Bringing a global approach to communication for business and diplomacy
In the district of Israel called The Galilee, mountainous communities overlook Arab villages below. Itamar Ronen grew up among entirely different settlements, yet they all cooperated on a daily basis. Itamar believes they both need each other, but with the second intifada, beginning in September of 2000, certain residents of the nearby Arab population conducted violence toward Itamar’s community. The government responded with an economic boycott, severely hampering the livelihoods of the Arab villages. The intifada’s rage would see a thousand Jewish Israelis killed and 3,000 Palestinians before things settled down, but between Itamar’s people and the Arabs in the valleys, a negotiation process began. Listening, understanding, and cooperation gave them a mutual language of diplomacy. Itamar believes that this process proved it can be done.
Along with most eighteen-year-olds in Israel, Itamar joined the Israel Defense Force where he eventually became a tank commander and faced “many unpleasant situations” involving force. What especially frustrated Itamar was that he knew from experience that other tools could have been used to resolve conflicts that would have benefitted both sides. He believes dialogs that share feelings, thoughts, and ideas will accomplish much. Participants’ minds must be open to the tolerance of disagreement in some areas in order to ultimately achieve cooperation and lead to a better future. He believes such approaches can and will change the world. As a result, he enrolled in the Lauder School of Government and Diplomacy at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya, Israel.
There, one of his advisors described his intellectual curiosity as taking him “to a depth of investigation far beyond that of most students.” He often assumes a leadership role in team efforts, she said, while at the same time he “lets others enjoy the spotlight.” Also at IDC, the Recanti International Law School draws a thousand students from around the world, and Itamar was selected to be their counselor, putting into practice his commitment to listening and understanding. He relied on honesty and openness to enable young students to trust him despite his being a total stranger, and the process proved challenging but also highly rewarding. His communication skills also apply to children, and he worked successfully in a summer program with the education department of the Jewish Agency for Israel, leading to an ongoing position.
When he attended the Georgetown University institute of International Political Economy studies on Crete in the summer of 2008, his interests have taken a turn toward the business world. At HSI, he enjoyed exchanging ideas with international students, and looks forward to creating new networks that will prove helpful in the future. After finishing at IDC, he will work toward an MBA in international business from the MIB School of Management in Trieste, Italy. Trying to find a direction in his career, he says, “I wish to work in a global arena and to find the way to use this globalization era in order to bring a change to my home country.”