Walking along IDC Herzliya’s campus with its founder and president, Prof. Uriel Reichman, and with its Vice President and Head of the Raphael Recanati International School, Mr. Jonathan Davis, one can’t help being amazed by the rapid evolution of this prestigious academic institution.
Only 20 years ago, the site was still an abandoned IDF air force base, while today Israel’s first privately-owned university is brimming with activity. New buildings are being built to meet the demand for its constantly expanding range of academic programs. Near the main entrance, the building that will house the new Adelson School of Entrepreneurship is under construction, while on the northern edge of the campus the Psychology building is nearing completion.
In addition to the striking architecture and the magnificent landscaping, eye-catching pieces of art and archeological artifacts are displayed throughout the campus, both outdoors and inside the various buildings.
Full academic degrees in English It’s Sunday morning, and as Prof. Reichman and Mr. Davis walk towards the cafeteria, stopping several times on the way to greet students and faculty members, they can’t help noticing IDC Herzliya’s heterogeneous student body. This diversity reflects the university’s mission statement that stresses the importance of social responsibility. In particular, they encounter a large number of Ethiopian Israeli students, many of whom are part of the “Israel at Heart” program, whose participants receive free tuition, a monthly stipend and unlimited tutoring. “To meet these students is inspiring,” asserts Davis. “They are the apple of my eye and I am very proud of them. Many are on the Dean’s List.”
Once inside the lovely cafeteria, the two men try to count the different languages they hear: German, French, Spanish, Russian, Swedish – and of course Hebrew and English – in addition to several others. In fact, 25% of IDC Herzliya’s student body is enrolled in the Raphael Recanati International School, and hails from 86 different countries! “We are basically the largest academic absorption center in Israel,” boasts Prof. Reichman, “and we are the most international university in Israel, with the highest ratio of foreign students.”
This year there are over 1,600 students at the Raphael Recanati International School (RRIS), studying for full academic degrees taught in English, including three-year BA programs in Business Administration, Communications, Government, Psychology and Computer Science, and MAs in Business, Government and Organizational Behavior. Although the international students learn alongside their Israeli counterparts and are involved in all aspects of campus life, they also enjoy an array of special extracurricular social and cultural activities, such as trips around the country, weekend seminars, Hillel events, Shabbat dinners and much more.
Davis points out that there is a large group of students that is not visible on campus – those who are currently serving in the IDF reserves and are therefore absent from their studies. Since IDC Herzliya’s student body includes a high proportion of combat officers and other demobilized soldiers serving in key positions – both men and women – they are frequently called to reserve duty.
According to a recent survey conducted by the IDF’s Chief Reserves Officer among 66 Israeli colleges and universities, IDC Herzliya was ranked #1 in the way it treats its reservists. They receive all the help they need in order to make up what they miss when they are in the army, including special exam dates and free tutoring. Once a year, there is even a Reservists Prom, where students serving in the reserves are invited to a lavish affair in order to thank them. The Reservists Prom is funded by sponsors and organized by volunteers.