Please find recent events with recaps and photos below. For all upcoming events, please see our Facebook Events page.
Recent Event Highlights
On September 2, 2020, Michael Brenner, Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies at American University, moderated an expert discussion on the complex definitions of "blackness" in Israel.
November 10-11, 2019
CIS hosted an international conference on refugees and asylum seekers in Israel. The conference examined the different groups of mostly non-Jewish immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers by assembling the leading academic experts in the field, as well as activists and the voices of refugees themselves. The conference was made possible through the assistance of the Jewish Studies Program, the Knapp Family Foundation and American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
October 28-29, 2018
This conference focused on the Israeli diaspora from New York to Nairobi and from Berlin to Mumbai, Israelis around the world, and featured a panel of speakers that included Israel studies scholars, authors, diplomats, and philanthropists. Panelists included: Gur Alroey, Maya Arad, Dan Arbell, Dan Ben-David, Michael Brenner, Erran Carmel, Roni Floman, Calvin Goldsheider, Lilach Lev-Ari, Pamela Nadell, Ruby Namdar, Shelly Oria, Uzi Rebhun, Shira Ruderman, Randa Serhan, Natalie Shammay, Maina Chawla Singh, Lauren Strauss, Elad Strohmayer, Ronit Gudes Totah, Ori Yehudai, and Guy Ziv.
View photos from Israel Abroad.
February 11, 2018
One fifth of Israel's population are Arab citizens. While they share Arab language and culture, they are a very heterogeneous population. Some are Muslims, while others are Christians; some are Bedouins, and others are Druze. Some live in exclusively Arab towns and villages, while others reside in mixed cities such as Haifa and Akko. Most are Israeli citizens, but many residents of Jerusalem are not. Some regard themselves as Israeli Arabs, others call themselves Palestinian citizens of Israel. This conference brought together an expert group of scholars and activists, who spoke on the changing agendas and aspirations of this diverse population. It shed light on existing projects for Jewish-Arab cooperation in Israel and on initiatives for a common future.The conference was co-sponsored by the Center for Israel Studies, Arab World Studies Program, Washington College of Law Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law and Greater Washington Forum on Israeli Arab Issues.
View photos from The Arab Population in Israel 1948 to Today.
November 12-13, 2017
Renowned Israeli chefs and scholars gathered for a day-long conference of passionate discussion surrounding the dynamic world of Israeli cuisine and culture. The conference explored the intersection of Israeli cuisine and society through the lens of history, demographic changes, and the integration of various cultures into the nation. The conference featured scholars in the fields of food studies, cultural studies, and anthropology, in tandem with chefs, writers, and historians. Featured on JTA and i24 news.
View Israeli Cuisine as a Reflection of Israeli Society photos.
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Through a series of four expert panels, the all day conference explored cutting-edge U.S.-Israel cyberpolicy issues involving national security, crime, human rights, and the digital economy. Topics included active cyber military operations, internet freedom, cybertheft, and technological capabilities. Each panel explored the responsibilities of various governmental agencies as well as the roles of the private sector and the public in each country.
Co-sponsored by American University in partnership with American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Additional co-sponsors: Maryland/Israel Development Center, Internet Society Washington DC Chapter, and Future of Privacy Forum. Support provided by Bender Foundation in memory of Sondra D. and Howard Bender.
View Event Keynote Video.
View Event Keynote Photo Album.
View Morning Video.
Cybersecurity and Human Rights (Beginning of video to 1:42:20)
The Cybersecurity Industry (1:42:50 to end of video)
View Afternoon Video.
Cybertheft Prevention and Response (Beginning of video to 1:27:28)
Cyber Security and National Security Policies-the U.S. and Israel (1:27:29 to end of video)
Thursday, October 27, 2016
This international conference brought together leading scholars, artists, writers, and activists, who discussed what the kibbutz meant for the shaping of Israel, how it entered its existential crisis, and the forces behind its contemporary renewal. The conference culminated with a screening of Children of the Sun, an award-winning film about the kibbutz and a panel discussion which included the film's director, Ran Tal, and Israeli writer Yael Neeman. Co-sponsored by the Center for Israel Studies, Jewish Studies Program and Department of History.
