Asper Institute for New Media Diplomacy

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We need to get Israel's message out there in the most innovative forms available, it [The Asper Institute] is our secret weapon.” - Uriel Reichman, Founder and President, IDC Herzliya [1]

The Asper Institute for New Media Diplomacy is a research institute at the Sammy Ofer School of Communications of the IDC Herzliya in Israel.[2]


Origins and History

The Institute was established in June 2007, with a grant from the Asper Foundation, which issued a joint statement with the IDC Herzliya describing the role envisaged for the new body:

Established through a generous donation by The Asper Foundation, The Asper Institute for New Media Diplomacy focuses on the study and use of new media technologies in telling Israel's story to the world. The unique capabilities of these technologies allow innovative depiction of Israel from new and different perspectives. The Asper Institute also provides workshops on creating effective new media advocacy campaigns and works with students in producing video, audio and written content about various aspects of life in Israel for use in new media channels such as the blogosphere, virtual worlds, social networks, computer games, pod casts and more.[3]

The Institute was originally going to be known as the 'Asper Institute of Advocacy' to reflect its focus on 'Israel advocacy', i.e. propaganda. [4] Reporting on the planned opening of the school in July 2006, the Jerusalem Post wrote that 'the Asper Institute will be the first academic research center to systematically study Israel advocacy, commonly referred to by the Hebrew word Hasbara,' and that, 'Together with researchers at the institute, undergraduates at the school will both research Israel advocacy and initiate new advocacy programs.' [5] The article quoted the Dean of the School of Communications Noam Lemelshtrich-Latar as saying: 'Israel has been doing "hasbara" for decades, through the foreign ministry and other government ministries, but so far there has been no thorough academic research on how to create the right kind of hasbara process... In order to study hasbara you must have expertise in communications, and understand the multiple factors that influence the way messages are transmitted and received.' [6]

Visits

According to the IDC Herzliya, website groups including Birthright, Hillel, AIPAC, March of the Living, AJC, and UJC, among others, have planned visits the Asper Institute over the course of 2008 and 2009.[7]

Projects

Ambassadors Club

Ambassadors Club is an Israel advocacy course run as a collaboration between the IDC's Raphael Recanati International School, the Asper Institute and StandWithUs.[8] At the end of the year-long programme, students receive an accreditation endorsed by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[9]

Asper Media Fellows Program

The Asper Media Fellows Program is part of IDC Herzliya's international programme according to the Institute's website.

The program wishes to create a professional group of 15 outstanding students within the IDC, interested in promoting Israeli advocacy using new media tools, who can serve as the new young team presenting Israel at its best. After receiving a short yet advanced training program, the group will be expected to be on call ready to provide credible, first hand information on their experiences in Israel. The 15 media-trained students will focus their messaging on the public’s interest in Israel beyond the conflict. They will speak to the Israeli and foreign press, business and community leaders, and groups of students from all over the world with the aim to impact them to advocate for Israel.[10]

NoCamels

NoCamels is a 'new media diplomacy' project supported by the Asper Institute and produced by students from the Sammy Ofer School of Communications at IDC Herzliya.[11]

Aimed with our values - authentic intimacy flavored with cynical humor - our goal is to expose and project different sides of Israel comparing to those the news/ political media normally choose to cover. We do that by creating short, “made-for-internet” videos covering, interviewing and learning the behind the scenes of the innovation culture which is so unique to Israel.[12]

NoCamels content is distributed via its own website and other video hubs such as Youtube etc.[13]

Notes

  1. Sammy Ofer School of Communcations, IDC Herzliya, accessed 22 June 2009.
  2. Official Opening of the Asper Institute for New Media Diplomacy (pdf), Asper Foundation, 4 June 2007.
  3. Talya Halkin, 'IDC to teach Israel advocacy', Jerusalem Post, 4 July 2006
  4. Talya Halkin, 'IDC to teach Israel advocacy', Jerusalem Post, 4 July 2006
  5. Talya Halkin, 'IDC to teach Israel advocacy', Jerusalem Post, 4 July 2006
  6. Groups and Missions, Asper Institute for New Media Diplomacy, Sammy Ofer School of Communications, IDC Herzliya, accessed 22 June 2009.
  7. Ambassadors' Club, Asper Institute for New Media Diplomacy, Sammy Ofer School of Communications, IDC Herzliya, accessed 22 June 2009.
  8. StandWithUs International, accessed 22 June 2009.
  9. Asper Fellows Program, Asper Institute for New Media Diplomacy, Sammy Ofer School of Communication, IDC Herzliya, accessed 22 June 2009.
  10. About, NoCamels.com, accessed 22 June 2009.
  11. About, NoCamels.com, accessed 22 June 2009.
  12. About, NoCamels.com, accessed 22 June 2009.