About the Institute

The Leonard Davis Institute for International Relations was established in 1972 at the Hebrew University
of Jerusalem, thanks to the generosity of Leonard and Sophie Davis. It is part of the Faculty of Social
Sciences. The Institute provides an independent platform for the research, teaching, and discussion
of international relations in general and Israeli diplomacy and foreign policy in particular. In an age of
globalization, the institute endeavors to broaden the Israeli public’s horizons by acquainting it with the
domestic and international implications of Israeli foreign policy.
Three main aims guide the Institute:
• To promote research on international relations from a broad interdisciplinary perspective, drawing
on knowledge from a range of academic fields;
• To acquaint the general public with key issues in international politics and Israeli foreign policy and
to encourage their discussion;
• To ensure that the knowledge and expertise of the Institute’s scholars regarding matters of security
and foreign affairs are available and accessible to the relevant elements in Israeli government

The Institute also advances research on foreign affairs, diplomacy, international law and institutions,
security studies, and negotiation and conflict resolution.
The Institute contributes generously to scholarships and grants in order to promote scholarship
concerning international studies. The Institute manages research projects and organizes public events,
including international conferences, workshops, and seminars. It also hosts researchers from Israel
and abroad and facilitates research groups, such as those focusing on energy and geopolitics, cyber
and security, and the future of Jerusalem. The Institute awards the annual David Carmon Prize for
outstanding work on International Relations, the Middle East, and Israel’s security.
The Institute publishes the periodical “Politika,” a Hebrew-language Journal of Political Science and
International Relations. It also publishes a column called Discovering the World on the popular online
news website Ynet, containing analyses and opinion pieces by scholars of international relations from
around the world.
The Institute established the Sophie Davis Forum on Gender, Conflict Resolution and Peace, a forum
focusing on the links between gender, conflict and peace, for example: the role of women in conflict and
conflict resolution, the peace process, and the use of gender research approaches for understanding
and resolving conflicts.
The Institute’s research track, known as the Davis Graduate School of International Relations (DGSIR), is
the product of cooperation between the Department of International Relations and the Davis Institute
for International Relations. This prestigious track, which offers combined M.A. and PhD studies, can be
completed in five years. It is a new program, the first of its kind in Israel, which grants research students
financial security in the framework of a high-achieving and challenging scholarly environment. 

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

Dr. Galia Press-Barnatan, 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 
Dr. Oded Löwenheim, 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

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