Written by: Adi Sathi
Executive Director, Association of Big Ten Students (2013-2014)
SGA President, University of Michigan School of Social Work (2014)
Over the years, AIPAC has played a significant role in both my undergraduate and graduate career at the University of Michigan. I first became engaged with American-Israel relations in 2011 as a representative on our campus’s student government body when a BDS resolution was presented to the student assembly. As a believer in the existence of the state of Israel, I worked to ensure that this resolution did not pass. As time went on, our campus became a hotspot for discussion about Israel and as a student involved with government and politics, I was intrigued to learn more. Therefore, when I was given the opportunity to attend my first AIPAC Policy Conference in 2013, I jumped on the opportunity.
Not knowing what to expect, I found my way to Washington, D.C. to attend what turned out to be an eye-opening conference. I learned a great deal about the American-Israel relationship, Israeli technology and innovation, Jewish culture and history, and so much more. It was also exciting to meet so many people from all over the country, including hundreds of fellow student government leaders, who all shared a belief in the existence of Israel. At the end of the conference, I was hooked and ready to come back for more.
After returning to the University of Michigan for graduate school, I was determined to get more involved with AIPAC and support a cause I truly believed in. I never would have imagined, however, that nine months and another Policy Conference later, I would be selected by AIPAC as one of 40 students in the country to attend the Campus Allies Mission Trip to Israel! In May of 2014, I boarded a flight and flew halfway across the world with 40 strangers and a few AIPAC staffers who later became some of my best friends. From Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to the Sea of Galilee and everything in between, we saw it all. This firsthand experience of the Jewish state strengthened my belief in the value of the American-Israel relationship. It was, by far, the most memorable trip of my college career. Granted, hummus and ice coffee will never be the same again.
This past February 2015, I was in attendance at my third AIPAC policy conference, but this time it was different. I found myself attending various reunions and stopping frequently in the hallway to say hello to old friends. I felt like I had become part of the AIPAC family, a community that has been brought together by its unwavering support for the existence of the state of Israel. This is the one issue that will always transcend political party lines because a stronger Israel equates to a stronger America. I hope to continue to be part of the AIPAC family for many years to come.