The European Forum at the Hebrew University was established in March 2005. The Forum includes research centers, graduate study programs, and research funds. It is a multi- and interdisciplinary intellectual community bridging among the social sciences, humanities, and legal studies. Its administrative management is anchored in the Faculty of Social Sciences. The following centers are part of the Forum: the Helmut Kohl Institute for European Studies, the DAAD Center for German Studies, the Center for Austrian Studies, the Center for the Study of Italian Culture, the Paul Desmarais Center for the Study of French Culture, and the Marjorie Mayrock Center for Russian, Euro-Asian and East-European Research. The common interest of all the centers is the European integration in its broader sense, involving historical perspectives and comparative methods. The Forum focuses on teaching and research of important long-term processes in Europe, and on the European integration and its nexus with Israel and the Middle East. It has two graduate teaching programs, one in European Studies and one in Contemporary German Studies. In addition, the Forum applies for competitive grants and various other funding possibilities so as to enrich its research and teaching activity, and to support advanced students and young scholars from the Forum and other relevant departments of the Hebrew University.
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The DAAD Center for German Studies at the Hebrew University was founded in 2007. The center, which is jointly financed by the DAAD and the Hebrew University, is a graduate research and teaching institution affiliated with the European Forum at the Hebrew University and working in partnership with three faculties: Social Sciences, Humanities, and Law.
The Center for German Studies aims to promote the study of contemporary processes in German society: the role of Germany in the EU and European integration; Germany’s contribution to global economic, political, scientific, and technological transformations; Germany's place in the contemporary cultural and artistic scene; the political and statutory constitution of the German Federal Republic (the Basic Law after 1945); the social market-economy model; problems and perspectives following the reunification of 1989; and the German language, its past glory and new significance.
The center offers an instructional, interdisciplinary program dedicated to German Studies at both the master’s and doctoral levels.
The center organizes symposia and colloquia for scholars and advanced students, and open conferences for the general public. Symposia and colloquia serve as platforms to summarize and expand the findings of research projects conducted at the center. Conferences present current issues and debates in Germany to the wider public. Lecture series deepen the knowledge of students and the wider public on important, relevant issues. They also aim to enlarge the circle of partners outside Israel, forging new acquaintances and establishing new working relationships.
The Center for Austrian Studies was established in May 2001 as a joint initiative of the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Austrian Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, and the Friends of the Hebrew University in Austria. Its goals are to promote Austrian studies and Austrian culture in Israel at the academic level by means of the Hebrew University, and to establish and maintain contacts between Israeli and Austrian scholars and students by organizing symposia, lectures, conferences, and workshops on Austrian issues. The term "Austrian Studies" is understood in the broad sense rather than as referring to the geographic area of the present Republic of Austria. The center engages in broad, interdisciplinary Central European area studies with an Austrian core. It dedicates its research and teaching activities to the history and culture of Central Europe, and their impact on contemporary developments in the region in all areas of political, social, and cultural life. Special emphasis is given to the role of the city of Vienna as a cultural factor in European history and to the role of the Republic of Austria in the EU enlargement and integration processes, as well as to the spiritual and material legacy of the Jewish population of the Habsburg Empire and its multifaceted contribution to European culture.
The Helmut Kohl Institute for European Studies was founded in 1991 to promote the study of Europe and the European Union in research and teaching. The interdisciplinary nature of its approach was determined from the very beginning by its anchoring in three faculties: Social Sciences, Humanities, and Law. While developments within the European Union are at the center of the institute's concerns, in the framework of its activities it has taken a wider perspective on Europe as well. The institute functions as the center, initiator, and coordinator of research projects conducted by its members. The results of these endeavors are made known to larger circles in Israel and abroad through international conferences and seminars, lecture series, and publications.
The Marjorie Mayrock Center for Russian, Euro-Asian and East-European Research was founded in 1969 to promote interdisciplinary and group research on Soviet and East European affairs. During the Soviet era, Mayrock Center research focused on analysis and documentation of Soviet involvement in the Middle East. Other studies analyzed the structure of Soviet institutions, Soviet-Third World relations, and the status of Soviet olim (immigrants) in Israel. In addition to initiating and coordinating group research projects, the center provides facilities and has conducted research projects for various governmental and academic institutions in Israel and abroad.
The Center for the Study of Italian Culture, founded with the help of the Friends of the Hebrew University in Italy, has been part of the European Forum at the Hebrew University since May 2005. The aims of the Italian Center are to promote academic relations between Italy and Israel; explore the heritage of Italian Jewry and its contribution to the state of Israel; investigate the many aspects of Italy's role in the EU, especially within the Mediterranean region; develop working relationships in a number of academic disciplines with Italian universities and scholars; organize conferences and workshops on Italian themes; coordinate research projects, grant scholarships, invite guest lecturers, and facilitate exchanges of students and faculty; and to educate the coming generation of Israelis - tomorrow’s researchers, politicians, artists, and journalists - in the history, culture, economy, and politics of Italy.
The Paul Desmarais Center for the Study of French Culture was founded in 1994 to promote an awareness of French culture at the Hebrew University. The center uses an interdisciplinary approach to foster a better understanding of the major trends in contemporary French philosophy and culture and their impact on science. The center organizes conferences and seminars in philosophy, art, literature, history, and psychoanalysis, with the participation of renowned scholars from abroad and in collaboration with other Israeli institutions, thereby presenting current French perspectives to an Israeli audience.