Slifka Foundation gift bolsters master's program in coexistence and conflict

Alan B. Slifka Chair established to oversee program, which will move to the Heller School for Social Policy and Management

The Alan B. Slifka Foundation has made a $4.25 million gift to Brandeis University to help the Slifka Master’s Program in Coexistence and Conflict continue its pioneering work educating leaders in the emerging field of Coexistence and Shared Societies.

The gift will establish the Alan B. Slifka Chair in Coexistence and Conflict, move the existing master’s program to the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, and provide additional faculty and program enhancements.

“We thank the Slifka Foundation for this generous gift, which will allow us to continue to strengthen the Slifka Master’s Program in Coexistence and Conflict,” said Brandeis President Jehuda Reinharz, PhD ’72. “As societies become more diverse, the type of skilled, dedicated, and principled leaders the program develops is more in demand than ever.”

Slifka program alumni serve in important roles around the globe, including trouble spots such as Israel, Latvia, Rwanda, Serbia, and Sudan. They work as diplomats, aid and development specialists, lawyers, journalists, and program managers.

“The master’s program at Brandeis is one of the strategic components of the Foundation’s commitment to enhance and professionalize this emerging and vitally important field,” said Alan B. Slifka, the Foundation’s chairman.

“We know the master’s program, the students, and the potential for this field to grow are in excellent hands at the Heller School and Brandeis,” added Riva Ariella Ritvo-Slifka, the president of the Slifka Foundation. “The concept of shared societies must be taught and professionalized, and we found the perfect home for this endeavor.”

In addition to expanding the master’s program from 20 students to 40 students by 2016 and increasing the size of the faculty, the gift from the Slifka Foundation will allow the program to increase the number of courses offered and develop an even more vibrant professional alumni network.

Moving the program from the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life to the Heller School will leverage existing resources, elevate the program’s profile, and build on the burgeoning connection that has grown between the program and Heller’s Master’s Program in Sustainable International Development.

“By housing the Slifka-supported master’s program at Heller, we send a clear message about our commitment to the program and the fields of coexistence, conflict, and building shared societies,” said Lisa Lynch, dean of the Heller School.

The Master’s Program in Coexistence and Conflict was originally established at Brandeis in 2002 through a generous gift from the Slifka Foundation. That same Slifka Foundation gift also established the Slifka Program in Intercommunal Coexistence, which includes the Undergraduate Peace, Conflict and Coexistence Studies Program and Creative Resources for Coexistence and Reconciliation. Additionally, Brandeis’ Heller School will now be the home of the Slifka Foundation-supported Coexistence International, an initiative committed to strengthening the field of coexistence practitioners through research, capacity building, and networking.

About the Heller School for Social Policy and Management

Since its founding in 1959, the Heller School has been committed to developing new knowledge and insights in the field of social policy and in health and human services management. The Heller School is unique in its approach to the field of social policy by focusing on both interdisciplinary policy studies and practical skills development. By joining these two elements, Heller graduates are better prepared for a fulfilling career in finding solutions to society's most pressing social problems.

About the Slifka Foundation

The Alan B. Slifka Foundation is a private grant-making institution dedicated to making a world safe for difference. The Foundation supports strategies to encourage political and civil society leadership, public policy, and institutional and structural change to create, nurture and sustain shared societies, in which cultural, religious, ethnic and other forms of diversity are embraced. The Foundation also supports strategies to professionalize the field. It supports academic research, education and training of practitioners and the development of practitioner networks. Additionally, the Foundation is dedicated to promoting pluralistic Jewish life in the United States and Israel, and it supports novel biomedical research in the areas of autism spectrum disorders and pediatric oncology.

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