May 28, 2024

Shalem Launches One-of-a-Kind Program in Strategy, Diplomacy, and Security

Next month, Shalem College will conclude the first year of its new Program in Strategy, Diplomacy, and Security, designed to help prepare Israel’s future leaders to navigate existential challenges. The program was made possible through a grant from the William Davidson Foundation, which is intended to provide support for its initial two years. During that time, Shalem will grow its incoming student cohorts by 50 percent, hire outstanding scholar-practitioners to fill the ranks of the program’s faculty, and teach a one-of-a-kind curriculum that includes the humanities.

Created with the goal of responding to Israel’s need for strategic leaders in times of uncertainty, the Strategy, Diplomacy, and Security program has now become even more urgent, after the events of and since October 7th. Featuring courses on classical theories of statesmanship and war; modern military thought and foreign policy; and international law, conflict management, and economics, the program also explores the role of key historical figures’ backgrounds, beliefs, and motivations in shaping both war and diplomacy. It also includes the close examination of primary texts, participation in crisis simulations, and analysis of case studies, all aimed to grant students the knowledge and skills required to pursue senior roles in government, policy, diplomacy, and security. Finally, the program includes the multi-semester course “Studies in Grand Strategy,” which is modelled after the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy at Yale, but with a uniquely Israeli twist.

Launched this January with its first cohort of 17 students, the program was designed by Shalem lecturer Colonel (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman, a former student of Middle East historian Elie Kedouri, director of research in the IDF’s Intelligence Division, and deputy for foreign policy and international affairs in Israel’s National Security Council. The program’s chairman is Prof. Efraim Inbar, a leading Israeli scholar of national security and strategy and the founding director of the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Middle East Studies at Bar-Ilan University.

“The William Davidson Foundation believes in investing in change agents to advance the flourishing of Israeli society and of the Jewish state,” said Darin McKeever, president and CEO of the William Davidson Foundation. “Shalem College attracts some of the best young people in Israel, and over the course of four years, it provides them with the deep intellectual and cultural formation they need to influence an ever-more complex and challenged nation.”

Russ Roberts, president of Shalem College, says, “The Program in Strategy, Diplomacy, and Security provides the kind of education that will appeal to ambitious young people who want to have an outsized impact, and will attract the kinds of students and future leaders that Shalem was created to develop. This makes the program a natural fit for the William Davidson Foundation. They, like us, are deeply committed to the future flourishing of the Jewish state, and are prepared to make a long-term play that promises to pay significant dividends.”

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