The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science has continued to expand its international reach by bringing the Alda Method® to Israel and launching a new partnership with the Zuckerman Institute, a foundation founded by Mortimer B. Zuckerman, called the Zuckerman Institute-Alda Center Scholars Project. The project aims to enhance the communication skills of Zuckerman scholars as part of the Zuckerman Institute-Alda Center Scholars Project. The Zuckerman Scholars are a cohort of scientists in Israel from the Zuckerman STEM Leadership Program. The program attracts recent STEM Ph.D. graduates from premier universities in the U.S. to do postdoctoral research at leading Israeli universities.
Alan Alda kicked off the visit by sharing his passion for science communication in an engaging talk at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. The talk, entitled “Getting Beyond a Blind Date with Science,” aimed at encouraging the audience that it’s important for STEM and health professionals to communicate effectively with the public. Alan shared personal stories from his life and career, demonstrating the importance of connecting with your audience.
In the days following the talk, Mr. Alda was joined by an Alda Center instructional team to facilitate the first of two workshops for Zuckerman Scholars from participating Israeli universities. The workshop employed the Alda Method® to facilitate the participants' abilities to communicate with policy makers, funders, and the public about the importance of their science and why it matters. The workshop will be followed up with online resources implemented by the Alda Center to provide continuous learning for the Zuckerman Scholars, funded by a gift from the Zuckerman Institute.
The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science impressed us with its innovative ways of helping scholars and scientists explain their work more clearly to others. Our hope is that our Zuckerman STEM Leadership Program scholars leverage this 2-day workshop experience into a lifetime of scientific collaboration and communication — first to their fellow students, professors and colleagues and then to the public at large.” – Eric & James Gertler, Zuckerman Institute Trustees
The Alda Center team concluded their visit with a workshop for faculty at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. The workshop was funded by The Kavli Foundation, whose mission is to advance science for the benefit of humanity, promoting public understanding of scientific research, and supporting scientists and their work.
Collaborating with both the Technion and the Zuckerman Institute not only strengthens the US-Israel relationship, it also presents a valuable opportunity to study the efficacy and potency of the Alda Method in an international setting. “The Zuckerman-Alda partnership gives us the chance to extend our model to colleagues in Israel and to build on the experience we’ve had in the U.S.,” said Laura Lindenfeld, director of the Alda Center. “We are very excited to be given the opportunity to conduct trainings and assess how they are working in Israel. This experience will help us strengthen our curriculum and our international science communication training in the future.”
About the Zuckerman STEM Leadership Program
The Zuckerman STEM Leadership Program supports future generations of leaders in science, technology, engineering and math in the United States and Israel and, over time, fosters greater collaboration between the most advanced scientific research centers in these countries. Zuckerman Scholars enjoy unique programming and activities specially organized for them by the host universities, such as touring, educational experiences, and social programs. These programs are aimed at strengthening the scholars’ knowledge of and connection to Israel, and at cultivating an esprit de corps within the program, enabling them to exchange ideas and foster new relationships. Candidates for the Zuckerman STEM Leadership Program are assessed based on their academic and research achievements, qualities of personal merit and leadership.