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Recent News & Events
"FALL FOR FALAFEL" LUNCH CHAT SERIES FOR STUDENTS
October 14 - November 25, 2013
The Center for Israel Studies initiated a new series of informal falafel lunches for students to meet with American University professors and special guests to sit and chat about topics of interest concerning Israel and the wider Middle East. Discussion facilitators included Fall 2013 Israeli Society instructor Moran Stern, Michael Brenner, Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies, Israeli artist Tsibi Geva, and Dan Arbell, Israel Studies Scholar-in-Residence.
SEYMOUR AND LILLIAN ABENSOHN CHAIR IN ISRAEL STUDIES INAUGURAL LECTURE SERIES: THE FOUNDERS OF ISRAEL AND THEIR RELEVANCE TODAY
"Theodor Herzl: Charisma and Leadership" with Derek Penslar
September 9, 2013
Derek Penslar gave the first lecture in the series about Theodor Herzl to a standing room only crowd at the AU Museum Galleries. Penslar is the Samuel Zacks Professor of Jewish History at the University of Toronto and the Stanley Lewis Professor of Israel Studies at Oxford University. Author of several books about Israel, he is currently writing a biography of Theodor Herzl for Yale University Press' Jewish Lives series.
To watch the Penslar lecture, go to Derek Penslar "Theodor Herzl: Charisma and Leadership". (AUCollege YouTube page)
"Ben-Gurion: Leadership and the Shaping of History" with Anita Shapira
October 8, 2013
Anita Shapira continued the series with an engaging lecture to another standing room audience detailing Ben-Gurion's monumental impact on the establishment of the State of Israel and his "Golden Decade" spanning 1947-1957. Shapira is professor emerita of Tel Aviv University, senior fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute, and the founding director of the Yitzhak Rabin Center. She is the author of Israel: A History (Brandeis 2012) and is currently writing a biography of Ben-Gurion. She was awarded the prestigious Israel Prize in History in 2008.
To watch the Shapira lecture, go to Anita Shapira "Ben Gurion: Leadership and the Shaping of History" Part 1 - Lecture. (AUCollege YouTube page)
To watch the Shapira lecture Q&A, go to Anita Shapira "Ben Gurion: Leadership and the Shaping of History" Part 2 - Q&A. (AUCollege YouTube page)
"Chaim Weizmann: Statesman without a State" with Jehuda Reinharz
November 19, 2013
The series concluded with yet another capacity audience on hand in the AU Museum Galleries at the Katzen Arts Center to hear former Brandeis University president Jehuda Reinharz present the importance of Chaim Weizmann's efforts to the establishment of the State of Israel. The setting was particularly apropos with the audience surrounded by the works of Israeli artists Tzibi Geva. Reinharz is the President of the Mandel Foundation and served for seventeen years as President of Brandeis University, where he currently is the Richard Koret Professor of Modern Jewish History and Director of the Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry. Reinharz is presently finishing the third volume of his biography on Weizmann, the first two volumes of which has won numerous awards in Israel and the United States.
To find out more about the series, go to Inaugural Founders of Israel Lecture Series.
FILM SCREENING: THE OPTIMISTS
November 13, 2013
American University and the Embassy of Bulgaria presented a special screening of The Optimists: The Story of the Rescue of Bulgarian Jews from the Holocaust, with Her Excellency Elena Poptodorova, Bulgarian Ambassador to the United States, and the film's director, Jacky Comforty, to a capacity audience. The Optimists tells the dramatic story of how Bulgarian Christians and Moslems saved Bulgaria's 50,000 Jews during the Holocaust. It was presented at AU in commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the rescue. Michael Brenner, Seymour and Lillian Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies, moderated a post-film discussion with Amb. Poptodorova and Mr. Comforty before opening the floor to questions and comments from the audience. Guests conveyed personal stories of the rescue from both the perspectives of saviors and those saved. The evening concluded with a reception featuring Bulgarian treats graciously sponsored by the Embassy.
For more information about the event, go to AU Commemorates 70th Anniversary of the Rescue of Bulgaria's Jews.
To learn more about the film and its director, Jacky Comforty, go to TheOptimists.com.
