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Israel Studies at UCLA
The Younes & Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies promotes the study of the history, culture and society of Israel as a modern Jewish and democratic state. It sponsors courses for students of all backgrounds, conducts innovative research and brings leading scholars, policymakers and artists to UCLA for public programs and performances. Originally founded in 2005 as the UCLA Israel Studies Program, the Nazarian Center was established in 2010 as the first full-fledged Israel Studies center on the West Coast and one of three in the nation that are named and endowed. Located in Los Angeles, which boasts the second-largest Jewish and Israeli communities in the United States, the Center is a premier source of scholarship and education about Israel.
Israel is a tiny country that looms large in public and academic discourse. The passions it evokes often present obstacles to balanced analysis and evenhanded discussion. In the six decades since its founding, the State of Israel has spawned a vibrant culture and a multiethnic democracy. It has also faced ongoing challenges and has had to grapple with complex geopolitical issues. An appreciation of the complexities that are Israel requires knowledge, probing analysis and dialogue across different disciplines and viewpoints. Through a commitment to academic rigor and interdisciplinary approaches, the Nazarian Center fosters a broad understanding of Israel and its place in the region and the world.
The Center was established with an endowment gift from the Y&S Nazarian Family Foundation. The Center and Israel Studies at UCLA have also benefited greatly from the support of other donors. In particular, the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation has endowed the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation Chair in Israel Studies, held by Professor Arieh Saposnik since 2009.