About the Institute

The Leonard Davis Institute for International Relations was established in 1972 at the Hebrew University,
thanks to the generosity of the American philanthropist whose name it bears. Located in the Alfred
Davis building on Hebrew University’s Mount Scopus campus, the Institute is surrounded by evocative
vistas. Westward rise the domes and spires of the Old City of Jerusalem; to the east, visible on a clear
day, are the Dead Sea and the mountains of Moab; and to the south, one can see the tower of the
Augusta Victoria hospice and the Mount of Olives.
The Institute’s identity and mission spring from its position of privilege and responsibility in one of the
most fascinating historical cities in the world: Jerusalem, the site of holy places cherished by the three
monotheistic religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Two thousand years after the destruction of
the Temple of Herod by the Roman legions, Jerusalem is the capital of the reborn State of Israel, as well
as the seat of its government.
Since its inception, the Leonard Davis Institute has provided a nonpartisan and independent platform for
research, education, and discussion on issues of international studies in general and Israel’s diplomacy
and foreign policy in particular.
The Institute has three broad aims when planning its programs, which are reinforced in this age of globalization:
1. To promote research in international relations theory, adopting a broad perspective that draws on a
variety of disciplines.
2. To present the universal themes of international politics to the Israeli public, thereby enhancing the
national discourse on these matters.
3. To place the Institute’s expertise and consulting capability at the disposal of the national institutions
responsible for Israel’s security and foreign affairs.
Since 1972, the Leonard Davis Institute has served as a center in which researchers from the International
Relations and Political Science departments and other related departments at the Hebrew University –
as well as other universities and academic centers – can develop and coordinate research programs. To
this end, although the Institute is formally part of the Faculty of Social Sciences, its nature and statutes
make it an interfaculty and interdisciplinary body.
While other institutes of international relations and strategic affairs in Israel tend to specialize in local
issues pertaining to war and strategy, the Leonard Davis Institute also researches external affairs,
diplomacy, international law and institutions, and negotiation and conflict resolution.
The Institute’s audience encompasses the academic community, Israeli governmental institutions, the
diplomatic corps, communications media, and the interested general public. We welcome visitors from
abroad and provide them with the opportunity to share their ideas and expertise with local colleagues.
The Leonard Davis Institute provides generous funds to promote the research of international studies.
The Institute grants scholarships to Ph.D. students from the Hebrew University and to Israeli and
overseas post-doctoral students; it also awards research grants to the academic staff of the Hebrew
University. The Institute organizes extensive public events, including international conferences,
seminars, and workshops on important issues on the national agenda. The Leonard Davis Institute also
publishes Politika, a Hebrew-language journal on politics and international studies, and a “Working
Papers” series in both English and Hebrew.