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Institute Honors Ambassadors Oren and Rabinovich with Scholar-Statesman Award


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Institute Trustees Noni and Alan AufzIEn to be Honored at Gala New York Dinner

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Two scholar-diplomats who played key roles in strengthening U.S.-Israel relations and enhancing prospects for Middle East peace — former ambassadors Itamar Rabinovich and Michael B. Oren — will be honored with The Washington Institute for Near East Policy's prestigious Scholar-Statesman Award at a gala dinner Tuesday, December 2, at The Plaza Hotel in Manhattan at 7 p.m. The policy research organization will also pay special tribute to Noni and Alan Aufzien of New York, longtime patrons and civic leaders.

"By grounding their diplomatic achievements in unimpeachable scholarship, Ambassadors Oren and Rabinovich embody the ideal of the Scholar-Statesman," said Institute Executive Director Robert Satloff, who is the Institute's Howard P. Berkowitz Chair in U.S. Middle East Policy. "Under different governments at different moments of time, each of these outstanding public servants not only advanced ties between Washington and Jerusalem but brought Israel closer to its long-sought goal of a secure and lasting peace." Previous Scholar-Statesman honorees include President Bill Clinton, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger, Condoleezza Rice, and George P. Shultz; historian Bernard Lewis; foreign policy experts Dennis Ross and Elliott Abrams; and human rights activists Natan Sharansky and Saad Eddin Ibrahim. 

Ambassadors Oren and Rabinovich both began their careers in academia where their writings earned them deep respect among the scholarly community, government officials, and the general public. Ambassador Oren, the author of the seminal Six Days of War among other important works, served as Israel's envoy to the United States from 2009 to 2013. Currently, he is the Abba Eban Chair of International Diplomacy at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy, and Strategy.

Ambassador Rabinovich earned acclaim for his penetrating knowledge of the Arab world as a scholar at Tel Aviv University and as director of the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies. Thanks to his in-depth understanding of Syria, Rabinovich was appointed by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to be Israel's chief negotiator with Syria in 1992 and as ambassador to the United States the following year. He served as Israel's envoy in Washington until 1996 when he returned to academia. The president of Tel Aviv University from 1999-2007, he currently serves as professor emeritus of Middle Eastern history at Tel Aviv University and distinguished global professor at New York University. He is the founding president of the Israel Institute which works in partnership with leading academic, research and cultural institutions to enhance knowledge and study of modern Israel in the United States and around the world.

At the gala, Dr. Satloff will conduct an on-the-record "open conversation" with Ambassadors Oren and Rabinovich.

The Institute will also pay tribute to Noni and Alan Aufzien, New York-area community leaders who have been trustees of The Washington Institute since 1996. Passionate about the Jewish community and access to education, they are involved in many charitable and civic organizations in the United States and Israel including Tel Aviv University, the World Presidents' Organization, Passaic Beth Israel Hospital, and NJ Seeds, which promotes educational opportunities for motivated students from low-income families.

At the event, the Institute will announce the winners of its 2014 Book Prize which recognizes outstanding new books in the English language that have illuminated the Middle East for American readers. The Book Prize is generously supported by Institute Trustees Michael and Shelly Kassen.

About the Institute: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy is an independent, nonpartisan research institution that advances a balanced and realistic understanding of U.S. interests in the broader Middle East. Drawing on the expertise of its fellows, the Institute promotes informed debate and scholarly research on U.S. policy in the region.

Contact: Brittany Parker, media liaison, email, 202-452-0650