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.

Staff of The Leonard Davis Institute

Prof. Dan Miodownik, Director of the Leonard Davis Institute 
Mr. Chanoch Wolpe, Administrative Director
Mrs. Michal Barak Ben-Arush, Publications and Events Coordinator

Leonard and Sophie Davis

Leonard and Sophie Davis
Through a lifetime of generosity and commitment, both Leonard Davis and his wife Sophie made a lasting contribution to progress in health services research, and supported various educational, cultural, and artistic causes. They gave millions of dollars to health care, art, dance, music and Jewish philanthropic causes, in the U.S and beyond the U.S' borders.
In 1963, Mr. Davis founded the Colonial Penn Group, Inc., a major insurance company, which offered unprecedented health and auto insurance for the elderly. At a time when older persons could not obtain life, health, or automobile insurance easily, Mr. Davis found innovative approaches to solving this problem. This became a model for subsequent plans throughout the insurance industry. While serving older Americans, his professional career flourished and his company became one of the nation's leading insurers.

Mr. Davis was also closely involved in establishing the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), and later served as its Honorary President.

In 1967, Mr. Davis funded a new institute, the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, at the University of Pennsylvania to focus intellectual resources on the financial concerns surrounding health care and health care coverage.

Mr. Davis continued to show his commitment to the elderly by endowing the first school of gerontology in the country at the University of Southern California in 1976.

Mrs. Davis' commitment to improving health care for the poor led her to fund the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education at the City College of New York (CCNY) in 1973. This premier program helps place economically disadvantaged students into medicine with the understanding that they will practice for at least two years in low-income communities.

Mrs. Davis was also very active in the construction of the Raymond F. Kravis Center in West Palm Beach (Florida), a nationally recognized performing arts center. For twenty years, she served as President of Regional Arts, a widely respected classical music series. She also spearheaded the drive to double the size of the Norton Museum of Art while serving as one of its trustees. The Davises donated a gallery during the expansion and helped support a new wing to house it for the Chinese collection.

In 1972, Mr. Davis established the Leonard Davis Institute for International Relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, devoted to deepening an understanding of Israel's foreign relations and diplomacy, Middle Eastern affairs, and international politics.

On September 16, 2000, Mrs. Sophie Davis died at the age of 74. On January 16, 2001 Leonard Davis died at the age of 76.  

The Academic Committee

Prof. Oren Barak, Chairman of the Academic Committee, Department of International Relations, Hebrew University
Prof. Tamir Sheafer, Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, Hebrew University
Prof. Dan Miodownik, Director, Leonard Davis Institute and Department of International Relations, Hebrew University
Prof. Berta Levavi-Sivan, Vice Rector, Hebrew University
Prof. Orit Kedar, Department of Political Science, Hebrew University 
Prof. Menahem Blondheim, head of the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace.
Prof. Piki Ish-Shalom, Chair, Department of International Relations, Hebrew University
Dr. Keren Weinshall, Faculty of Law, Hebrew University
Prof. Michal Biran, Faculty of Humanities, Hebrew University
Dr. Galia Press-Barnatan, Department of International Relations, Hebrew University    

The Board Of Trustees

Prof. Asher Cohen, Chairman of the Board of Trustees and President of the Hebrew University
Prof. Barak Medina, Rector, Hebrew University
Prof. Re'em Sari, Vice-President and Chairman for Research and Development, Hebrew University
Mr. Yossi Gal, Vice-President for External Relations, Hebrew University
Prof. Tamir Sheafer, Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, Hebrew University
Prof. Dan Miodownik, Director, Leonard Davis Institute, and Department of International Relations, Hebrew University
Prof. Oren Barak, Department of International Relations, Hebrew University