Ryan Joins The Team!
The David Project is proud to announce that Ryan Kun has joined the team as our newest Campus Coordinator. Ryan recently graduated from the University of Cincinnati, and was a David Project intern for four years on his campus. During his time as an intern, Ryan participated in the Black-Jewish Summit, Israel Uncovered, and served as an inaugural member of our National Student Board. We asked Ryan some questions to introduce him to his professional partners and new students that he'll be working with this year.
The David Project: What is your go-to way to begin a conversation with someone you don't know?
Ryan: My go to way to spark a conversation is to always find some form of common ground. When two individuals find something that they both have an interest in, a relationship is almost instantly formed. Now finding this common ground can be easy as well. It can be as simple as liking the individuals style in clothing or if you both happen to be reading the same book. Once that initial foundation is set, you can let the sparks fly.
TDP: Why is it important for students from different backgrounds and communities to learn about each other?
Ryan: Students go to college to get an education; to learn something new. While we do learn a lot in the classroom, I believe that this is only half of the information we’re given throughout our 4 years on campus. The other half comes from the individuals we meet. Every university is a melting pot of students from different religions, ethnicities, and beliefs. By developing a relationship with these unique individuals, we have this amazing opportunity to learn from them, understand their history, their favorite foods, why they view the world the way they do. It’s through this knowledge that we become smarter, more tolerant citizens of the world.
TDP: What is your favorite thing about Israel?
Ryan: For me, the best thing about Israel is the sense of community within the people. This can especially be seen on Shabbat. No matter who you are or where you’re from, if you’re alone Friday evening for Shabbat dinner, expect a complete stranger to welcome you into their home for the evening because being by yourself on this day is not allowed. I can’t think of any other place in the world where a whole nation would welcome a stranger into their homes for a nice meal. It’s something truly special.
TDP: What is an example of a time you were a relational advocate? What is an example of a time you were an ally?
Ryan: A time I served as a relational advocate occurred during the knife stabbings in Israel back in 2016. But before I could advocate for a cause I believed in, I had to be an ally first. During the same time as the attacks, the Presidential election was taking place and emotions were being fueled which resulted in a huge increase in organization activities. As an ally, I worked with multiple student organizations, attend their events, and helped support the causes they believed because their issues should be just as important as ours. So, when the time came that the stabbings were all over the news, I could be there to tell them why this issue was important to me.
TDP: What are you looking forward to most about working with The David Project?
Ryan: Everything! Working for The David Project has always been something I’ve wanted to do. Being an intern for this organization when I was in college was an incredible experience that gave me such found memories, knowledge, and skills of being an Israel advocate and campus ally. One thing I loved doing while I was an intern was having the opportunity to hear from multiple student leaders. Now, by being a Campus Coordinator, I get to hear these stories on multiple campuses that are each unique from one another. All these campus leaders have their own remarkable journeys, and having the chance to hear from them and use my past experiences to help them as much as possible is the most incredible part of this job.