Every week the Center for Jewish Civilization spotlights one of its many talented undergraduates.
Prior to his Fall 2018 semester in Jerusalem, Tanner Larkin never expected to have a front-row seat in seeing the day-to-day happenings of the President and First Lady of Israel.
“From my apartment window, you could see a large helipad. One day early in the semester, a convoy delivered a group of people to a waiting helicopter. My flatmates and I were too far to make out anyone, but I joked that the person in the red pants must be Sara Netanyahu. Sure enough, that day Bibi’s Instagram featured him visiting a new hospital wing with Sara—in bright red pants! From then on, we watched the Netayanhu’s from our window weekly.”
For Larkin, a School of Foreign Service junior majoring International Politics and pursuing a certificate in Jewish Civilization, such experiences came to define his time abroad both inside and outside of the classroom. Originally from Walnut Creek, California, Tanner went to Israel for a number of reasons. He was interested in learning more about Israeli-Palestinian relations, but also wanted to explore his Jewish faith, study Hebrew, and get to know his Israeli family members. His study abroad program also afforded him the opportunity to travel to the West Bank, where he visited settlements, Arab villages, and the cities of Hebron and Bethlehem.
In addition to studying at the Rothberg International School in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tanner interned at Yad Vashem, Israel’s memorial to the victims of the Shoah and a museum dedicated to Holocaust education, documentation, and research. “I am incredibly grateful that I could contribute, even in an extremely minor way, to the mission of Yad Vashem to preserve and honor the memory of the Shoah.”
This wasn’t Tanner’s first time interning in Israel. During the previous summer, he worked at the Abba Eban Institute for International Diplomacy through “Onward, Israel,” a program that connects college students to professional development opportunities in Israel. As a summer intern at Abba Eban, Tanner describes as being “treated like one of the staffers. I got to work on major projects and to take part in off-the-record meetings with Israeli politicians whom you normally just read about in the news. All the while, I lived in the heart of Tel Aviv, just blocks from Rothschild Avenue, and explored the city’s cafes, bookshops, and bars.” Contributing to Abba Eban’s mission of reinvigorating Israel’s diplomatic efforts was an unparalleled experience that Tanner recommends to “CJC-ers [considering] an Israeli summer internship.”
Tanner, now back at Georgetown for the spring semester, reflects on his time in Israel and the Palestinian Territories as allowing him to “deepen and internalize my understandings of Israeli and Palestinian societies, as well as the issues at the heart of the conflict.”