NEAR EAST REPORT AIPAC'S BIWEEKLY ON AMERICAN MIDDLE EAST POLICY

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Students from Brigham Young University pose for a photo after winning the Duke Rudman Leadership Award at this year’s Policy Conference.
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AEPi Fraternity Director of Jewish and Philanthropy Programming Adam Teitelbaum was presented with the Advocate of the Year Award.

AIPAC's Top Campus Awards Presented
at Policy Conference

Each year at Policy Conference, AIPAC presents awards recognizing the most accomplished student activists and supportive campus professionals in the nation.

Duke Rudman Leadership Award

The highest of those honors is the Duke Rudman Leadership Award. This year, the award went to AIPAC-trained activists at Brigham Young University in Utah. Students from BYU were presented with the award for transforming their campus into a base for pro-Israel political activism and providing a model for effective campus mobilization.

Over the past year, activists at BYU engaged Congress, candidates, and campus leaders. As a result of their efforts, students on campus from all 50 states signed their names to a letter in support of the U.S.-Israel relationship. In addition, campus leaders worked with their state legislature to introduce and secure passage of a bill designed to strengthen the state of Utah’s economic ties to Israel. After the bill’s introduction, BYU activists met with state officials on a regular basis in order to advance its prospects. When it came before the legislature for a vote, pro-Israel students were invited to testify in favor of its passage. In the weeks leading up to Policy Conference, that bill passed the state Senate by a vote of 28-0. Just three days prior to the conference, it passed the state House 75-0.

Activist of the Year Awards

Students on four other campuses received Activist of the Year Awards in recognition of their outstanding pro-Israel political activity: Tulane University, University of Oregon, University of Colorado, Boulder, and University of Pennsylvania.

Pro-Israel student activists at Tulane were especially concerned with securing additional co-sponsors to The Iran Threat Reduction Act (H.R. 1905) this year. They were gratified when they found out that, very shortly after sustained engagement of their representative on the issue, a decision was made to cosponsor this critical legislation. Their engagement of student leaders matched their engagement of Congress. As a result of relationships formed during the year, both the current and incoming Student Government Association Presidents at this University attended Policy Conference 2012.

Throughout the year, pro-Israel students at the University of Oregon have actively cultivated strong relations with key campus leaders. This culminated in a campus leadership statement in support of the U.S.-Israel relationship. That statement includes the signatures of a diverse spectrum of mainstream student leaders, including those of five fraternity and sorority presidents on campus. This December, four University of Oregon students met with their representative in his Washington, D.C. office and have, over the course of the year, built a strong relationship which continues to deepen over time.

Among the most impressive achievements of student activists at the University of Colorado this year was organizing a campus leadership statement signed by 150+ mainstream student leaders. Among those who signed are included: the President of the Student Government Association; the Presidents of College Democrats and College Republicans; a host of student senators; every single fraternity and sorority President; and many more.

When a marginal student group on campus created controversy by offering to host a national anti-Israel conference, pro-Israel activists at the University of Pennsylvania saw this more as an opportunity than a threat. Foregoing the easy path of reacting to or protesting against Israel’s disenfranchised detractors, student activists used the controversy precipitated by the conference to engage the university administration, key campus leaders and large numbers of previously uninvolved students.

Advocate of the Year Awards

AIPAC’s Advocate of the Year Awards honor inspiring individuals who demonstrate advocacy at its best and—with courage and conviction—exert a compelling influence on a national level. At this year’s Policy Conference, Advocate of the Year honors were awarded to Eric Schorr of Columbia University, AEPi Fraternity Director of Jewish and Philanthropy Programming Adam Teitelbaum, and The David Project Executive Director David Bernstein.

Ally of the Year Awards

Finally, in recognition of the instrumental role of campus partners in guiding student activism, AIPAC honored three exceptional professionals with Ally of the Year Awards: Rabbi Mike Uram, Director of Hillel at the University of Pennsylvania; Rabbi Yehuda Oratz, Educator at Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School in Baltimore, MD; and Ido Adulamy, the Jewish Agency Israel Fellow to Hillel at the University of Southern California.

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