Latvian Ambassador Māris Selga hosted diplomats from Latvia and Israel and AU for a diplomatic discussion at the beautiful Latvian Embassy. In one of the evening’s highlights, Ambassador Ilgvars Klava, Director General of the Bilateral Relations Directorate of the Latvian Foreign Ministry, gave a fascinating history of Latvian-Israel relations. He also discussed the importance of bilateral relations as well as multilateral relations, like with NATO. Students enjoyed a delicious Latvian supper after the discussion.
His Excellency Martin Weiss. Austrian Ambassador to the United States, welcomed AU students, faculty, and Friends of the Center for Israel Studies to the Austrian Embassy for a discussion of Austria-Israel Relations, "From the Birth of Zionism to Present Day." Participating in the discussion were Israel’s Deputy Ambassador to the United States, Benjamin Krasna and CIS director Michael Brenner.
February 26, 2019
H.E. Martin Dahinden, the Ambassador of Switzerland to the United States, Simon Geissbühler, Deputy Ambassador of Switzerland to the United States, and Tammy Ben-Haim, Minister of Public Diplomacy at the Embassy of Israel discussed a long history of Israel-Switzerland relations. After an incredible panel, our distinguished guests joined the students in light conversation over a delicious dinner featuring Swiss-Israeli fusion cuisines.
November 14, 2018
This discussion on Israel-Japanese relations in trade, technology, and counter-terrorism was hosted at the Embassy of Japan with Deputy Ambassador of Japan to the United States Kazutoshi Aikawa, Minister of Public Diplomacy at Embassy of Israel Tammy Ben-Haim, AU Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies Michael Brenner, and Former Deputy Ambassador of the Embassy of Israel-Tokyo, AU Professor Dan Arbell.
Israelis in Africa: "The Kenya-Israel Connection"
October 29, 2018
The first Global Israel series event of the fall 2018 semester, this discussion on the Israeli diapsora in Africa, and in particular, the Kenya-Israel connection, was hosted at the Embassy of the African Union with Embassy of Kenya's Deputy Ambassador David Kahiro Gacheru, Embassy of Israel's Political Counselor Einat Weiss, and Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies Professor Michael Brenner. We were welcomed by Policy Officer at the Mission to the African Union Seraphine Manirambona.
View photos of Israelis in Africa.
October 19, 2017
Ambassador Leonidas Pantelides welcomed AU students for a discussion on Israel-Cyprus relations with Einat Weiss,Poltiical Officer, Embassy of Israel and Professor Dan Arbell, former Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Israel.
Rerad a student reflection: Israeli-Cypriot Relations: A Special and Strategic Relationship that Transcends Time
March 22, 2018
H.E. George Cristian Maior, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary welcomed AU Students to the beautiful Romanian Embassy to learn about Romanian-Israeli relations, including the long history of Jews in Romania, and the many Romanian Jewish immigrants who have played important roles in Israel. Joining Ambassador Maior was Reuven Azar, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Israel and Michael Brenner, Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies.
September 13, 2017
H.E. Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao, Ambassador of the African Union Mission to the United States, welcomed AU students, alumni and faculty for a discussion on past and present Israel-Africa relations. Joining Ambassador Chihombori-Quao was Ambassador Frederic Hegbe of Togo and Reuven Azar, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Israeli Embassy. The African Union represents all 55 countries on the African continent.
View Togo Photo Album.
December 6, 2016
The Embassy of Italy hosted a diplomatic discussion on December 6 highlighting the long history between Italy and Israel.
View Italy Photo Album.
