Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011...1:23 pm

Hamline hosts Mideast entrepreneurs (+ Business Scene briefs)

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Middle East Education to Employment project aims to address simmering conflicts by improving economic opportunities

By MORDECAI SPECKTOR

Much of the discourse about Middle East affairs involves a large measure of pessimism; however, an inspiringly upbeat mood prevailed at a dinner on the evening of June 2, for participants in Hamline University’s Middle East Education to Employment Fellowship Exchange Project.

The 14 project fellows traveled to Minnesota from Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Jordan and Lebanon to hone their entrepreneurial skills over six weeks. Underwritten by a grant from the U.S. Department of State, the program enlisted a host of local corporate sponsors (3M, Cargill, The Carlson Group, Wells Fargo, HealthPartners, HIRED, Minnesota Public Radio, Neighborhood Development Center and St. Paul College).

The fellows toured the local corporations and agencies, and spoke with business leaders in the community. At the June 2 reception and dinner at Hamline’s Klas Center, the delegations took the podium and each participant spoke about his or her business or social project back home. The fellows, who were selected based on their leadership potential, are “mid-level administrators, community activists, NGO organizers, and individuals with backgrounds in business, economics and the liberal arts,” according to a press release from the Middle East Education to Employment project.

The 14 fellows in the Middle East Education to Employment project spent six weeks learning about the culture and workings of American businesses and social agencies, in formal and informal settings. (Photo: Courtesy of Hamline University)The 14 fellows in the Middle East Education to Employment project spent six weeks learning about the culture and workings of American businesses and social agencies, in formal and informal settings. (Photo: Courtesy of Hamline University)

The fellows’ projects covered a wide range of endeavors. Michel Helou, 32, a telecommunications consultant from Lebanon, wants to develop a therapy program using horses to help disabled children. He explained that the equine therapy project also will save old and injured horses from mistreatment.

Eilon Kotler, 28, a filmmaker from Kibbutz Kfar Aza in Israel, discussed a plan to produce short films highlighting his community as a place for business investment. He noted that many young people move away from the kibbutz, which is located a stone’s throw from the northern Gaza Strip. There was an affecting moment at the dinner when Kotler acknowledged the program fellow from Gaza and expressed his hope that they can find a way to promote dialogue and peace.

Ebtesam Khasawneh, 35, a psychologist from Jordan, has been working with the Center for Victims of Torture. Her project is to create a safe place for abused women in Jordan. Her prospectus mentions that this project “is very important to everyone who cares about human rights worldwide and not only in Jordan, as women are abused everywhere.”

The Middle East Education to Employment project is co-directed by Arie Zmora and Lou Canavati. The Hamline team planning and supporting the project includes Nurith Zmora and Ken Fox.

The Middle East Education to Employment Project works from the premise that “conflicts and violence are byproducts of a lack of economic opportunity. In the Middle East, inadequate training and high unemployment lead to an explosive situation in which disenfranchised youth are prone to violence within the local communities or along ethnic-religious and national lines.”

By providing training to young entrepreneurs, the project hopes to stimulate job opportunities, so that “political tensions will subside and a more hospitable environment will emerge to accommodate cultural, religious and ethnic differences and nurture pluralism. As a byproduct of these efforts, it is also hoped that participating individuals will become goodwill ambassadors for the United States and the participating organizations.”

The final piece of the project will see representatives of the U.S. business partners visit the fellows in their various Middle East communities to help them implement their business plans.

For information about the project, contact Arie Zmora at 651-329-3650; e-mail: ariezmora@msn.com.

(American Jewish World, 6.24.11)

BUSINESS SCENE

Cleaning with compassion

When Jennifer Mendel Carr lost both of her parents to cancer, she knew she needed to give back.

Mendel Carr is the co-owner of Distinctive Cleaning, which she started in 1996 when she was just 19 years old. At that point she had already lost her mother, Marion Mendel, to ovarian cancer. But two years ago, she also lost her father, John Whelan.

As a way to do her part, Carr now offers regular, once-a-month home cleaning services to cancer patients at no cost.

“She started a program where she’s donating time and cleaning for people who have cancer that are going through a hard time in their life,” Julian Gurevich, the company’s general manager, told the AJW. “Obviously, they need their house cleaned. That’s one of the most important things, just to make sure everything is sanitary.”

Cancer patients only need to contact Distinctive Cleaning to set up the service.

“It’s an ongoing thing, it’s not just a one-time cleaning. We’ll come and clean their house once a month on a regular basis for them at no charge,” Gurevich said. “Everybody’s qualified. As long as they’re going through something like that, we’d be more than happy to come and donate our time to help them out.”

Distinctive Cleaning, which employs 49 people, services homes and businesses about 30 miles from the Twin Cities and, according to Gurevich, provides “any cleaning for any industry.” The company has won numerous awards, and is licensed, bonded and insured.

Distinctive Cleaning is located at 815 106th Street, Suite 220,ӬBloomington. For information, call 952-922-2457 or visit: distinctivecleaning.com.

Law firm recognized

The law firm of Maslon Edelman Borman & Brand, LLP has announced its ranking as a “Leading Minnesota Firm” for Litigation, Construction, Corporate/M&A, and Labor and Employment in the 2011 edition of Chambers USA. Additionally, the publication recognized several Maslon attorneys as “Leading Individual Attorneys in Minnesota.”

The attorneys recognized are David Herr, William Pentelovitch, Justin Perl, James Duffy O’Connor, James Killian, Martin Rosenbaum, Alan Gilbert, Howard Tarkow and Jessica Pecoraro.

The rankings are the result of of extensive client interviews and research conducted by Chambers and Partners to identify and rank the lawyers based on technical legal expertise, business acumen, prompt delivery, professional conduct, commitment and other qualities valued by the client.

For information about Maslon Edelman Borman & Brand, LLP, visit: www.maslon.com.

Technion job fair

Thousands of Technion students and graduates, and nearly 50 of Israel’s leading companies converged recently on the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology for what is now the country’s largest job fair.

Among the participating companies was Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Ltd., which designs, develops, manufactures and supplies a wide range of high-tech defense systems for air, land, sea and space.

“We came here today to pick the best sons and daughters of Israel,” Rafael CEO Major General (Res.) Yedidia Yaari said in a press release.

Other companies that took part in the job fair included Check Point Software, Elbit Systems Ltd., Freescale Semiconductor, Intel, Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd., Applied Materials, Israel Electric Corporation, Marvell, Perrigo Israel Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Qualcomm, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., Tower Semiconductor, Yahoo! and Zoran Corporation.

(American Jewish World, 6.24.11)

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