Home > Israeli Arabs and Jews visit Manchester Bidwell as a coexistence strategy

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Israeli Arabs and Jews visit Pittsburgh nonprofit to finalize establishment of adult career training/youth arts education model as a coexistence strategy.
(Pictured:  Delegates visiting: Akko Mayor Shimon Lankri; General Director of Akko Municipality Ohad Segev; Vice Head of the Akko Education Department Sabaa Hassan Sayed; ACAT COO Jane Cynkus; ACAT Administrative Assistant Mai Dabbah; and Mark Frank, Chair of Board of the Akko Center for Arts & Technology. Also pictured: Massy Paul of Monaloh Basin Engineers.) August 6, 2015 visit. Click image to enlarge.
Manchester Bidwell Corporation (MBC) hosted Akko, Israel’s Mayor, General Director, and Vice Head of the Education Department to continue the process of opening an MBC-affiliated center in northern Israel serving both Israeli Arabs and Jews.

On August 5 and 6, 2015, a delegation of Israeli Arabs and Jews visited Manchester Bidwell Corporation (MBC) as one of the culminating steps in opening a Center for Arts & Technology in Akko, an historical city located in the Northwest Galilee Region of Israel. The trip included meeting with MBC staff and community members as well as a tour of MBC’s facilities and the Pittsburgh region.
Funding is coming primarily from Chicago entrepreneur Steve Sarowitz with the first year costs at about $1.5 million.
What they said during the delegations visit to Manchester Bidwell in Pittsburgh, PA:

 Bill Strickland, President and CEO Manchester Bidwell Corporation -

“This is really an exciting opportunity for this center Manchester Bidwell, it’s also an exciting opportunity for Akko, a number of people over the last couple of days have been very taken with the events, and the idea of building this center. I think that the significance of the work is that it is a symbol of HOPE, that the communities that are engaged the Arab community and the Jewish community in Akko could not come at a better time in the world. We desperately need hope and this project, well it won’t cure all the troubles of the Middle East, will certainly be a down payment for hope for the future. The young people and the adults who are going to benefit from this experience I believe will become a very powerful force for changing things for the better, and we are hoping once it is established and successful it can become a symbol of hope throughout the Middle East so that Akko becomes the poster of how to do things right, and that other cities in Israel the other countries in the Middle East will follow suit.   So we think that even thought this is relatively a small project in the scope of the world it is a very big project with the people of Akko for people who are going to be the beneficiaries.   We have a pretty extraordinarily opportunity to do something really grand."

Akko Mayor, Shimon Lankri -

"Akko is a very unique example of people, take the opportunity and make social work and see the kids, even that we are mixing, we have a lot of Arabs in the city, thirty percent its very huge population and we make a good job with this community because we so want to build.

Until we come to Pittsburgh and see the project, we say to Bill you are the best and we are very happy that you choose the project to be in Akko so we thank you very much and we hope in general we will cut the ribbon."

Massy Paul, President Monaloh Basin Engineers -

“I have a genuine concern for the conflicts and suffering of the people in the Middle East and am very passionate about the notion of peace in the region. As they say I left the Middle East but the Middle East never left me. I believe that through the mission of MBC as well as the vision of Mr. Strickland, we will not only create educational opportunities for the children and young adults of Akko, but we will do so while unifying the community and instilling coexistence. The Akko center will allow for religious and ethnic barriers to be left at the door as the students enter the center and the HOPE that is given to the children everyday will be the driver of the success of the program, in Israel as well as regionally and globally.”

Strickland is not alone in this belief. Mark Frank, a Pittsburgh-based lawyer with the law firm of Campbell & Levine and Chair of the Board for the Akko Center for Arts & Technology (ACAT), has worked for years alongside the National Center for Arts & Technology (NCAT), MBC’s replication division—headed by NCAT’s COO Paulo Nzambi, to gather the resources necessary to establish a Center for Arts & Technology in Israel. Members of Akko’s municipal government who also understand Strickland’s vision—including delegates Mayor Shimon Lankri, General Director of Akko Municipality Ohad Segev, and Vice Head of the Akko Education Department Sabaa Hassan Sayed—have joined Frank in implementing this unique coexistence strategy.

Currently under construction, ACAT is set to open fourth quarter of 2015 or first quarter of 2016.

will offer visual arts programs in 3-D printing and photography to at-risk Arab and Jewish youth. For adults, ACAT will provide career training in food and beverage management as well as automated machine operations.

Delegates attending the visit: 

  *   Akko Mayor Shimon Lankri;
  *   General
Director of Akko Municipality Ohad Segev;
  *   Vice Head of the Akko Education
Department Sabaa Hassan Sayed;
  *   ACAT COO Jane Cynkus;
  *   ACAT
Administrative Assistant Mai Dabbah; and
  *   Mark Frank, Chair of Board of
the Akko Center for Arts & Technology.

For more information about Bill Strickland, Manchester Bidwell Corporation, and the National Center for Arts & Technology:

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