Join us on Sunday, May 6, 2018

Our Guest Speaker

Please join us Sunday morning beginning at 11:00am for a special presentation by Ambassador Ido Aharoni, our featured speaker courtesy of Israel Bonds. Ambassador Aharoni will discuss Nation Branding and current events in Israel in the Dave & Joyce Sakwa Family Sanctuary.

More about Ambassador Ido Aharoni…

Ambassador Ido Aharoni serves as Global DistinguishedProfessor at New York University’s School of International Relations in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. He is the founder of Emerson Rigby, an Israel-based full-service consultancy firm and a member of the International Advisory Council of APCO Worldwide.

Ambassador Aharoni is a 25-year veteran of Israel’s Foreign service. He is a public diplomacy specialist, founder of the Brand Israel program, and a well-known nation branding practitioner.

Ambassador Aharoni has been Israel’s longest serving Consul-General in New York and the tri-state area to date. He held that position for six years, overseeing the operations of Israel’s largest diplomatic mission worldwide.

Diplomatic Career

Ambassador Aharoni was a member of Israel’s Foreign Service from 1991 to 2016 and held three overseas positions, all in the USA, in Los Angeles and twice in New York.

In the spring of 1993, upon completion of the Foreign Ministry’s Cadet Program, Aharoni was appointed to serve under then-Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, as policy assistant to Israel’s chief negotiator with the Palestinians. In that capacity, Aharoni took part in the back-channel negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians in Europe and in the Middle-East that led to the signing of the Declaration of Principles and the Mutual Recognition Agreement (also known as the Oslo Accords.) Aharoni was a member of Israel’s official delegation to the signing ceremony at the White House in September of 1993.

In the spring of 2006, Aharoni was appointed senior advisor and press secretary to Israel’s Foreign Minister and Vice Prime Minister Tzipi Livni. In that capacity, he introduced nation branding methods and country positioning strategies as pillars of Israel’s public diplomacy.

From 1994 to 1998, Aharoni served as Israel’s consul for communications and public affairs in Los Angeles. In that position, he covered the seven Southwestern States and worked extensively in some of America’s top markets (Greater Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson, Salt Lake City and Denver.) 

From 2001 to 2005 Aharoni served as Israel’s consul for media and public affairs at Israel’s Consulate General in New York and the Tri-State area. He assumed this position several weeks prior to the terror attacks of 9/11. As the head of the department, Aharoni oversaw the operation of Israel’s largest public diplomacy and media relations apparatus worldwide. He handled public diplomacy, media relations, community outreach, social media platforms, as well as a variety of informational services.

Prior to his arrival in New York, Aharoni served as a policy advisor to the Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem. Over the years, Aharoni served five different directors-general.

Nation Branding

In 2002, Aharoni initiated the inclusion of Israel in the BAV (Brand Asset Valuator), the world’s largest database of brands maintained by advertising giant Young and Rubicam. Later that year, he convened the Brand Israel Group, an independent group of marketing and branding specialists, thus creating the foundation for what would later become the Brand Israel Program.

In September 2007, Aharoni was appointed as his nation’s first head of brand management. The program was designed to improve Israel’s positioning in the world by highlighting its relative advantages and increasing its relevance. As Aharoni explains, “No place, no person, no organization, wishes to be solely defined by its problems. Every place has a DNA, a personality, just like a human being.”

In 2015, Ambassador Aharoni introduced the idea of ‘nation brands index’ to publisher Mort Zuckerman and to advertising giant Y&R, thus giving birth to what would later become the Best Countries Index. The index is based on data collected by market research specialist BAV (Brand Asset Valuator) and U.S. News & World Report. This venture was later joined by Wharton School of Business and was unveiled at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January of 2016.

Honors and Awards

In 2015, Mr. Aharoni  was awarded Honorary Governor by Tel Aviv University. In 2013, The Algemeiner named him among the ‘Top 100 People Positively Influencing Jewish Life,’ commonly known as the “Jewish 100.” In 2005, a communications studies scholarship, ‘Wings of Hope’, was named after him by the Yemenite-Jewish Federation of North America. In 1998, he was given the Community Leadership Award in Los Angeles by the American Friends of the Rabin Medical Center.

Over the years, Mr. Aharoni received many awards recognizing his contribution to the field of public diplomacy from national Jewish organizations and other social-impact charities. These have included Back on my feet, The Albert Einstein Foundation, Israel Bonds Corporation, UJA of New York (United Jewish Appeal), Association of American-Russian Jewry, AJC (American Jewish Committee), Jewish National Fund, Beit Hatfusot Museum, WIZO (Women’s International Zionist Organization), Hadassah Women’s Organization, Friends of Hebrew University of USA and Canada, Friends of Soroka Hospital, Friends of Tel Aviv University, IAC (Israeli American Council) and many others.

In the summer of 2016,  New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced July 29th, 2016 as “Ambassador Ido Aharoni Day” in New York. In the fall of that year, Aharoni was honored by the Jerusalem Foundation at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.