gharbiyye, Morsi Abu Moch, the Mandel Local Leadership in Baqa fellows worked together to promote a municipal vision for the city.



The program underwent an external evaluation process conducted by Ghada Abu-Jaber Nijam.



Shahira Shalaby and Dr. Asaf Turgeman




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