Screening of "Germans and Jews"
November 28, 2016
First we screened the film "Germans and Jews" which was about the way Germany has dealt with the subject of the Holocaust. Then Stefan Buchwald, Director of the Embassy's German Information Center USA, led a discussion with the film-makers, Tal Recanati & Janina Quint, and Michael Brenner, Director of the AU Center for Israel Studies.
November 7, 2016
Peter Zelenak, Deputy Head of Mission of the Slovak Republic to the United States, welcomed AU students, faculty and invited Friends of the Center for Israel Studies for a discussion on past and present Israel-European relations. Deputy Ambassador Zelenak was joined by diplomats from the Czech Republic and Israeli embassies. This discussion at the Embassy of Slovakia is part of the ongoing "Global Israel" series of events at area embassies, focusing 2016-17 on Israel's relations with European nations. Slovakia currently holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union.
View Slovakia Photo Album.
February 29, 2016
The Global Israel event at the Embassy of India highlighted the growing relationship between Israel and India, with a focus on their partnerships and positions of technological and cybersecurity world centers. AU Professor Maina Singh offered an interesting perspective on the relationship as she discussed her recent research. She talked about how Israeli students are experiencing and influencing Indian culture as they backpack the country after their required military service. Students and AU community members were treated to an authentic Indian dinner following the discussion and Q&A.
View India Photo Album.
October 8, 2015
The Ethiopian Embassy hosts AU students for a wonderful discussion. In this event, Pnina Agenyahu, senior shlicha at the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, described her personal journey from Ethiopia to Israel and the life of Ethiopians in Israel, past and present.
View Ethiopia Photo Album.
September 9, 2015
The Embassy of Uruguay welcomed a full crowd for this exciting event - the first in our new Global Israel series! Ambassador Gianelli hosted AU students for "empanadas and conversation" about historic Israel-Uruguay partnership at Embassy of Uruguay.
View Uruguay Photo Album.
The Black Lives Matter Movement has become a vocal force of social justice in the US in the last few years. While blackness has different meanings in Israel than in the US, the Jewish state too has witnessed street protests against discrimination and police violence against black Israelis. Michael Brenner, Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies at American University, moderated an expert discussion on the complex definitions of "blackness" in Israel and on the blurring of color lines in a highly diverse society. The panel included Professor Uri Dorchin (University of Colorado/Ben-Gurion University of the Negev) and Ethiopian-Israeli activists Pnina Agenyahu and Ashager Araro.
April 10, 2019
Following the Israeli elections on April 9, CIS hosted a discussion on the election results. Professors Michael Brenner (Dept. of History, Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies), Guy Ziv (SIS) and Morad El Sana (Anthropology) discussed the implications of the April 9 Israeli elections in forming the next government of Israel. Co-sponsored by CIS and AU Hillel.
September 27, 2018
A panel discussion with Arie Dubnov, Max Ticktin (George Washington University Chair of Israel Studies), and Professor Mohammed Wattad (Zefat Academic College Dean of Law) was moderated by AU Professor Lauren Strauss. Co-sponsored by AU CIS, Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies, UMD; Greater Washington Forum on Israeli Arab Issues, and the Washington Hebrew Congregation.
March 26, 2018
Joined by the Mohamed Said Farsi Chair for Islamic Peace, CIS hosted this panel discussion which featured previous negotiators, advisers and participants who played influential roles in the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process including, Ghaith al-Omari, Leila Hilal, William B. Quandt and Itamar Rabinovich. This discussion was moderated by SIS Associate Professor Dr. Anthony Wanis-St. John, and hosted by SIS Professor and Farsi Chair Elizabeth F. Thompson, CIS Director Michael Brenner, and Chairs in Israel Studies Seymour and Lillian Abensohn. Co-Sponsored byMiddle East Studies@AU, Arab World Studies, SIS International Peace and Conflict Resolution Program, AU Negotiation Project and AU International Relations Society.
September 27, 2017
Journalists and authors Laura Blumenfeld and Samuel G. Freedman discussed diaspora Jews and Israel in the era of President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The discussion was moderated by Professor Pamela Nadell.
