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Longtime Gildenhorn Institute Director To Retire

June 30, 2020 The Joseph and Alma Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies

Yoram Peri and the Gildenhorns

Yoram Peri leaves a legacy of exceptional leadership, scholarship and service.

By ARHU Staff

Yoram Peri, director of the Joseph and Alma Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies (GIIS), will resign his post on June 30, 2020, marking 10 years as the institute’s inaugural director.

Peri will continue as the Jack Kay Professor of Israel Studies at Maryland and the editor of the Israel Studies Review until his retirement in June 2021. Associate research professor and historian Paul Scham succeeds Peri as director of the Gildenhorn Institute, effective July 1, 2020.

“Yoram Peri has been an exceptional leader, who has established a premier institute responsible for expanding the field of Israel studies and educating countless scholars,” said Bonnie Thornton Dill, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. “I extend my sincerest appreciation for his excellent service.”

Peri has led the Gildenhorn Institute, developing it into a top-ranked Israel studies program. The program is one of the largest in the country with approximately 500 students taking about 15 courses annually in Israeli history, politics, society and culture. During Peri’s tenure, the institute has become a model for Israel studies centers around the world.

Years before the COVID-19 pandemic made it necessary to transition to online learning, Peri pioneered the development of global classrooms and online tools allowing for the simultaneous teaching of classes for students at Maryland and Tel Aviv University. 

Additionally, he is responsible for bringing more than 50 leading scholars to campus to lecture and teach courses on a range of topics such as the Israeli economy, the Bedouins, puppeteering, minorities in Israel and more.

Peri is the author of numerous research articles and books, many of which have received prestigious prizes and awards. The latest one is “Mediatized Wars: The Power Paradox and Israel’s Strategic Dilemma.” Within the Gildenhorn Institute, he created a significant publishing program, which has produced approximately 250 papers both online and in print. 

 His professional leadership and service in the field has bolstered the reputation of GIIS. Since 2011, he has served as the editor of the Israel Studies Review, the flagship journal of the association. He is also the vice president of the Association of Israel Studies.

Before his leadership of the Gildenhorn Institute, Peri served as a political adviser to late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and as editor-in-chief of the Israeli daily, Davar.

He has had a long career in academia, focusing primarily on Israeli society, politics, military and the media. He served as head of the Chaim Herzog Institute for Media, Politics and Society at Tel Aviv University, where he was also professor of political sociology and communication. A former senior fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University and at the U.S. Institute for Peace in Washington, D.C., Peri has also held visiting appointments at Harvard University, Dartmouth College, American University and the Hebrew University. 

Peri earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from Hebrew University and a Doctor of Philosophy in political science and sociology from the London School of Economics.

Photo (left to right): Dennis Ross, Liz Dubin, Yoram Peri and Joseph and Alma Gildenhorn.