Prof. Peri’s Visit to China, November 19-28, 2015

The Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies at UMD is poised to pursue collaborations with a variety of Chinese academic institutions to strengthen the knowledge of Israel Studies around the globe.

Professor Yoram Peri was recently invited to the Shanghai Academy of Social Science’s prestigious annual Forum on China Studies, which examined the new role China is currently playing, and will play in the near future, in shaping the new world order. In the context of this year’s theme, “China’s Reform Opportunities for the World,” Prof. Peri presented his perspective on the developing relations between Israel and China and the new role China is taking in the Middle East, particularly with the declining role of the US in the region and the comprehensive Chinese “one road one way” ( the “silk way”) project.

Academic interest in Israel Studies is growing at a rapid pace throughout China, and Prof. Peri met with a number of scholars and administrators at Chinese universities and institutions to discuss opportunities for collaboration. Since the founding of SIGNAL – Sino Israel Global Network & Academic Leadership – in 2012, five new programs in Israel Studies have been established at major academic institutions in China, and all are eager to work with UMD to strengthen their programs and level of scholarship.

At the Shanghai Academy for Social Science, Prof. Peri met with the Academy’s deputy director, the Dean of the Center for Jewish Studies, and the Executive Director of the Institute of International Relations. The Center for Jewish Studies is the best-known international institute in this field in China, and several joint projects are now in the works for the future.

Prof. Peri gave a number of lectures during his trip; at SISU – the Shanghai International Studies University, several departments, including the School of Asian and African Studies, the Middle East Studies Institute, and the Hebrew Program, invited Prof. Peri to speak to faculty and students of Israel Studies on the topic of “1917-2017: 100 years of Zionism, its Achievements and Challenges.” Prof. Peri also visited Nanjing University and gave a lecture on “The Evolution of Israeli-Chinese Foreign Relations” to faculty and PhD students, hosted by the university’s Jiangsu Center for International Strategic Studies and School of History.

Prof. Peri and his Chinese counterparts discussed plans to increase the visibility and rigor of Israel Studies at their universities by hosting Israeli scholars for a semester or a full year and pursuing academic conferences on topics related to Jewish and Israel Studies, such as SISU’s planned conference on Jewish and Israel studies which is going to take place next summer in Shanghai; the first of its kind. These planned collaborations between Chinese universities and UMD signals a positive development in making Israel Studies a more well-known and studied field.