Israel Studies Seminar in China
Using the Schusterman Center’s Summer Institute as a model, Peking University and Shandong University in China created China’s first workshops in the field of Israel, which took place July 12-17, 2009 at Peking University and and July 19-31 at Shandong University, and were funded by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. These Israel Studies seminars were attended by more than 100 professors, high school educators, graduate students, and undergraduate students. Schusterman Center director Ilan Troen helped create and organize the China seminar, and invited faculty members from Israel to be seminar instructors.
The Israeli professors that joined Troen teach Israel Studies from a variety of disciplines. Elie Rekhess, a Dayan Center Senior Fellow and director of the Konrad Adenauer Program for Jewish-Arab Cooperation at Tel Aviv University, is an expert on the Arab minority in Israel; Sammy Smooha is former dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and sociology professor at the University of Haifa and is a specialist in comparative ethnic relations; and Yitzhak Galnoor is a political science professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Ilan Troen, himself a historian, sparked a lively discussion on representation, national liberation, and democracy by analyzing in comparative perspective the American Declaration of Independence, the Israeli Declaration of Independence, the Palestinian Liberation Organization Charter, and the Hamas Covenant.
“What is so remarkable is that in China there is an interest in Israel that is based not only on geopolitics, but on cultural curiosity in a country where there are literally tens of thousands of Imams and mosques, but only a handful of rabbis and congregations," said Troen.