Skip to main content

UConn, the University of Connecticut, has fostered a dynamic and multifaceted relationship with Israel, cultivating partnerships in academia, sports and business. This robust connection has paved the way for fruitful collaborations with all the leading Israeli research universities, facilitating student exchanges, faculty collaboration, and knowledge-sharing across borders. In an exclusive interview with Daniel Weiner, Vice President of Global Affairs at UConn, we delve into the significance of this thriving relationship and the various initiatives that drive these partnerships forward.

Horsebarn Hill & UConn Skyline, Connecticut, USA
Aerial (drone) view of Horsebarn Hill and the UConn skyline on Oct. 15, 2019. (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)

UConn’s Groundbreaking Initiatives for Israeli Partnerships and Innovation

One groundbreaking program that UConn introduced in 2016 is the Abrahamic Initiative, which promotes academic collaboration in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The initiative serves as a catalyst for research collaboration, student mobility, and joint projects that are relevant for the changing MENA region. However, the impact of the Abrahamic Initiative goes beyond academic collaborations and research endeavors. It plays a significant role in promoting a more interconnected and harmonious MENA region. By creating opportunities for meaningful interactions and fostering an environment of mutual respect and understanding, UConn’s Abrahamic Initiative paves the way for long-term relationships built on trust, empathy, and shared goals. “The Abrahamic Initiative at UConn fosters connections between students and faculty members, leveraging Connecticut as a safe space to promote regional development and peaceful co-existence” Weiner added. The program organizes innovative workshops, engaging discussions, and interactive activities that provide participants with valuable opportunities to exchange views and learn from a diverse group of peers, colleagues, and experts. By adopting a small workshop format, participants can actively engage with the material and develop personal relationship, contributing their unique perspectives and experiences to enrich the learning process. For more info on how to participate please follow this link: 

In addition to the Abrahamic Initiative, UConn has continued its commitment to collaboration with Israel through the launch of a Clean Energy Initiative. This groundbreaking program, established in partnership with Technion, Israel’s Institute of Technology, represents a significant step towards achieving UConn’s goals of clean energy and sustainability. “Led by President Maric, UConn’s research efforts in clean energy include the development and application of hydrogen fuel cells. This cutting-edge technology holds immense potential for decarbonizing energy systems and reducing greenhouse gas emissions” explained Weiner. By leveraging UConn’s expertise in clean energy research and commercialization and Technion’s excellence in innovation and technology, the collaboration between the two institutions capitalizes on their respective strengths. More info on the initiative can be found at: 

UConn President Radenka Maric, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, representatives from Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, and VP for Global Affairs Dan Weiner (photo by Office of the Governor)

Forging a Multifaceted Bond towards the Future

The bond between UConn and Israel extends beyond academia. UConn’s rise as one of the most successful basketball programs in the country during the 1990s is connected to the contribution of Israeli players. This rich basketball history has further solidified the connection between UConn and Israel, with the Israeli community displaying a keen awareness of UConn’s basketball program. Doron Sheffer, an Israeli player, played a pivotal role in the team’s success, showcasing exceptional skills and leadership. Sheffer’s presence not only elevated UConn’s performance but also symbolized the strong ties between UConn and Israel. “As a successful Israeli athlete, Sheffer serves as an ambassador for UConn, inspiring aspiring athletes in Israel and around the world fostering camaraderie and cultural exchange,” Weiner said.

The relationship between UConn and Israel spans diverse domains, including academia, sports, clean energy research, and cultural exchange. Through programs such as the Abrahamic Initiative and collaborations with prestigious institutions such as Technion, Hebrew University, Haifa University, Tel Aviv University, and Ben Gurion University, UConn continues to forge meaningful connections and drive innovation. This partnership holds great promise for a brighter, interconnected future as UConn’s commitment to clean energy and sustainability aligns with Israel’s global leadership in technology. UConn warmly invites Israeli students and researchers to join in collaboration, contributing to a thriving academic community that embraces diversity and global citizenship. 

UConn Huskies Don Sheffer, Connecticut, USA
Doron Sheffer, retired Israeli professional basketball player, played with the UConn Huskies from 1993-1996

Visit for more info

Check all available programs here

More articles here

Leave a Reply