Abraham Accord Country Faculty Coming to Brandeis University for Israel Studies Fellowship Program

For the first time since its inception in 2004, the Summer Institute for Israel Studies (SIIS), a faculty fellowship program that gives professors from around the world the foundation to teach about Israel, will host five participants from institutions in the Abraham Accord countries of Bahrain, Morocco, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In 2020, Israel and the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan signed the Abraham Accords, a series of historic agreements normalizing relations with Israel, ushering in an era of hope and new partnership. 

Trailblazers from North Africa & the Gulf States 

While the program has hosted participants from Muslim-majority countries before, this is the first time, thanks to a generous grant, that faculty from North African and Gulf State institutions will participate. These trailblazers teach at the National Defense College in the UAE, Cadi Ayyad University of Marrakech, and Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco, among others. Joining them at the program this summer are another 18 faculty members, who teach in colleges and universities in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. 

The knowledge they gain and the courses they develop during the program – a key component of the Institute – will infuse their teaching and scholarship with fresh ways of looking at Israel. They will then educate new generations of students with material founded in rigorous scholarship, rather than polemics, and their research and publications will enrich the comparatively young field of Israel studies. The Center hopes, in fostering these academic relationships, to contribute in some small measure to the vision of peace, understanding, and shared prosperity that the Abraham Accords seek to advance. 

“This is an historic moment for our famed Summer Institute. The faculty from Abraham Accord countries will become the future experts on Israel in their home institutions. They will also forge ties to our worldwide community of Schusterman Center scholars, including our active network of Summer Institute alumnI, that will prove highly beneficial not only to their own research and teaching but to the field of Israel studies as a whole.” 

— Schusterman Center director and University Professor Jonathan D. Sarna

And there are broader implications, too. “Opening the Summer Institute to fellows from Abraham Accord countries is a fantastic opportunity to connect Israel studies with the larger region, understanding Israel’s place in a rapidly changing Middle East,” explained Schusterman Center associate director Shayna Weiss. “This opportunity represents the best of what scholarship is—forging new connections between different peoples and producing knowledge that expands our understanding in ways previously unthinkable.” 

About the Institute 

The Summer Institute for Israel Studies is the flagship program of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University. Held annually, the Institute is dedicated to expanding Israel studies on a global scale, with a focus on nuance, complexity, and dispassionate scholarship. For 18 years, the program has been building a community of scholars who are integrating Israel Studies into the curricula of institutions around the world. To date, the program has trained nearly 350 faculty members from more than 245 institutions to teach about Israel at the college and university level. 

The 2022 Summer Institute fellows will be on the Brandeis campus June 29-July 10 for an intensive seminar, learning about Israel through a kaleidoscope of disciplines and perspectives, in sessions taught by world-class experts from Israel and the United States. Areas covered include Israel’s society, history, politics, environment, arts and culture, literature, diverse populations, foreign affairs, and diplomacy. The program will then continue in Israel, July 11-21, where fellows will meet with leading figures in public life, the academy, and the arts, including politicians and civil servants, writers, public intellectuals, and Jewish and Arab community leaders, as well as visit historical and cultural sites. During their Brandeis residency, each SIIS participant will design a course in Israel studies to teach upon returning home. Thus far, Institute alumni have developed and taught 1,520 courses about Israel to more than 33,774 students worldwide. 

About the Schusterman Center 

The Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University, founded in 2007, is dedicated to advancing knowledge and understanding of Israeli history, politics, culture and society. It is committed to creating and disseminating knowledge about the modern State of Israel, not just at Brandeis, but to a global audience. Find recordings of past events on the Center’s YouTube channel

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