News & Events Briefs
President's Award Winner
AU President Dr. Neil Kerwin presented Allison “Alli” Gold with the President’s Award at commencement exercises in May 2010. The President’s Award is the highest award presented to undergraduate students and is presented to the senior (or seniors) whose accomplishments over the course of his or her undergraduate years are truly exceptional and reflect the highest ideals of American University.
Ms. Gold is a magna cum laude graduate majoring in political science, with minors in Environmental Studies and Israel Studies. Her interests and interdisciplinary coursework led to an internship with the Environmental Protection Agency, travel to Israel’s Negev desert to study rainwater harvesting and wastewater management, and internships with the U.S. State Department and the Embassy of Israel. Her contributions on campus include serving as vice president of the Jewish Student Association, coordinating the Freshman Service Experience, and serving as a mentor and teacher in SPA’s Leadership Program. After graduation, Alli was awarded an Oakridge Fellowship at the Environmental Protection Agency and is working in the EPA Office of Water.
Conference: "Israel in a Time of Global Change"
May 17, 2010
American University’s Center for Israel Studies hosted the second annual academic conference cosponsored with The American Israeli Cooperative Enterprise (AICE), “Israel in a Time of Global Change.” The all-day conference featured twelve of Israel’s leading scholars, all part of AICE’s Visiting Israeli Scholars Program, who addressed topics such as
- “Complexities of Israeli Citizenship: The Jewish and Democratic Nature of the State”
- “Are Images from Israel ‘Jewish’?–A Filmmaker’s Perspective”
- “Maintaining Jewish Identity in an Era of Globalization.”
Download Program with schedule, speaker bios, registration info.
Reading and Discussion Group
Monday April 26, 2010, 7 p.m.
This scholar-led discussion of Israeli author Savyon Leibrecht's stories was part of the popular AU Library Reading and Discussion Group "Cartographies of Upheaval: Fiction About World Jewry in the Twentieth Century." The lecturer/moderator was Lauren Strauss and the series was cosponsored by The Center for Israel Studies and Jewish Studies program.
The Future of Human Rights in Israel
March 22, 4-6 pm
On March 22, from 4-6 p.m., the Washington College of Law hosted a roundtable discussion on the future of human rights in Israel in honor of the 25th anniversary of the US-Israel Civil Liberties Law Fellows Program. Spearheaded by CIS Faculty Advisor and WCL Professor Herman Schwartz, the Program has been instrumental in creating a human rights bar in Israel.
"Change in Israeli Politics: Why Has the Left Weakened? Are Ethnic Influences Growing – Russians, Arabs, Mizrahim?"
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Dr. Maurice Roumani, Seymour and Lillian Abensohn Visiting Professor of Israeli Studies, moderated a fascinating conversation about the current state of Israeli politics with panelists Dr. Yoram Peri, Kay Chair in Israel Studies, University of Maryland and Dr. Sammy Smooha, Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace. Dr. Peri spoke to the issue of the decline of the Labor Party. He said this decline is not a new phenomenon, but has been occurring since 1967, before which the right wing was irrelevant. Over time the Labor Party (which had been in existence even before the State) experienced a lack of innovation and inability to attract major ethnic and minority groups, in particular, Mizrahim, Russians and Millenials. Dr. Smooha spoke on the impact of minority groups on the political and social systems within the country, including the continuing social divide between Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews, and the situation of Israeli Arabs, whose parties have not been part of any governing coalition, creating a sense of disenfranchisement from the system. Following their discussion, the speakers held a lively question and answer session with the audience. Topics included whether the political system in Israel needs reform and where the various parties stand on the issue of the "democratic" and "Jewish" nature of the state.
The event was co-sponsored by the Center for Israel Studies, the School of International Service, and Middle East Studies @ AU.