After Israel trip, my perception of education changed

Kent J. Smith Jr.

Perception is everything.

As the president of an HBCU, I know the importance of perception. Many people have formed opinions of our historically Black institutions without ever stepping foot on one of our campuses.

The Middle East has long been portrayed as a war zone. Dark, grainy filters obscure the true beauty and innovation of the region. If you’re not careful, thoughts of war-torn streets may cloud your judgment. Yet, as I landed in Israel, I was mystified by the holy landmarks I saw, overcome by the sense of safety I felt, and in awe of its technological and agricultural achievements.

You truly don’t know what you don’t know until you take an interest in learning.

Project Interchange, an institute of the American Jewish Committee, gave me the opportunity to learn. As we continued through Jerusalem and Tel Aviv-Yafo, I began to understand the diverse cultures just within the city streets. There is such a deep sense of cultural understanding and acceptance between the differing sects of Judaism. You can see they have worked hard to thrive in a global culture.

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