Administrative News: Changes at the Crown Center

April 15, 2019

Dear Colleagues,

Please join me in congratulating Shai Feldman, the founding director of Brandeis University’s Crown Center for Middle East Studies and Professor of Politics, upon his appointment as the next president of Sapir College, which is located near Sderot, Israel. Shai will be succeeded in his role as director by Gary Samore, the Crown Center’s current senior executive director. Additionally, Naghmeh Sohrabi, Charles (Corky) Goodman Professor of Middle East History and current associate director for research at the Crown Center, will assume a new role as director of research for the Crown Center.

Shai’s leadership of the Crown Center since its inception in 2005 has been exemplary, and one of his many skills has been hiring superb faculty and staff. I have every confidence that Gary and Nagmeh will continue Shai’s outstanding stewardship of this important center of scholarship about the Middle East.

Please see the announcement about these important Crown Center developments, below.

Sincerely,
Lisa M. Lynch
Provost

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Shai Feldman, Director of the Crown Center for Middle East Studies and Brandeis Professor of Politics, Named President of Sapir College

WALTHAM, Mass. (April 15, 2019) — Shai Feldman, the founding director of Brandeis University’s Crown Center for Middle East Studies and professor of politics, has been named the next president of Sapir College, near Sderot, Israel. Effective September 1, 2019, Feldman will take a leave from Brandeis University and the Crown Center to assume this exciting and challenging role. 

Feldman has served as director of the Crown Center for Middle East Studies since its inception in 2005.  Succeeding him will be Gary Samore, the Crown Center’s current senior executive director and the former executive director of Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Samore will become the Center’s next Crown Family Director effective September 1, and continue to serve and teach as professor of the practice of Politics at Brandeis University.

In addition, Naghmeh Sohrabi, the Charles (Corky) Goodman Professor of Middle East History and current associate director for research at the Crown Center, has been promoted to the new position of director for research at the Crown Center.

 “While I will miss Shai’s engagement with our campus community and his leadership of the Crown Center, I am thrilled for these new opportunities for him. I look forward to working with Gary and Naghmeh as they advance the important work of the Crown Center,” said Brandeis University Provost Lisa M. Lynch.

“The Crown Center is known for its superb scholarship and commitment to recruit and encourage young academics studying the Middle East.  As the new director of the Crown Center, I'm honored to have an opportunity to contribute to the critical mission of the center and build on its outstanding record of achievements,” Samore said.

Naghmeh Sohrabi added, “I’m confident that the Crown Center's new leadership team will build on the excellence that under Shai's leadership has made us a premier Middle East research center.”

“I am very proud to have played a role in the Crown Center’s amazing development over the past 14 years from an embryo to a center of excellence, producing high-quality, policy-relevant research and analyses as well as balanced and dispassionate scholarship that meets the highest academic standards,” said Feldman. “I am also delighted to be leaving the center in the very able hands of Gary and Naghmeh, who I know will take it to new heights.”

Lester Crown, whose foundational gift launched the center, said, “Over 14 years, Shai Feldman has done the improbable – He has taken an idea and created a world-class center for Middle East studies by gathering together some of the most respected and knowledgeable experts from all areas of the region — Palestinian, Iranian, Egyptian and Israeli — and brought them together to produce and teach accurate, unbiased and balanced analyses and evaluations of the Middle East.  As Shai leaves to lead Sapir College, we are exceptionally fortunate to have a superb international expert, Gary Samore, to succeed Shai.”

“I want to thank Shai Feldman for his extraordinary work in getting the Crown Center off the ground and developing it as one of the major centers of the study of the Middle East,” said Henry Bienen, Chairman of the Crown Center’s advisory board. “I look forward to working with Gary Samore, an eminent scholar and practitioner of international relations, security studies, and U.S. foreign policy.”