Students and staff join Hillel Latin America Director Gabriel Trajtenberg (right) at the Hillel Latin America Leaders Conference.
Nearly one hundred students and young professionals from across Latin American gathered in Punta del Este, Uruguay November 13-15 for Hillel Latin America’s second annual Student Leadership Conference.
Delegations joined the event from seven communities across the region: Asuncion, Paraguay; Buenos Aires and Córdoba, Argentina; Montevideo, Uruguay; Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte, Brazil; and Lima Peru. In addition, student leadership from the National Union of Israeli Students joined the conference, bringing an Israeli perspective to the event’s activities.
"We were thrilled to have such a diverse chorus of student voices at this conference—from across the region and around the world," said Hillel Latin America Regional Director Gabriel Trajtenberg. "As the participants shared stories and programs from their home communities, you could feel the inspiration building in the room."
This year’s conference focused on Israel advocacy best practices among the Hillels in the region and how to approach challenges for 2010, in particular the increased presence of Iran in the region.
Students discussed ways to replicate successful Israel advocacy initiatives from one community to another and strategized on how the region could work together on common initiatives.
In addition to the focus on Israel advocacy, the conference featured a series of lectures by Avraham Infeld on "Jewish Peoplehood and Identity," which served to inspire students on the subjects of Jewish life and leadership.
"The days I spent at the Hillel Latin America conference were amazing," said Hillel Córdoba student participant Luciano Griboff. "It was fantastic to interact and share experiences with students from different countries. And Avraham Infeld’s presence made such a huge impression, especially the message he delivered about the importance of becoming a Jewish leader for the continuing survival and renaissance of our people."
The conference, co-organized by Trajtenberg and Hillel Latin America’s Director of Development Marcia Kelner, also included attendance by regional lay leaders from Argentina and Uruguay, and representatives from Hillel’s Schusterman International Center, the Jewish Agency for Israel, MASA, and Oranim.