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The Jos Teaching. Scholarship. Public Policy.

The Joseph and Alma Gildenhorn

The Gildenhorn

Institute for Israel Studies University of Maryland

The Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies (GIIS), one of the nation’s newest and most important centers for Israel studies, is shaping pedagogy, thought and public policy about Israel. Located on the campus of the University of Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C., GIIS was created in response to three imperatives:

■ The need to offer university students a curriculum that is engaging, open to a variety of points of view, and insightful about the political, social and cultural challenges facing Israel ■ The need to promote innovative, provocative and unbiased scholarship which will help shape Israel’s future as a Jewish, democratic state ■ The need to enrich and influence public policy debates in Washington, D.C., nationally and globally

Study Abroad Trip to Tel Aviv, Israel

Teaching and Campus Life Critical to the university’s mission to create enlightened citizens of the world are opportunities for students to engage in open and balanced intellectual discussions that encourage the sharing of cultural perspectives and ideas. The institute partners with units on campus dedicated to the study of Israel and the larger Middle East region to open exciting, multifaceted study of the region past and present. GIIS works to foster an environment that is open, honest and inviting to everyone interested in the pursuit of knowledge ― and it is working. The institute provides thoughtful and penetrating courses that now attract more undergraduate students than any university in America. While the majority of our students are Jewish, we are proud that in most classes about a third to a half of our students are of other faiths.

Our debates in and out of the classroom are spirited and provocative because GIIS is committed to, and has achieved, a collegial atmosphere that enhances academic inquiry and creates pathways to reconciliation. Our approach to Israel studies has application to universities across America. The institute’s coursework has special resonance for Jewish students. Our leadership development course, for example, is playing a significant role in expanding students’ breadth of knowledge and shaping their attitudes and values as they prepare for positions of leadership in Jewish and communal life. The popularity of our undergraduate course offerings has led to the development of the Jack Kay program in advanced Israel studies for graduate students, which will launch in the 2012-2013 academic year.

Institute for Israel Studies


Prof. Shlomo Hasson, Hebrew University at Jerusalem, and Principal Investigator, Israel 2023 Project, and Prof. Yoram Peri – Washington D.C. Israel Seminar

GIIS sets itself apart from other university-based Israel studies centers because it is deeply committed to both academic and applied policy research. While there are a variety of top-notch Israel-centered research institutions in the Washington, D.C. area, all of them focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. GIIS is concerned about the conflict as well, but is interested in going beyond it. The Institute looks at the roots of the political, social and cultural phenomena that are at work in Israel today and attempts to anticipate how those forces will shape Israel’s domestic agenda and its policies toward the Palestinians in the years ahead.

social consequences of an increasingly consumer-oriented society; the deepening polarization between “haves” and “have-nots,” most recently manifested in the protest movement that brought 400,000 Israelis into the streets; the place of Palestinian Israelis in a Jewish, democratic Israel; and the potential for Russian Olim to reshape Israel’s political landscape.

GIIS is also concerned about the “other” Israel—the Israel about which headlines are rarely written, but which is central to its politics and culture. GIIS explores the tensions between religious and secular Jews; the

Finally, GIIS is proud that it has been appointed to undertake editorial direction for the prestigious journal of the Association for Israel Studies, the Israel Studies Review.

The GIIS research agenda is future oriented—“Israel 2023,” a signature research initiative. This project seeks to analyze scenarios regarding the forces that Israel can expect to face on its 75th birthday, and the steps that can be taken to accommodate those new realities.

Teaching. Scholarship. Public Policy.

Public Policy GIIS is a new player in the Washington, D.C. public policy arena, but it has quickly become a recognized, influential and trusted member of the community. GIIS brings its expertise to bear on areas of importance to American-Israeli policy, and seeks to: 1. Strengthen Israeli democracy 2. Foster the social, political and economic welfare of Israel 3. Secure a more open, collegial understanding of the tensions Israel faces both domestically and internationally

New York Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief, Ethan Bronner and Prof. Yoram Peri

GIIS in 2023

The institute was founded by a small cadre of American donors who recognized the need for an informed, unbiased, yet supportive understanding of Israel. Since its establishment it has excelled in providing that. Israel is an important player in international affairs and a major factor in American domestic politics. As such, there is a significant need for knowledgeable insight that can separate information from disinformation, truth from propaganda, and posturing from political leadership. GIIS is on the road to becoming a world class institution with the opportunity to train the next generation of Jewish leaders, and to build a research and public policy capacity that will have a global impact on thought and practice about the Middle East. Realizing this goal will require the generosity of donors across the country. Please join us in this vital undertaking.

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Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies

0140 Holzapfel Hall College Park, MD 20742 301.405.9413

In order to achieve these goals GIIS has developed an exciting program that has made it the destination for visiting policymakers, academics and journalists. GIIS participates in public education programs, seminars and conferences. Its members have been called upon to address think tanks, policy forums and government agencies. GIIS has become a trusted source of authority for diverse media outlets. Recent GIIS presenters include: Ethan Bronner, the New York Times correspondent in Israel; General (Ret.) Danny Rothschild; Shlomo Hassan, a distinguished Hebrew University scholar; Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren; Chief PLO representative to the United States Maen Rashid Areikat; and the distinguished Senior Fellow of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, David Makovsky. The institute is directed by Dr. Yoram Peri, the Abraham S. and Jack Kay Chair in Israel Studies. Dr. Peri is a former political adviser to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and an international scholar with the knowledge and vision to lead the Gildenhorn Institute’s continued growth and development.

The Joseph and Alma Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies  

2012 Patron's Brochure

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