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Center for the Study of the United States in Partnership with the Fulbright Program Established at TAU
Thursday, November 08, 2018 9:14:00 AM

Ambitious new center funded by the Fulbright Program is designed to enhance the quality of scholarship in Israel about U.S. politics, law, history, culture, media and more

The first center for the study of the United States in Israel will be inaugurated at Tel Aviv University today, Thursday, November 8, in a ceremony held at TAU's Lester and Sally Entin Faculty of Humanities.

The new multidisciplinary Center for the Study of the United States in Partnership with the Fulbright Program, supported by a three-year NIS 1 million (about $275,000) seed grant from the United States-Israel Educational Foundation (USIEF) and an additional NIS 1 million from TAU, seeks to "become a permanent and authoritative voice in Israel on all matters pertaining to U.S. history, politics and culture," according to the center's Fulbright proposal.

"Relations between the United States and Israel have never been better, never more important," says Terry Davidson, Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Israel and the U.S. Ambassador to Israel's representative to the USIEF. "Still, even the closest of allies can experience misunderstandings. We hope the Tel Aviv University Center will serve as a dynamic hub for Israelis to seek a deep understanding of America's complex society."

"The Center aims to produce cutting-edge research on politics, society, policymaking, the economy, foreign relations, the environment, culture, art, music and more in the United States," says Dr. Udi Sommer of TAU's School of Political Science and International Relations, a member of the center's executive board. "It will harness a range of online and face-to-face platforms to communicate new research to key decision makers and members of the media as well as to social and geographical periphery."

Upon winning the competitive USIEF grant, the Center's executive board in collaboration with its new director, Dr. Yoav Fromer of TAU's Gershon H. Gordon Faculty of Social Sciences, set to work establishing an extensive and rigorous academic program intended to "deepen the understanding of contemporary America, in all its diversity, among all sectors of Israeli society."

Every year, the program's research and outreach activities will revolve around a different central theme; immigration will be the focus of the 2018-19 academic year. While it falls under the auspices of TAU's Faculty of Social Sciences, the Center works closely with a range of stakeholders from across campus and will draw faculty and researchers from many different disciplines.

Additional members of the Center's executive board include Prof. Milette Shamir, Vice Dean of Humanities; Prof. Sigal Alon of the Faculty of Social Sciences; Prof. Michael Zakim of TAU's Department of History and Faculty of Law, and Dr. Yael Sternhell of the Department of History.

"Despite the special historical relationship between Israel and the United States, no formal research center in Israel has made this subject its focus until now," says Prof. Shamir. "The new Center is designed to address this need."

To cement its place as the leading institution for the study of the United States in Israel, the Center will host international conferences, symposia, workshops, national seminars and online activities led by world-renowned guest lecturers from Israel and abroad. The Center will also hold a yearlong seminar for Israeli academics active in the field of American studies, and will host prominent American scholars offering advanced courses, seminars and workshops for select TAU students.

"This is going to be a unique research center, combining scholars from a large number of disciplines devoted to exploring American history and culture, past and present," says Prof. Raanan Rein, Vice President of TAU. "As a leading research institute, TAU is proud to promote U.S. studies with an excellent group of scholars."

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