By Jeff Daniels
July 21, 2021 –– The UCLA Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies announced it 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 gift is a dollar-for-dollar matching grant, meaning that every new endowment gift the Y&S Nazarian Center receives – up to $1 million – will be matched by the Gilbert Foundation, for a total goal of $2 million in endowment funds designated for teaching in Israel studies.
“My hope is that this generous grant from The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation and future gifts from additional donors will ultimately help UCLA hire a second faculty member in Israel studies, ideally someone specializing in Israeli literature and culture — subjects that I don't teach," said Professor Dov Waxman, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation Chair in Israel Studies at UCLA, and director of the Y&S Nazarian Center. "Having an additional faculty member in Israel studies would strengthen UCLA's position in this growing field and allow us to reach more students."
The Y&S Nazarian Center, which is part of the UCLA International Institute, seeks to raise $1 million in additional donations by June 30, 2027. Donors can participate in meeting the matching challenge – and see the impact of their donation doubled – by making an endowment gift designated for teaching about Israel.
The Foundation’s challenge gift will create The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation Endowment for Teaching in Israel Studies. Funds also will be earmarked for The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation Prize for Excellence in Israel Studies Teaching, a national, annual award of $5,000 for an outstanding university faculty member or lecturer (other than the Center director) teaching about Israel in any discipline.
“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, Gilbert Foundation trustee. “We have been very pleased with our long-term partnership with UCLA and the Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies,” said Martin H. Blank, Jr., Gilbert Foundation trustee. “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."
Established in 2010, the Y&S Nazarian Center sponsors courses for students about Israel's history, politics, society and culture. The internationally recognized center also supports research in the academic field of Israel studies, organizes public programs, and hosts at UCLA 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. We are delighted that the grant focuses on teaching,” said Cindy Fan, vice provost for international studies and global engagement at UCLA.
The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation funds programs that promote education, tolerance, social services, health care, and the arts in Southern California and Israel. The foundation is a longtime supporter of Israel studies at UCLA, having established in 2006 the endowed chair in this field, currently held by Professor Waxman, the Y&S Nazarian Center's director.
For more details, including how donors can create named endowments of their own in the campaign, contact Nazarian Center Executive Director Maura Resnick, or Karin Shaw, Senior Director of Development for the UCLA International Institute.