The Wexner Foundation is proud to be expanding our work supporting public service leaders in Israel.  In addition to our long-standing Wexner Israel Fellowship Program at Harvard, we are in the process of recruiting the inaugural cohort for the Wexner Senior Leadership Program (WSLP), an executive style program which will launch in the winter of 2015. Both of these initiatives leverage our close partnership with the Harvard Kennedy School and the Center for Public Leadership.

We are excited to announce that earlier this month Ra’anan Avital assumed the position of Director General in our Jerusalem office.  Ra’anan is a talented senior leader well-schooled in the needs of Israel’s public service. He is an individual who has great passion for Israel and understands both the challenges of and the possibilities for change through effective leadership. Ra’anan spent the major part of his professional life in Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office, where he held a variety of positions at home and abroad, including heading the office’s Senior Executive Development Program. During the last decade, Ra’anan co-founded an innovative high school in Emek Heffer, Israel. The school, promoting an ethos of leadership, academic excellence and pluralism, was established as an experimental model for 21st century Israeli education.  Ra’anan received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Political Science from Haifa University, and over the years has graduated from numerous programs in Jewish studies, management and education, including “The Art and Practice of Leadership Development” at Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership. Israeli- born Ra’anan is married to English-born and raised Sara, a lawyer, and together they have three adult children, all living in Israel.

As is obvious from this brief description, Ra’anan Avital is a proven senior leader.  He was selected after a thoughtful process that included an impressive list of strong applicants.  He is a strategic thinker, a team builder, and a wise problem solver.  In addition to all of this, he is a mensch. Our chairmen, Abigail and Les Wexner, engaged with Ra’anan in a lengthy conversation about the singular importance of leadership in solving today’s global issues. Following that meeting they expressed their excitement about our new direction and our new director in Israel.