HEARTBEAT AMPLIFIES VOICES AT AU
November 6, 2013
Heartbeat, featuring Jewish Israeli and Palestinian musicians performing side-by-side, kicked off its 2013 world tour with a concert in the atrium of American University's School of International Service. The unique performance interwove Eastern and Western music styles to amplify their message of cooperation, equality and respect. Besides the uplifting performance of their original music, the event featured the troupe of Heartbeat All-Stars sharing their experiences of growing up amidst the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The evening highlighted their creative effort to build a better future in the region and offered a unique window into the lives of these courageous young artists and the social enterprise which has brought them together. Co-sponsored by the Center for Israel Studies, School of International Service, International Peace and Conflict Resolution, Social Enterprise Program, Creative Peacebuilding Initiatives, AU Peace Corps, Arab Students Association, AU Students for Israel, and Social Enterprise Association.
To learn more about the concert, go to Heartbeat: Amplifying Israeli and Palestinian Voices.
For more information about the project, visit their website.
DONALD ROTHFELD COLLECTION OF CONTEMPORARY ISRAELI ART
September 3 - October 20, 2013
The first exhibition of Donald Rothfeld's extraordinary girt of Israeli art to the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center in honor of HE Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, this 161-piece collection co-sponsored by the AU Museum chronicles Israel's history and includes the work of numerous prominent and emerging Israeli artists including Uri Aran, Yael Bartana, Tsibi Geva, Moshe Kupferman, Siglat Landau, Elad Lassry, and Michal Rovner. The exhibition was officially kicked off with an artists' reception attended by the ambassador on Saturday, September 7, 2013 and a gallery talk with Donald Rothfeld on Sunday, September 8, 2013. The exhibition closed with a panel discussion and guided tour during AU's All-American Weekend on Saturday, October 19, 2013. The discussion featured Donald Rothfeld, Yael Reinharz, Executive Director of Artis, and John Rasmussen, Director of the AU Art Gallery and its curator, and was then followed by a guided tour led by Rothfeld. To learn more about the exhibition, go to First Showing of the Rothfeld Collection at the AU Museum.
ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES TRANSCEND BORDERS: WATER, ENERGY AND GAS IN ISRAEL AND THE MIDDLE EAST
September 26, 2013
Dr. Arie Nesher, Director of the Porter School of Environmental Studies at Tel Aviv University, presented a lecture on Middle East environmental issues followed by a lively discussion with audience members. Co-sponsored by AU's Center for Environmental Policy at the School of Public Affairs.
ALON GOLDSTEIN IN CONCERT
September 22, 2013
Renowned Israeli pianist Alon Goldstein performed a program including works by Beethoven, Liszt, Bach and Schubert in the American University Museum galleries at the Katzen Arts Center to a standing room only audience. The program was presented in conjunction with the exhibition, Donald Rothfeld Collection in honor of HE Ambassador Michael Oren, by the Center for Israel Studies and the AU Museum, with support from the Department of Music, America Israel Cultural Foundation and Embassy of Israel.
MEET THE PRESS WITH
NBC'S DAVID GREGORY & ISRAELI AMBASSADOR MICHAEL OREN:
"Is JFK's 1963 Strategy of Peace Applicable to the Middle East Today?"
April 29, 2013
The Center for Israel Studies and School of International Service welcomed NBC's David Gregory SIS/BA '92 and Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren to discuss "Is JFK's 1963 Strategy of Peace Applicable to the Middle East Today?" This event was part of the university's celebration of JFK's "Strategy of Peace" speech at American University, one of the most important foreign policy speeches ever given by a U.S. president. To find out more about JFK's speech, and other commemorative activities, go to Is a 'Strategy of Peace' Possible in the Middle East?
To watch the video recording of the event, go to "Meet the Press" at SIS with host David Gregory: Part 1. (American University Vimeo page)
GERMANS & AMERICAN IN ISRAEL — ISRAELIS IN GERMANY & THE U.S.
April 4, 2013
The Center for Israel Studies hosted the third Junior Scholars Conference on German-Jewish History. Co-sponsors: German Historical Institute Washington, the Wissenschaftliche Arbeitsgemeinschaft des Leo Baeck Instituts, the Seymour and Lillian Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies at American University, and the Institute for the History of the German Jews, Hamburg (Stefan Hördler, Michael Brenner, Miriam Ruerup). Fostering a new generation of scholars, the conference brought together a transatlantic group of postdocs and PhD students in their final phase in an intense two-day workshop. Keynote address by New York Times investigative reporter Eric Lichtblau on "The Flight of the Nazis to America." For more information, see conference program.
