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http://www.concordia.ca/content/shared/en/news/main/stories/2015/05/13/israel-more-sustainable-association-israel-studies.html

How can Israel become more sustainable?

June 1-3: annual meeting of the Association for Israel Studies comes to Concordia
May 13, 2015
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By Sara DuBreuil

“Sustainability encompasses a range of social, political and economic decisions and choices that lead to a renewable, prosperous and equitable future for, in this particular case, Israeli society,” says researcher Csaba Nikolenyi . “Sustainability encompasses a range of social, political and economic decisions and choices,” says researcher Csaba Nikolenyi. | Photo by Bachmont (Flickr Creative Commons)

This June, leading academics from around the world will converge upon Concordia’s Azrieli Institute of Israel Studies when it hosts the 31st annual meeting of the Association for Israel Studies (AIS).

Every second year, the AIS meeting is held outside of Israel. Csaba Nikolenyi, a professor in Concordia’s Department of Political Science and chair of the Program Committee for the event, says he’s delighted the university is hosting this year's gathering.

“This conference provides a unique opportunity to showcase the Israel Studies research that we have at Concordia and increase international recognition of our institute, our research and our students,” says Nikolenyi.

The theme of this year’s conference is Sustainable Israel: A changing society in the 21st Century, and the conference will tackle the concept through academic presentations, panel discussions and film screenings.

On June 1, Irwin Cotler, Member of Parliament for Mount Royal, will give the conference’s keynote address, “Israel, Human Rights, Global Anti-Semitism.” Rafael Barak, the ambassador of Israel to Canada, will be on hand to welcome delegates from universities across the globe, including Canada, the U.S, China, Romania, the Czech Republic and Hungary.

“Sustainability encompasses a range of social, political and economic decisions and choices that lead to a renewable, prosperous and equitable future for, in this particular case, Israeli society,” says Nikolenyi.

The conference will feature academic presentations on environmental challenges and measures for reducing economic disparity within the country, as well as ideas for creating healthy, vibrant relationships between its various communities.

Csaba Nikolenyi, professor in the Department of Political Science: “We’re excited about bringing hundreds of prominent researchers to our campus to talk about Israel.” Csaba Nikolenyi, professor in the Department of Political Science: “We’re excited about bringing hundreds of prominent researchers to our campus to talk about Israel.” | Photo by Concordia University

One plenary, chaired by André Roy, Concordia’s dean of Arts and Science, will bring together researchers who study various aspects of sustainability in Israel, such as consumerism, economic challenges and environmental studies. A round table, looking at cooperation with First Nations, will include one of the leading academics in the field, Professor David Newhouse.

A number of the presentations will centre around films, including The Human Turbine, a documentary showing cooperation between the Arab and Jewish residents of Southern Israel who live in a challenging natural environment.

“Our team here at the office — students, staff, and professors — is just so excited about bringing hundreds of prominent researchers to our campus to talk about Israel,” says Nikolenyi.

He adds that preparing for Sustainable Israel has been a “labour of love,” and he’s happy to see people, especially students, getting excited about the program.

“People care about Israel, for the right or wrong reasons. Any time something happens in Israel — an election, a conflict, a new invention — the whole world knows about it,” says Nikolenyi. “We're very proud to be at the forefront of the academic study of this exciting society.”

The conference is open to the public and free of charge, with the exception of the banquet on June 1, which requires a ticket for entrance.

Sustainable Israel: A changing society in the 21st century, is taking place from June 1 - 3 in the Henry F. Hall Building (H). For details about the locations of specific sessions and presentations, download the program booklet here.

 



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