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Wilson School to offer study abroad program in Israel

The Wilson School has partnered with the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel, to offer Wilson School students the chance to study abroad while completing a mandatory task force. The subject of the task force offered in Herzliya will not be decided until later in the spring, Associate Dean for Public and External Affairs Elisabeth Donahue said.

The American Studies Organization, an organization that groups U.S. universities offering courses in American Studies, controversially attempted to boycott Israel universities last December. Princeton, a member of the organization, spoke against the boycott.

Wilson School students studying at Herzliya will be hosted by the Lauder School of Government, which is one of the largest schools within the Interdisciplinary Center; nearly one-sixth of the students enrolled in the Interdisciplinary Center are enrolled in the Lauder School. Donahue added that, although the partnership between the Interdisciplinary Center and the Wilson School has been finalized, the actual content of the program has not yet been decided.

Donahue said that the Herzliya program is an extension of the Wilson School’s continued efforts to give policy students interested in the Middle East a chance to live and study there. The Wilson School has previously offered programs in Egypt, Jordan and Israel.

The Wilson School started discussions with the Interdisciplinary Center regarding a potential partnership in the fall of 2013, Donahue said. She explained that the strength of the Interdisciplinary Center’s faculty was perhaps the most important factor in determining which organization would partner with the Wilson School’s study abroad program, and added that the Interdisciplinary Center in Israel stood out to administrators in the Wilson School as the first private, nonprofit higher education institute in Israel.

The Interdisciplinary Center, founded in 1994, has consistently been rated toward the top of all Israeli universities and colleges, according to the Wilson School website advertising the program. 

The website also noted that the Interdisciplinary Center is a heavily international school, with 25 percent of the student body coming from abroad, predominantly from the United States and Europe.

Additionally, the Interdisciplinary Center is connected to many of the top research institutions within Israel, including the Institute for Policy and Strategy, which specializes in Middle Eastern politics and policy issues. The Institute for Policy and Strategy and the Interdisciplinary Center jointly hold the annual Herzliya Conference, which is a summit of many of the most influential Israeli and international leaders.

Herzliya, the city in which the Interdisciplinary Center is based, is located about six miles north of Tel Aviv on the central coast of Israel and has a population of 87,000 residents. The city is one of the most affluent in Israel; a 2008 quality of life survey ranked it as the second highest among Israel’s 15 largest cities.

Wilson School students interested in applying to the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya in the fall will be able to submit their applications this coming March.

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