Jerusalem is Front and Center at the 2017 ROI Summit

The ROI Summit kicked off yesterday in Jerusalem. The 5-day gathering brings together young Jewish change makers from all over the world for networking, skill-building, brainstorming and creative learning sessions. This year, 150 participants are in attendance from 29 countries.

Both Lynn Schusterman and Stacy Schusterman, co-chairs of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, were there to welcome participants. As Lynn said: “You are so special to me because you represent the next generation. You all give me hope.”

ROI Community members are charged with building important movements for change in the Jewish community and beyond. “Help us figure out how to leverage the strength of the entire ROI Community to make Israel and the broader world places of peace, hope and prosperity for all,” said Stacy.

This year’s Summit will have a special emphasis on Jerusalem. In marking the 50th anniversary since the Six Day War, Summit participants will be encouraged to reflect on Jerusalem’s evolution while also envisioning their role in shaping its future.

One of the keynote speakers, Miri Eisin, retired colonel, professor and former Israeli government spokesperson, encouraged participants to consider the eternal city’s “constantness” and fluidity. While slam poet Yonatan Blumenfeld wondered, “How do you explain Jerusalem to a stranger’s mind? / How do you sing Jerusalem? / What’s the rhyme / for such mixed emotions intertwined?”

Participants will also get to hear from author and noted thinker Bernard-Henri Levy; network with Jewish and Israeli executives; present case studies and deliver their own TED-style talks.

The Summit is, first and foremost, about peer learning. It is built on the premise that participants have as much to contribute as they do to gain. Peer-led workshops, “brain date” sessions and networking opportunities give participants the time they need to form connections and share ideas for collaboration.

In keeping with the theme of Jerusalem, each day of the Summit focuses on a different sensory experience. As No’a Gorlin, Associate Executive Director or ROI Community, explained, the Summit will be a chance to “see and hear what has been opaque and muffled, to try on different visions of the future for size.”

Taken together, this gathering initiates participants into a global network of changemakers. The community is now over 1,000 members strong and connects outstanding young Jews from around the world who are working in creative arts, humanitarian issues, Jewish life, women’s empowerment, finance, education, technology and more.

“Engage in urgent conversations … My hope is that Jerusalem will serve as a mirror and help us to better understand how we truly listen. Our time here together should help us to have greater insight and therefore greater impact,” said Justin Korda, Executive Director of ROI Community.

Photos by Snir Katzir

ROI Community is an initiative of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation.