UCLA receives $1 million challenge grant to expand teaching in Israel studies

The UCLA Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies has received a $1 million matching challenge grant from the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation to support the expansion of teaching about modern Israel at UCLA.

The grant would match up to $1 million of new gifts from other donors to the Nazarian Center, for a possible total of $2 million in endowment funds designated to bolster teaching in Israel studies. The funds may be used to help support a new faculty member, lecturers or visiting professors.

“I’m thrilled that the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation are making another very generous gift to support Israel Studies at UCLA,” said Dov Waxman, UCLA’s Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation Professor of Israel Studies and director of the Nazarian Center. “The new gift will help UCLA expand its teaching about modern Israel and further strengthen UCLA’s position in the growing field of Israel studies. This commitment from the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation is also a major vote of confidence in the work of the Nazarian Center for Israel Studies.”

To receive all of the matching funds, the Nazarian Center, which is part of the UCLA International Institute, is seeking $1 million in additional donations by June 30, 2027.

The foundation is a longtime supporter of Israel studies at UCLA, having made its first gift to Israel studies in 2004 and, in 2006, donating to establish the endowed chair currently held by Waxman.

► Learn more about the matching gift program on the Nazarian Center’s website

“We have been very pleased with our long-term partnership with UCLA and the Younes & Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies,” said Martin H. Blank Jr., a Gilbert Foundation trustee and a member of the Nazarian Center’s community advisory board. “With this matching grant, we want to advance outstanding teaching about modern Israel at UCLA and beyond, and promote humanities courses in particular, so that students will have a deeper understanding of the country in all its dimensions.”

The grant creates the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation Endowment for Teaching in Israel Studies, and it earmarks funds for the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation Prize for Excellence in Israel Studies Teaching, an annual award of $5,000 to recognize outstanding teaching about Israel by a professor or lecturer at any U.S. university.

“This gift from the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation provides an excellent opportunity to foster education and knowledge about modern Israel,” said Richard S. Ziman, a trustee of the foundation and a member of the Nazarian Center’s community advisory board.

Established in 2010, the Nazarian Center sponsors courses for students about Israel’s history, politics, society and culture. The internationally recognized center also supports research in Israel studies, organizes public programs and hosts visiting academics, policymakers and artists.

“UCLA is deeply grateful to the Gilbert Foundation for this generous grant and for its consistent support of the Nazarian Center,” said Cindy Fan, UCLA’s vice provost for international studies and global engagement. “We are delighted that the grant focuses on teaching.”

The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation funds programs that promote education, tolerance, social services, health care and the arts in Southern California and Israel.

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