View photos from the Trump-Netanyahu event.
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Six Days in June 1967 changed the very essence of the Jewish state. Israel emerged with a territory three times as big as before the war. It controlled the holy Jewish sites in Jerusalem and Hebron, but also a substantial Palestinian population. While it was a military and religious triumph for some, other claimed that Israel lost the war on the seventh day, when it decided not to return from a significant part of the newly conquered territories.
A panel of experts discussed the long term implications of the war for Israel. CIS director Michael Brenner moderated the discussion with Alon Confino (University of Virginia/Ben-Gurion University), Arie Dubnov (George Washington University), Yoav Gelber (American University/IDC Herzliya), Benny Morris (Ben Gurion University/Georgetown University), Yoram Peri (University of Maryland) and Tamara Wittes (Brookings Institution).
November 14, 2016
The AU Center for Israel Studies (CIS), School of International Service (SIS), and the Kennedy Political Union (KPU) were proud to host a roundtable discussion on the legacy of former Israeli President, Prime Minister, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Shimon Peres, who passed away on September 28th. Peres, Israel's elder statesman, and a champion of Arab-Israeli peacemaking, inaugurated CIS in 1998. The discussion featured form Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer, and SIS Professor Guy Ziv, author of Why Hawks Become Doves: Shimon Peres and Foreign Policy Change in Israel.
September 22, 2016
Panel discussion on the changing relationship between U.S. Jews and Israel which featured
- Dov Waxman (Northeaster), author of Trouble in the Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict over Israel
- Michael Barnett (GWU), author of The Star and the Stripes: A History of the Foreign Policies of American Jews
- Yaron Gamburg, Minister of Public Diplomacy at the Embassy of Israel
Moderated by Pamela Nadell, Director of Jewish Studies Program. Co-sponsored by Jewish Studies Program and School of Public Affairs. A book-signing followed the discussion.
View Family Feuds photo album.
Students from the SIS Summer 2019 Graduate Practicum, “Environmental Peacebuilding in the Middle East,” presented their research findings with faculty advisors Dr. Eric Abitbol and Dr. Ken Conca, in a presentation entitled "Water-Food-Energy Nexus Cooperation and Peacebuilding in the Middle East." The team evaluated a date farming joint project between Israelis and Palestinians organized by the Palestinian Wastewater Engineers Group and the Arava Institute. The practicum team included Dana Albalboul, Drew Brewer, Tess Dornfeld, Nathan Erwin, Aleah Holt, Miranda Laurion, Kelcey Negus, Kyla Peterson, Clara Summers, Hannah Taysod and Kamil William. The Center of Israel Studies, the SIS Global Environmental Politics program, SIS, Universalia, Arava Institute, Palestinian Wastewater Engineers Group, and the Office of International Study at American University all co-sponsored this program.
November 12, 2018
The SIS Summer 2018 Graduate Practicum, “Environmental Peacebuilding in the Middle East,” presented their research findings with faculty advisors Dr. Eric Abitbol and Dr. Ken Conca. Seven members of the practicum team––Ann Williamson, Gloria Schultz, Jia Jiameizi, Maggie Burns, Michael Band, Milad Abraham, and Rita Kirkpatrick––reported on the joint project between the Palestinian Wastewater Engineers Group and the Arava Institute in using date farming to improve relations between Israelis and Palestinians. The Center of Israel Studies, the Global Environmental Policy program, and the Office of International Study at American University all co-sponsored this program.
September 12, 2016
Students from the 2016 SIS Summer graduate practicum, "Finding Cooperation Amid Conflict: Israeli-Palestinian Water-Energy-Food Cooperation in the Middle East," presented their research along with their AU faculty advisors, Dr. Eric Abitbol and Dr. Ken Conca. Co-sponsored by the School of International Service Global Environmental Politics Program.
