Professor Participating in Bridge-Building Mission to Israel

David Holben part of academic exchange exploring country's history, politics and culture

David Holben

OXFORD, Miss. – A University of Mississippi professor is preparing to join colleagues from universities and colleges across the country to travel to Israel on the 2019-20 Winter Faculty Fellowship Program.

David H. Holben, professor of nutrition and hospitality management, will be among 28 educators to participate in the program, which is a competitive academic fellowship that invites full-time university and college faculty members to participate in an all-expenses-paid academic trip to Israel. The program is possible following Jewish National Fund-USA’s memorandum of understanding signing with the University of Arizona and the Arava region.

“I am honored and elated to have been selected for the program,” Holben said. “The opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of Israel and its culture and to meet with Israeli scholars for potential collaboration is a distinct privilege.”

Participants will take part on the trip, set for Dec. 26-Jan. 8, where they will travel throughout Israel, meeting Israeli professors from their respective disciplines and with the same, or similar, research interests, all with the goal of developing collaborations, research projects, co-authoring articles and establishing exchange programs between faculty and students. 

The tour, which more than 300 have already taken part in, is a fully-paid intensive program to Israel for full-time U.S.-based academics from a recognized university/learning institution. JNF-USA also runs the annual Caravan for Democracy Student leadership Mission to Israel, of which 80 college students will travel to Israel in December; the Summer Faculty Fellowship Program in Israel; and a host of other trips and missions.

During the trip, the participants will meet Israelis from all walks of life and will hear from a variety of speakers. They will also be exposed to contemporary Israeli society, culture, historical sites, people and the way of life in Israel. The academics meet with professionals and experts involved in government, industry, education, media and other sectors to understand the many facets of Israel’s evolving national and international policies.

Those who take part will gain a deeper awareness of Israel as a “start-up nation,” its success in water innovation and how the country addresses regional and global challenges.

Jewish National Fund is the leading philanthropic organization for Israel that supports critical environmental and nation-building activities in Israel’s north and south. To learn more about the universities and professors taking part in the 2019 Winter Faculty Fellowship Program in Israel or from previous years, or to register for future programs, visit