THE INVISIBLE MEN FILM SCREENING AND DISCUSSION
March 20, 2013
AU presented a film screening of The Invisible Men, followed by a discussion with director Yariv Mozer. The Invisible Men tells the untold story of persecuted gay Palestinians who have run away from their families and are now hiding illegally in Tel Aviv.
ISRAEL STUDIES AND JEWISH STUDIES IN AMERICA
March 3, 2013
CIS hosted an academic conference on the relationship between Israel Studies and Jewish Studies at American universities; cosponsored by American University's Center for Israel Studies and Jewish Studies Program, Israel Institute and Ludwig-Maximilian University. The conference was supported by the Bender Foundation in memory of Sondra D. Bender.
Please see also:
Keynote Video: Leon Wieseltier, Literary Editor of the New Republic
News Article: Scholars Discuss Evolving Israel Studies Programs
"MAD SIREN" DANCE PERFORMANCE AND DISCUSSION
February 21, 2013
Israeli choreographer Idan Cohen brought his dance company to AU to perform excerpts of his latest work, Mad Siren, set to W.A. Mozart's solo piano sonatas. Idan discussed the influences in this latest work with Pamela Squires, Washington Post dance critic. Mad Siren raises questions about "immigration, personal and collective history and the nature of fear and lack of understanding towards what is different. Sponsored by Bender Foundation in memory of Sondra D. Bender and co-sponsored by Embassy of Israel.
CONTRASTING SECULAR & RELIGIOUS AGENDA TERROR: FROM CHE GUEVARA TO OSAMA BIN LADEN
February 4, 2013
Lecture by Jonathan Fine, IDC (The Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, Israel). Dr. Fine discussed the contrasts between the secular violent political agenda, which characterized guerilla and terrorist activities between 1945-1979, and the religious political agenda which started to dominate the international arena since the Islamic revolution in Iran, followed by the growing activities and influence of radical political religious groups in Judaism Christianity and Islam since the early 80's.
ISRAELI POST-ELECTION ANALYSIS: SO WHAT'S NEW?
January 29, 2013
Standing room-only lecture and discussion on Israel's recent elections with Nathan Sachs , Foreign Policy Fellow, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, Brookings Institution and Hilary Krieger, Washington Bureau Chief, The Jerusalem Post. Moderated by SIS Dean James Goldgeier.
Event co-sponsored by: Center for Israel Studies, School of International Service, School of Public Affairs and student groups AU Students for Israel and Christians United for Israel.
ISRAEL: BUILDING A SHARED SOCIETY
January 27, 2013
Conference on Israeli Arab Issues hosted by Center for Israel Studies and cosponsored by Washington Forum on Israeli Arab issues. Featured speakers included Dr. Alean Al-Krenawi, president, Achva Academic College; Forsan Hussein, CEO, Jerusalem International YMCA; Shuruk Ismail, Yad Hanadiv (the Rothschild Foundation); Prof. Elie Rekhess, Northwestern University; and Dr. Sigal Shelach, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Workshops included "Public and Private Efforts Towards Economic Parity", "Arab Mobility and The Glass Ceiling", and"Education for Shared Living".
THE ISRAEL SOCIAL PROTEST MOVEMENT: FROM THE TENTS ON ROTHSCHILD TO THE 2013 ELECTION
January 16, 2013
Lecture and discussion with Boaz Goan: Israeli playwright, journalist, and political activist. Cosponsored by American University Center for Israel Studies; American Jewish Committee, Washington Regional Office; Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and Theatre J.
Israel and the New Middle East
November 27, 2012
See video: Lecture by Dr. Dan Schueftan
The dramatic changes in the Middle East present Israel with an unprecedented regional challenge. The relations with the most important countries in the region—Turkey, Iran and Egypt—have moved in a negative direction, and the "Arab Street" has become more influential. How will Israel face this challenge?
Dr. Dan Schueftan is Director of the National Security Studies Center at University of Haifa and Aaron & Cecile Goldman Visiting Professor, Dept. of Government, Georgetown University. Scheuftan previously served as an advisor to Israel's National Security Council and to former Israeli Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Ariel Sharon. He is the author of several books on contemporary Middle Eastern history.
