Established by Dr. Kenneth W. Stein in 1998, the Institute for the Study of Modern Israel (ISMI) is an interdisciplinary and non-degree conferring unit of Emory University. It was the first academic institute for the study of modern Israel established in the United States. It promotes teaching, research, and learning that focuses on Israeli culture, foreign policy, history, society, and politics.
Through funds that ISMI has raised externally from Emory alumni, their parents, foundations, and other donors, ISMI has unilaterally supported 12 visiting Israeli scholars. They have taught 35 courses in five College departments and in the Emory Business School. Courses have been offered in the Emory College Departments of Anthropology, History, Jewish Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, Political Science, Sociology, and Religion, and in Economics in the Emory Business School. These positions have been post-doctoral appointments and regular visiting faculty appointments confirmed by Emory College. Annual appointments are dependent upon funds raised annually. By November of an academic year, if funds are available, applications are sought and appointments made. Because of uncertainty in annual funding there is no official application process. A variety of visiting faculty programs, lectures, conferences, and student internships supplement ISMI's undergraduate offerings. ISMI also engages in pre-collegiate educational enrichment for teachers, clergy, and other educators. ISMI is officially housed in the Tam Institute for Jewish Studies in Emory College.
ISMI works to ensure that excellent library and information resources and close faculty mentoring provide Emory students with exceptional opportunities to deepen their understanding of Israel and the Middle East. In addition, ISMI encourages students to use their knowledge of Hebrew, Israel, and the Middle East through challenging work-study internships in Israel, Europe, and the United States.
Rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors are eligible for grants that allow them to learn about issues relevant to modern Israel (for example, students have worked and studied as research assistants at policy institutes, universities, and businesses in Israel). These grants are available throughout the school year and the summer; please contact Heather Waters for more information.
Local partner institutions include: the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta; the southeastern regional offices of the Anti-Defamation League; the American Jewish Committee; Atlanta area congregations; private and public schools; the Marcus Hillel Center at Emory University; the Chabad House at Emory University; and the Consulate of Israel for the Southeastern United States.
ISMI's core mission is to enhance the knowledge and scholarship of Israel and the Middle East on the Emory campus and beyond.
ISMI's objectives are to build and strengthen an understanding of modern Israel for Emory students and to inform the general public. ISMI engages in outreach to the media, general community, civic organizations, and educators in their desire to learn about modern Israel. ISMI is not an academic department; it does not confer a degree or hire regular faculty. For information on degree conferring programs and financial aid for Emory College or Emory University graduate programs, please consult the Emory University Website.