Tulane students to get inside look on Middle East issues

By BARRI BRONSTON (Courtesy Tulane University Publications)

Tulane University has recently announced the establishment of the Stacy Mandel Palagye and Keith Palagye Program for Middle East Peace.

Beginning in the spring of 2015, 15 undergraduate students will be selected to participate in a unique summer immersion opportunity. Following the close of the spring semester, they will take three weeks of intensive course work at Tulane. They will then travel to Israel for three weeks, where, through a partnership with the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, they will gain a first-hand view of the issues and individuals engaged in the peace process.

Stacy Mandel Palagye, a 1983 Newcomb College graduate, and her husband Keith Palagye are supporting the $1 million summer immersion program through the auspices of the Morton and Barbara Mandel Family Foundation. The pilot program, which will be free to participating students, is scheduled to run over four years.

“The Stacy Mandel Palagye and Keith Palagye Program for Middle East Peace reflects the unique nature of the School of Liberal Arts and its offerings,” said Carole Haber, dean of the school.

Professor Brian Horowitz, chair of the Tulane Jewish Studies Department, will teach a course about Israeli and Palestinian society on campus and accompany the students to Israel.

“The presumption that these are two disparate societies living one mile from each other but separated by many decades of historical alienation is false,” Horowitz said.

Speakers involved in many aspects of the peace process will talk to students, both on campus and in Israel.

“You can’t learn about a conflict if you only learn about one side,” said Mark Gasiorowski, a Tulane political science professor who will teach a course on campus in May 2015 about Israeli and Palestinian politics.

Students must apply for the program and take or have taken the  Arab-Israeli Conflict course (JWST 3220) or its equivalent.

“I would not be surprised,” Horowitz said, “if someday the Secretary of State of the United States is someone who graduated from this program.”

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