Ambassador Dennis Ross and U.S. Policy in the Middle East during the Second Obama Administration
November 26, 2012
A standing room only crowd attended SIS Dean James Goldgeier's discussion with Ambassador Dennis Ross on US Policy in the Middle East in the next U.S. administration. Ambassador Dennis Ross is the Ziegler Distinguished fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Ross served as a counselor from 2001-2009 and rejoined the Institute in December 2011 after serving two years as special assistant to President Obama as well as National Security Council senior director for the Central Region, and a year as special advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, focusing on Iran. For more than twelve years, Ambassador Ross played a leading role in shaping U.S. involvement in the Middle East peace process and dealing directly with the parties in negotiations. Ambassador Ross serves on the SIS Dean's Council. Sponsored by the School of International Service and Center for Israel Studies
Please see also:
Ambassador Ross: Big changes on horizon in Middle East (recap article)
Video: Ross & Goldgeier
Israel, Iran, and the Bomb
November 12, 2012
See videos: Panel Discussion and Questions & Answer
Does Iran actually aim at developing nuclear weapons? Are Israel or the United States likely to strike Iran militarily and what are the potential results of such a strike? Are there alternatives to a military strike? Could a nuclear Iran be contained or deterred? And what are the long-term prospects for a nuclear free Middle East? This panel of experts, moderated by SIS Dean James Goldgeier, provided a spectrum of perspectives on the topic and cleared some of the "fog of war" that surrounds this increasingly threatening situation. Sponsored by International Politics Program (SIS) and The Center for Israel Studies.
Nordau to Nasdaq: "IT Innovators" lecture by Roni Einav
October 15, 2012
Lecture by Roni Einarv (Israeli Hi-Tech Entrepreneur), author of Nordau to NASDAQ: The Evolution of an Israeli High-Tech Start-up. Co-sponsored by CIS and Kogod School of Business.
"A View from Inside: Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations"
October 11, 2012
Lecture by Ghaith al-Omari, Executive Director of the American Task Force on Palestine. Sponsored by American University Negotiation Project and cosponsored by CIS.
Erev Shel Shoshanim: Moshe Dor's Israel in Poetry and Song
September 13, 2012
A celebration of Israel's creative spirit through the work of Moshe Dor, one of Israel's foremost literary figures. The evening featured readings of his poetry in Hebrew and in English translation as well as choral performances of his poems, including the most well-known — Erev Shel Shoshanim — by the AU Chamber Singers. A new choral setting of three of Dor's new poems by composer Fernando Benadon of American University received its world premiere on this occasion, and was commissioned by the AU Chamber Singers and Center for Israel Studies. Dor's poems are accessible to American audiences through the artful translations of poet Barbara Goldberg (AU MFA 1985). Dor began his collaboration with Ms. Goldberg when he was distinguished writer in residence at American University in 1986. The evening featured readings from Dor's most recent work in English translation, Scorched By the Sun, translated by Goldberg. Co-sponsored by Center for Israel Studies (CIS), AU Performing Arts Department, AU Literature Department, AU Speigler Endowment, Embassy of Israel, and The Word Works.
To see a video interview with Moshe Dor, go to Interview with Moshe Dor on the occasion of "Erev Shel Shoshanim" at American University.
To learn more about the program, go to Celebrating an Israeli Literary Giant.
Friday, March 21
College of Arts & Sciences Graduate Studies Day
American University’s Center for Israel Studies marks its 15th anniversary.
Israeli-Palestinian group HEARTBEAT performs in SIS Atrium November 6, 2013.
AU undergrad Madeline Ullrich researched the Holocaust during summer internship.
Yediaut, the newletter from the Center for Israel Studies and the Jewish Studies Program.
CIS Video Features
See recent event videos featuring Michael Oren, Dennis Ross, Leon Wieseltier, and more.
iTunesU Archived Event Podcasts & Video
See our podcasts and videos on iTunesU.
Greener, Cleaner, Better: Greentech Conference
Archives from Greener, Cleaner, Better: Israeli Innovation in Greentech, including Michael Granoff keynote video and more.
AU Museum Receives Contemporary Israeli Art
The Rothfeld Collection of Contemporary Israeli Art chronicles Israel’s history, includes prominent artists’ works.