March 26, 2019
Former Member of Knesset Einat Wilf offered remarks about women in Israel and discussed women and politics in Israel today with Tamara Wittes (Brookings Institution). Co-sponsored by CIS and Women & Politics Institute, SPA.
December 3, 2018
Meir Shalev discussed the sustainability of the revival of the Hebrew language. Shalev is one of Israel's best known novelists and a columnist for Yediot Ahronot, Israel's most popular newspaper. Co-sponsored by the Center for Israel Studies and the Department of Literature.
March 1, 2018
Shifting power dynamics in the Middle East have left the region looking vastly different then it did only 10 years ago. Some experts have argued that the growing strength of Iran has pushed the Gulf States to form an unofficial strategic relationship with an unlikely ally: Israel. Former US Treasury Attache to Qatar and Kuwat Michael Greenwald joined us for a discussion on the past, present and future of Israel's diplomatic relationship with the Gulf States.
View Gulf States Photo Album.
Monday, January 22, 2018
Appointed by President Barack Obama, Daniel Shapiro served as the United States Ambassador to Israel from July 2011 until the end of the Obama Administration. As Ambassador, Shapiro won praise from leaders of both countries for his deft management of the U.S.-Israel relationship. Among Shapiro's major contributions were negotiating the $38 billion Memorandum of Understanding for U.S. military aid to Israel, unprecedented public outreach in fluent Hebrew to Israel's diverse communities, and 40 percent growth in U.S.-Israel trade. Shapiro's time as the Ambassador to Israel followed a diverse career of ove3r 20 years in senior foreign policy and national security positions in the United States Government.
View Daniel Shapiro Photo Album.
Monday, March 6, 2017
Former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe "Bogie" Ya'alon delivered this year's Amos Perlmutter Memorial lecture, sponsored by CIS and the School of Public Affairs.
This was Moshe Ya'alon's first public talk since he formally announced that he will be forming a new political party and seeking the position of Prime Minister of Israel in Tel Aviv.
February 19, 2020
Deborah E. Lipstadt, Historian and Emory University's Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies, spoke about "Israel: A Lightning Rod for Antisemitism" on Feb. 19 at American University. The talk was part of the Bishop C.C. McCabe Lecture series in the College of Arts and Sciences and the lecture was co-sponsored by the Center for Israel Studies and Jewish Studies Department.
February 6, 2020
Dennis Ross and David Makovsky gave the Amos Perlmutter Memorial Lecture on their recent book, Be Strong and Of Good Courage: How Israel's Most Important Leaders Shaped its Destiny. Michael Brenner, Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies, moderated the conversation on Israel's defining generation of leaders, their character, and their judgments in the face of national peril, and implications for today’s leaders. The talk was followed by an audience Q&A and book-signing reception. The annual lecture is in memory of School of Public Affairs (SPA) Professor Amos Perlmutter, who taught at the University for nearly thirty years, and was a world renowned scholar of political leadership in the Middle East.
Watch the Amos Perlmutter Memorial Lecture video.
October 15, 2019
Tom Segev, Israel historian and author, discussed his new biography of David Ben-Gurion, highlighting the history of Zionism and Israel. Segev is one of Israel’s most established journalists with several books in the New York Times’ Best Books of the Year lists.
September 10, 2019
Etgar Keret, internationally acclaimed Israeli author, storyteller, and filmmaker, read from his newest book, Fly Already, and discussed the critical role of writers in Israeli society today. Keret’s work has been published in 46 countries and translated into 41 languages. Co-sponsored by Center for Israel Studies, Department of Literature and Jewish Studies Program.
March 19, 2019
Author Francine Klagsbrun discussed Golda Meir and her legacy. Klagsbrun’s book, Lioness: Golda Meir and the Nation of Israel, a biography of the fourth prime minister of Israel, won the Jewish National Book Award’s “2017 Book of the Year Award.” Moderated by Pamela Nadell, Patrick Clendenen Chair in Women’s and Gender History. Co-sponsored by School of Public Affairs, CIS and Jewish Studies Program.
