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Tel Aviv University and the Goethe University Establish Inter-faith Studies Center

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 Academic exchange and cooperation has become a constitutive pillar of German-Israeli relations in the past years

 By SAMUEL J HYDE

 Academic exchange and cooperation has become a constitutive pillar of German-Israeli relations in the past years. There has been a diverse contribution to strengthening research and progress as a global endeavor, in science as well as in the humanities. The partnership of the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main and the Tel Aviv University (TAU) has been at the forefront of these academic exchanges.

In a new collaboration, the institutions have established the ‘Joint Center for the Study of Religious and Interreligious Dynamics’, which seeks to address one of the urgent questions of our time: the role of religious communities in a changing and conflictual world.

 Prof. Milette Shamir, TAU’s VP in charge of international academic collaboration had this to say, “Tel  Aviv University has a wide network of collaboration with German universities, more than with any other country in Europe.”

“This Collaboration includes hundreds of joint research projects as well as hundreds of German students who come to our campus each year.  The joint center expands this collaboration in an important new direction and tightens our existing partnership with Goethe University Frankfurt, one of the leading universities in Germany,” she said, adding that, “we hope that in the near future GUF and TAU will expand collaboration to several other areas of common strength.”

Students from Tel Aviv University celebrating International German Week.
(Photo Credit: Tel Aviv University)

The collaboration agreement was signed at the TAU International week, a campus event that aims to promote universalistic ideals and a global campus forum that focuses on cultures in different countries and how they can best be integrated into the TAU community.

 Prof. Menachem Fisch, who leads the initiative at TAU stressed that he is thrilled to be part of the establishment of a unique, first-of-its-kind center for the study of the monotheistic faiths and their mutual development.”

“This is a worthy initiative, and one more building block in the academic collaboration between the two countries,” he said.

 The center is cross-departmental and works in an area of study that is relevant to both German and Israeli society: The center will focus on questions regarding inter-religious dialogue, religious fundamentalism and conflict resolution, as well as, the rich cultural heritage and modern-day growth trends of religious traditions. 

 Germany included a tour in the footsteps of German Jewry hosted at the ANU Museum of the Jewish People, with a discussion on themes in modern German literature, and a screening of The Oyster Princess, a film by German-born Hollywood director Ernest Lubitsch. 

For Uwe Becker, President of the German Friends Association of Tel Aviv University, this collaboration “marks a new milestone in the special relationship between the two universities and is also another bridge of understanding between Frankfurt and Tel Aviv.”

“The new center will for sure contribute to a better inter-religious dialogue from different angles and perspectives,” Becker concluded.

**Featured Image: The initiators of the Inter-faith Studies Center, Prof. Menachem Fisch, Prof. Milette Shamir, Prof. Ariel Porat, Susanne Wasum-Rainer & Prof. Youval Rotman. (Photo Credit: Tel Aviv University)

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