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Amb. Dennis Ross Named Inaugural William Davidson Distinguished Fellow


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Davidson Foundation Makes Three-Year, $1.2 Million Grant to Create Fellowship

WASHINGTON, DC -- Ambassador Dennis Ross, Middle East advisor to four presidents, has been named The Washington Institute's inaugural William Davidson Distinguished Fellow, the research organization announced today. The fellowship is made possible until 2017 through a three-year, $1.2 million grant to the Institute by the William Davidson Foundation, a major philanthropy based in Detroit.

As the Davidson Distinguished Fellow, Ambassador Ross's research will focus on such critical issues in the Middle East as the challenge of Iran’s nuclear program, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and shaping the U.S.-Israel relationship.

"We are honored by this extraordinary gift," said Institute executive director Robert Satloff. "Through his life and his philanthropy, William Davidson demonstrated his profound commitment to principles of integrity, impeccable research, and a safe, secure Middle East. Thanks to the generosity of the foundation that bears his name, the Institute will have the means to support the work of an exemplary scholar-statesman who shares those same principles."

"The preservation and enhancement of the U.S.-Israel partnership is an important part of our efforts to maintain Mr. Davidson’s philanthropic legacy through the foundation," said Jonathan Aaron, president, William Davidson Foundation. "We are proud to support The Washington Institute’s leading efforts to provide key influencers and concerned citizens with unique insights and new ideas to promote peace, security, and prosperity in one of the world’s most volatile regions."

Mr. Davidson's commitment to a strong, secure, and prosperous Israel was a fundamental part of his life, and he made landmark donations to leading Israeli institutions such as Hadassah, the Weizmann Institute of Science, and the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Ambassador Ross, currently the Institute's counselor, has more than a quarter-century experience in both Democratic and Republican administrations, including service as presidential envoy for Middle East peace. In the Obama administration, he served as special advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, focusing on Iran, and then two years as special assistant to the president and National Security Council senior director for the Central Region, coordinating U.S. policy throughout the entire Middle East. He is the author of several influential books on the peace process, most recently Myths, Illusions, and Peace: Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East. An earlier study, The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2004), offers comprehensive analytical and personal insight into the Middle East peace process. The New York Times praised his 2007 publication, Statecraft, And How to Restore America's Standing in the World, as "important and illuminating.”

The Washington Institute is an independent, nonpartisan research institution that seeks to advance a balanced and realistic understanding of American interests in the Middle East and to promote the policies that secure them. Drawing on the research of its fellows and the experience of its policy practitioners, the Institute promotes informed debate and scholarly research on U.S. policy in the region.

The William Davidson Foundation, a family foundation, was established in 2005 in Detroit to honor the memory of its founder, William Davidson, by continuing his philosophy of giving. It is committed to efforts to preserve and enhance Jewish life in the United States and abroad. In addition, the Davidson Foundation is funding efforts to improve the economic prosperity of its home community in southeastern Michigan in order to make the region an even more desirable place to work and live.

For information on current naming opportunities and other ways to support the Institute's work, please contact Director of Development Dan Heckelman by email or 202-452-0650.