Dr. Hagai Agmon-Snir has been the director of the Jerusalem Intercultural Centre since its establishment in 1999. In his work at the JICC, Hagai develops and implements models for making Jerusalem a culturally competent city for all its residents. In 1995-1997, Hagai was a researcher at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and then returned to Jerusalem, where he graduated the Mandel School for Educational Leadership. During this period, he focused on multicultural models that combine different fields, such as political philosophy, conflict management, dialogue, community development and project management. He holds a PhD in Computational Neuroscience, Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
The Jerusalem Intercultural Centre (JICC)
The Jerusalem Intercultural Centre (JICC) was founded in 1999 with the aim of assisting the city’s residents, from diverse identities, in becoming responsible, active partners in shaping the development of their communities and Jerusalem’s future. The Centre focuses on developing processes that enable all of Jerusalem’s residents to improve their everyday lives, receive basic services and learn skills that allow them to cooperate with one another, service providers and public agencies.
The JICC has expert knowledge of the many and varying complex issues faced by its vast diversity of residents – from political to legal to socioeconomic to physical. It deeply understands the intricacies that influence leaders’ and residents’ decisions. It is also sensitive to the tapestry of organisations and agencies that work to improve Jerusalem’s future. The JICC is singularly positioned to integrate this knowledge into unique actions and projects that create practical change on the ground, build bridges among diverse – and sometimes opposing – elements, creatively solve small and large problems, and cultivate a city that fosters respect for all its inhabitants.
The JICC is a leading institution advancing shared living in Jerusalem, at the forefront of cross-cultural activities and community development. Accomplishments include:
• Developed ground-breaking methods to combat racism – effective dialogue, activist mentoring, neighbourhood tolerance watches – turning downtown Jerusalem into one of the most tolerant of all Israel’s major cities.
• Established new pathways for Arab residents of east Jerusalem to solve everyday issues in their neighbourhoods, creating the largest volunteer network in east Jerusalem.
• Set a new standard for community participation processes citywide, enabling the spectrum of religious and secular residents to solve problems, share public space and celebrate their diversity in both Jewish and Arab neighbourhoods.
• Facilitated rare cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian emergency personnel to respond to serious traffic accidents and fires through Emergency Readiness Networks in Arab neighbourhoods.
• Leading partner in project that seeks to enable Jews, Muslims and Christians to share peacefully the only site in the world on Mt. Zion that is holy to all three Abrahamic religions.
• Completely re-focused approach of welfare and health care professionals working in Haredi communities through cultural competency training, preventing crises such as the riots following the 2010 imprisonment of a Haredi mother who was accused of starving her child.
• National leader in Cultural Competency in Health Care since 2008, now adapting this model to academia, police, municipal welfare department, National Insurance Institute, Population & Immigration Authority.
• Provide the only coordinator in Israel outside Tel Aviv to help meet the many needs of African asylum seekers in welfare, education, health care, employment rights and more.
The Jerusalem Foundation
Now in its fiftieth year of active engagement in Jerusalem, the Jerusalem Foundation continues to build a modern city that responds to the needs of its residents by developing philanthropic partnerships, working hand in hand with the city’s key institutions. We seek to shapes the future of Jerusalem by creating opportunities for all of Jerusalem’s population groups – Jewish, Muslim and Christian, religious and secular – in every neighbourhood of the city. We advance projects that create a flourishing city that is a source of inspiration for its people and the world, preserving the past and laying the groundwork for a dynamic future. We share Jerusalem with partners and friends from around the world and inspire new generations to love the eternal city.
The Jerusalem Foundation was one of the founding partners of the Jerusalem Intercultural Centre, and today the JICC continues to be a strategic partner in the Foundation’s work in creating opportunities for dialogue and shared living — among all its diverse residents — in the city.