February 6, 2019
Bulgarian Ambassador Tihomir Stoytchev presented the "Valentin Krustev Award for Translation" to renowned DC poet and translator, Barbara Goldberg, for her translations of Israeli poetry. Ms. Goldberg read from her translations of 50 Israeli poets on the subject of love and war. The award was presented by the William Meredith Foundation in conjunction with Nancy at Ninety: A Retrospective of Form and Color, an exhibition of work by DC-based sculptor Nancy Frankel.
October 23, 2018
Authors Boaz Atzili (AU) and Wendy Pearlman (Northwestern University) spoke about their new book, Triadic Coercion: Israel’s Targeting of States That Host Nonstate Actors, which explores the phenomenon of states targeting other states that host belligerent nonstate actors in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Discussants were Bruce Hoffman (Georgetown) and Sibley Telhami (UMD, Brookings).
October 18, 2018
David Rosenberg, Haaretz business editor, discussed his new book, Israel’s Technology Economy: Origins and Impact, which uses start-up companies as lens to understand the way Israel’s unique history, political system, and economy have contributed to Israel being one of the world’s leading centers of high technology.
April 10, 2018
Michael Brenner, Seymour and Lillian Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies, discussed his new book, In Search of Israel: The History of an Idea with Arie Dubnov, Max Ticktin Chair of Israel Studies at George Washington University.
View In Search of Israel photo album.
Thursday, February 23, 2017
Our Sondra D. and Howard Bender Israeli Writer Series on "The New Generation of Israeli Writers" continued with a discussion with acclaimed writer Assaf Gavron. Gavron's most recent book, The Hilltop addresses the reality in the West Bank, including violence, greed, lust for power and the blurring of values, but also a burning ideological passion. The book was a bestseller and won major awards in Israel, applauded by both sides of the political spectrum. A book-signing and dessert reception followed the discussion.
Tuesday, September 6, 2016
Alon Tal, a leading academic and veteran Israeli environmental activist, discussed his new book, The Land is Full: Addressing Overpopulation in Israel. Tal discussed the ramification of Israel's extraordinary population increase, including burgeoning pollution, dwindling natural resources, overburdened infrastructure, and overcrowding. Co-sponsored by American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Book signing reception followed the discussion.
March 28, 2019
Attendees gave Shesh Besh a standing ovation at their performance at American University. Shesh Besh, the Arab-Jewish Ensemble of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, brings together Jewish musicians of the first ranks of the orchestra with the finest Arab musicians in Israel. Co-sponsoring the concert with CIS were the AU Music Program and The Greater Washington Forum on Israeli Arab Issues. Co-sponsored by CIS and the Department of Performing Arts. Shesh Besh appeared through PMI, Performance Music International. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Naomi and Nehemiah Cohen Foundation for this Shesh Besh performance and AU student music workshop on 3/27.
March 28, 2019
This interactive tech pop-up event featured early-stage Israeli companies exhibiting innovative products and technologies. Students networked with founders and CEOs, explored internship and employment opportunities with hot startups, and received free LinkedIn headshots.
August 27, 2019
Partnered with AMC Mazza Gallerie and AU's Academic Learning Communities office, CIS presented a private screening of MGM's film, Operation Finale.
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Dani Menkin, author, filmmaker, and two time Israeli Academy Award winner showed clips and spoke about the process of writing and creating his newest documentary. On The Map, the uplifting, inspiring, and true story of Maccabi Tel Aviv's 1977 European Championship. The film recounts how Israeli basketball team gave hope to a nation in time when Israel was still suffering the heartache of the 1972 hijacking of an Air France flight from Tel Aviv. Dani Menkin was the first speaker in the Sondra D. and Howard Bender Israeli Writing Series, which focused on the "New Generation of Israeli Writers." This event was co-sponsored by the School of Communication's Media That Matters series and Center for Media and Social Impact.
View On the Map Photo Album.