Jewish Studies Program to Host Its Largest Conference

MSU’s Jewish Studies Program is sponsoring its largest academic conference to date, titled “Israel at 70: Complexity, Challenge, and Creativity,” to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel and reflect on its history. The conference will take place September 16 and 17 at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center.

“The MSU Jewish Studies Program is expanding its focus on Israel Studies and is thrilled to host its largest conference yet to commemorate Israel at 70,” said Yael Aronoff, Director of the Jewish Studies Program. “Nine of our own faculty are participating, along with two of our Israeli visiting scholars, and 30 other scholars from Israel and the United States.” 

The speakers, 40 in total, will discuss Israeli society, culture, politics, and foreign policy, as well as agricultural, biomedical, water, environmental, and business innovation.

Scholars and researchers are coming from other U.S. universities including Johns Hopkins University, Smith College, Syracuse University, University of Illinois, University of Notre Dame, University of Wisconsin, and Washington University.

Keynote Speakers:

  • Gilead Sher, head of the Center for Applied Negotiations and a Senior Researcher at the Tel Aviv Institute for National Security Studies (INSS). Sher was PM Chief of Staff and Policy Coordinator to former Prime Minister of Israel Ehud Barak. In 1999-2001, he served as the Israeli chief and co-chief negotiator at the Camp David peace summit and the Taba peace talks. He has written several books and co-chairs the NGO Blue White Future.
  • Oded Shoyseyov, an expert in nanobiotechnology, has authored or co-authored more than 160 scientific publications and is the inventor or co-inventor of 45 patents.

Other Speakers:

  • Naomi Chazan, Professor Emerita of Political Science at Hebrew University, has served three terms as a Member of the Knesset on behalf of the Meretz Party. Chazan also has authored eight books on comparative politics, served as President of the New Israel Fund between 2009- 2012, and is among the founders of the International Women's Commission for an Israel-Palestinian Peace.
  • Sayed Kashua is a leading Palestinian Israeli novelist, screenwriter, journalist, and public commentator.
  • Saliba Sarsar, political scientist and poet, is the Associate Vice President of Monmouth College, on the Board of Directors of the American Task Force on Palestine, and edited Palestine and the Quest for Peace and co-edited Principles and Pragmatism: Key Documents from the American Task Force on Palestine among other publications.
  • Donna Robinson Divine, the Morningstar Family Professor of Jewish Studies and Professor of Government, Emerita at Smith College, who has written several books and is currently serving as President of the Association for Israel Studies.

“We are proud to have co-sponsorships from seven different colleges at MSU and welcome faculty, students, and community members to attend,” Aronoff said.

The conference is open and free to the public. Register now for panel discussions and complimentary meals, which include kosher, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. Registration for meals closes on Thursday, August 23. Registration for panel discussions closes on Monday, September 17, and donations will be accepted until Wednesday, October 31, 2018.

Photo credit: Mary C. Madigan