Promoting Diversity in Israel's Labor Market: Bringing the C...

Promoting Diversity in Israel's Labor Market: Bringing the Corporate Sector to the Table

Jun 12, 2014 12:00am

Recently, a group of fellows from the 2013 class of the Wexner Israel Fellowship Program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government launched a new "collective impact" initiative to propel the business sector into taking a leading role increasing labor participation of Arab citizens in Israel. By identifying how business needs could be met by diversity hiring, the initiative aims to turn Arab employment into an internal business target across the sector.

Increasing labor participation rates, closing socio-economic gaps, and raising the standard of living in Arab communities are viewed today as keys to strengthening the Israeli economy as a whole. Over the last decade, many efforts have been made to advance the issue in Israel by civil society and by the government.

Join two Wexner fellows and steering committee members of this initiative, Yifat Ovadia and Dr. Sameer Kassem for a discussion of the most current data, presentation of the latest research, and to hear why a "collective impact" approach will help integrate stakeholders towards a sustainable mechanism to enhance Arab employment. 

Speaker bios:

Dr. Sameer Kassem has been the head of the department of medicine in Carmel Hospital-Haifa since October 2013. Previously, Dr. Kassem served as the director of the Maccabi Health Services in East Jerusalem, where he was responsible for the quality of clinical care in his region, and was active in promoting the health of the population and raising public awareness of important health issues. In addition to his work in Maccabi, Dr. Kassem was senior endocrinologist and the director of the Endocrinology Laboratory in Hadassah Hospital. Dr. Kassem leveraged his joint position in Hadassah and Maccabi to strengthen the cooperation between community physicians and their hospital-based counterparts by organizing meetings, lectures, and seminars. Dr. Kassem holds both MD and PhD degrees from the Hebrew University, an MPA from Harvard University through the Wexner Israel Fellowship Program, is a lecturer in the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, and is board certified in Internal Medicine and Endocrinology.

Yifat Ovadia has been CEO and Co-Founder of OLIM Beyahad-Rising up Together, Israel since 2006. OB’s vision is the full integration of the Ethiopian Israeli community in society by supporting Ethiopian university graduates in finding proper jobs, building professional, financial, and personal strength, and becoming role models and leaders. From 2003-2005, Yifat was Co-Founder, Managing Partner, and head of the civil litigation department at Orna Lin & Co. Law Firm in Tel Aviv, where she led the firm's pro-bono activities and represented dozens of human rights non-profits and over 100 Ethiopians. In 2002, she was Co-Founder and Manager of the Judge Haim Cohen Center of Legal Aid for Defending Human Rights. Yifat holds a BA in Law from Tel Aviv University and obtained an MPA from Harvard University through the Wexner Israel Fellowship Program.