MONACA, Pa. — They were born on opposite sides of the Middle East’s cultural and political borders: Shadi Shiha to Palestinian parents in Amman, Jordan, and Eve Tendler to Israeli and German parents in Tel Aviv.
But, years later, at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, they found common ground. Arava is a leading research program in the Middle East where students develop the skills needed to help solve today’s most pressing environmental challenges.
On Oct. 19, Shiha and Tendler will visit Penn State Beaver to share their experiences as graduates of the program with faculty, staff, students and community members. The public presentation will take place from 10 to 11 a.m. in 106 Ross Administration Building.
“We are delighted to offer an opportunity to the Penn State Beaver community to meet representatives from the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, a potential institutional partner for our Experiential Digital Global Engagement initiative,” said Beaver Chancellor Jenifer Cushman.
Experiential Digital Global Engagement, or EDGE as it’s called, connects Beaver students with students from around the world through the use of technology.
Known as “virtual international exchange,” EDGE affords its participants the opportunity for global thinking and collaboration, particularly among place-bound and less-resourced students.
The first international collaboration begins in the spring and connects Beaver chemistry students with a class at the University of Split in Croatia. This visit from the Arava delegation will help lay the groundwork for a future collaboration in the Middle East/North Africa region.
Shiha is a spring 2017 alumnus of the Arava Institute. He has a degree in autotronics engineering from Khawarizmi College and works as a dance instructor for children, including at a camp for orphans. He also has spent time working as an English translator.
Tendler studied at the Arava Institute from 2016 to 2017 while pursuing a degree at Ben Gurion University. Prior to studying at the institute, Tendler lived in Nepal, teaching English and assisting in village rehabilitation after the 2015 earthquake. She has managed an after-school program for at-risk children and is currently involved with the Israeli movement Women Wage Peace, which aims to activate and organize young people to promote a peace agreement in the region.