A Wider Bridge 2015 LGBTQ Israel Mission and the 40 Years of Pride Conference
The 2015 LGBTQ Israel Mission: Our unique trip brings together an incredible and diverse group of leaders – lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ) people and allies, Jews and non-Jews. Through shared experience, the trip connects modern Israeli and LGBTQ life with the ancient roots of its people. Our 10-night journey takes us to the desert, Jerusalem, and finally to Tel Aviv for the LGBTQ – 40 Years of Pride Conference, the first of its kind gathering of LGBTQ leaders from around the world to be held in Tel Aviv, and then culminating with Tel Aviv’s amazing Pride Weekend Celebration.
The 40 Years of Pride Conference: The 40 Years of Pride Conference, Israel’s first-ever global LGBTQ leadership summit, will take place June 9-11, 2015 in Tel Aviv at the Royal Beach Hotel. A Wider Bridge is proud to sponsor the conference with The Aguda, the Israel LGBT Task Force (Israel’s leading LGBT advocacy organization). We will bring together diverse LGBTQ leaders from around the world, people at the forefront of LGBTQ issues in areas such as political and legal activism, religion, media, arts and culture, and business. Conference participants will represent dozens of nations and communities, with an array of religious and secular practices, people of many races, ethnicities, sexual orientations and gender identities. We will gather in the heart of Tel Aviv, home to a vibrant and committed LGBTQ community, to inspire and strengthen each other, build our skills and networks, and celebrate 40 years of LGBTQ progress in Israel.
What is the mission and purpose of this program?
• Along the 10-day journey, participants build meaningful and personal connections with the dynamic LGBT communities of Israel. The cohort hear stories of tragedy and triumph from the community’s pioneering activists, and reflect on the shared and diverging advocacy experiences of the LGBT communities of Israel and their home communities. Participants are expected to execute a project in which they bring their trip experiences to their home LGBT and/or Jewish communities, and serve as force multipliers for A Wider Bridge and all those who care about Israel, through educating their own Jewish and LGBTQ communities about the value of Israel and its LGBT community. Similarly, participants in the Conference will engage in depth with the LGBT leadership of Israel, and will work with A Wider Bridge to engage their communities with Israel upon their return.
Description is covered in "About Your Program" question. Please let us know if additional information is needed.
LGBTQ people in North America and Great Britain, Jews and non-Jews, have not been offered effective opportunities to build a meaningful relationship with Israel. This void is a problem for the Jewish community, the LGBTQ community, and Israel. A Wider Bridge works to solve this problem by providing LGBTQ people with an opportunity to engage with Israelis in a way that matters to them personally. Our trip demonstrates to them that they have a stake in Israel and its future. Through the development of opportunities for mutual education and collaboration upon trip participants’ return, the LGBTQ communities of Israel, North America and the UK are strengthened. Through all of these efforts, our work is building a stronger, more diverse base of support for Israel, and changing the tone of the conversation about Israel in the communities in which we work. We would expect that the trip would be an equally transformative experience for LGBT Jewish and non-Jewish leaders from the UK.
To date, A Wider Bridge’s 4 LGBTQ Israel Missions have brought 77 leaders to discover the richness of the country and its people. Thanks to our trips, our network has grown from a regional San Francisco operation to a North American movement, and we are eager to engage with LGBTQ communities beyond the U.S. and Canada in meaningful ways. We anticipate our 30 trip participants and the 150 attendees at the 40 Years of Pride Conference will open our organization to engage dozens of unreached LGBTQ networks worldwide.
How do you measure the success of your program?
A Wider Bridge measures the success of our LGBT Israel trips in the short term through the impact of the trip on their understanding and continued desire to engage with Israel and its LGBT community. In the case of all four missions, The results reflect the strong value the LGBT community held in shaping their experiences. The survey also consistently reflects the confidence built among participants in their understanding of the land and in their ability to speak about its history and politics. In the long term, we measure success of our trips through the depth of alumni engagement with their communities. High-impact alumni are effective organizational force-multipliers, introducing their colleagues, friends, and networks to attend both local and Israel programming with A Wider Bridge.