Michael Chayat

2022 IVLP Impact Award Project: Social Change Through Young AthletesIsrael

Michael Chayat comes from the ultra-Orthodox society in Israel. He is a graduate of Yeshiva University. He trains and coaches capoeira, a Brazilian martial art, for which he has won a number of awards: first place for the green-purple belt at Mediterranean Championship 2017, Mediterranean Champion for 201 and fourth place in the world at the World Championship in Rio in 2019.

In 2015, Michael founded the Stronger Association, which helps at-risk youth from the ultra-Orthodox society in Israel, to get out of situations of risk, drugs, alcohol, crime and violence through martial arts. He also helps them acquire education and professional skills. In addition, the organization promotes a healthy lifestyle among the ultra-Orthodox population in Israel. The organization runs a project to promote coexistence between different cultural and religious sectors in Israel through martial arts, in order to reduce hostility and hatred between these sectors in Israel.

IVLP Impact Award Project: Social Change Through Young Athletes

The various cultural and religious sectors in Israel live in separate spheres. Teens from different sectors are shaped from childhood to fear and hate the other sectors, which leads to war and violence.

In order to produce deep and significant social change, the project brought together 20 young athletes from different religious and secular sectors in Israel, sectors that are not in good relations with each other. The young athletes learned to build a common language and society among themselves, break down walls and shatter myths about the other sectors through conversation circles that started every meeting. Additionally, the parents of the athletes have expressed interest in conducting similar activities in an adult community.

Young athletes are considered leaders among their communities. Through the joint encounter in the world of sports, the project helped to build a community of athletes who take a message of tolerance and unity back to their communities.

IVLP Exchange Experience

Michael was a participant in the IVLP Project NGO Management, organized by the U.S. Department of State and Meridian International Center.

Michael's exchange experience led to the development of his IVLP Impact Award Project: "The trip to the U.S. as part of IVLP was a life-changing experience for me."

U.S. Communities Visited Virtually 

Little Rock, AR; Denver, CO; Washington, DC; Miami, FL; Atlanta, GA; St. Louis, MO; Buffalo, NY; Pittsburgh, PA; West Reading, PA

Country: Israel

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