Twenty juniors and seniors from top U.S. universities are taking part in an exclusive summer fellowship, mentored by CEOs of leading companies in Israel, as part of an initiative to create a cadre of future Jewish business and technology leaders who are closely connected to Israel and the Israeli private sector.

Based on their interest and experience, each student is with a CEO of a company with global reach in the fields of business, technology, venture capital or social media, and will spend 10 weeks interning at the company under the supervision of the CEO. The expenses-paid fellowship, named Birthright Israel Excel, is augmented with meetings with Israeli corporate, nonprofit and government leaders. The students will travel through the country to better understand the business and hi-tech climate, and will attend workshops examining communications, leadership and Jewish identity. The students are currently enrolled in top U.S. universities – including Harvard, Yale and the University of Pennsylvania – and have proven leadership or professional accomplishments.

A boutique program of Taglit-Birthright Israel, Birthright Israel Excel aims to develop a cadre of future leaders among Jewish college students who will have deep and abiding relationships with the State of Israel and with their Jewish community. As leaders in these fields, it is hoped that they will strengthen future global corporate policy towards the State of Israel and foster the development of an innovative ideas think tank in collaboration with international and Israeli companies.

Upon completing the fellowship in Israel, the Birthright Israel Excel Fellows will enter the post-fellowship stage of the program in the United States, where their network will be expanded to include leading American business people. As they return to college, the students will become part of the Birthright Israel Excel Think Tank, which will convene regularly in both New York City and Washington, D.C. These meetings will generate a forum of multi-generational interaction between successful mentors who have a major impact on the world economy and the aspiring business and technology leaders who are graduates of Birthright Israel Excel. The program, which will be expanded to include international participants, aims to create a close-knit network of future Jewish business and technology leaders around the world.