January 11, 2013

Alumni grant sponsors visiting Israeli scholars

An alumni contribution will soon facilitate cross-cultural dialogue between Israeli academics and UChicago law scholars.

David (J.D. ’76) and Laureine Greenbaum donated $1 million last month to bring visiting scholars from Israel to the Law School. The University will host the scholars for at least one quarter of every year to teach Law School courses and lecture in the College.

A faculty committee will be appointed to select the visiting scholars. According to Law School Dean Michael Schill, the process will be made easier because there are already substantial similarities between law scholars from UChicago and their Israeli counterparts.

“Israel is one of the few places where law and economics are both prevalent in legal education, and obviously the University of Chicago is the home of law and economics, so there are lots of scholars who already know each other and work with each other,” he said.

Beyond teaching, Schill said he hopes that the scholars will be able to participate fully in the UChicago community through working with other scholars to co-author papers and by offering workshops to students.

The donation is considered a “leadership gift.” This type of endowment goes toward establishing a new institution, the creation of which is overseen by the donors.

David, a member of the fundraising campaign committee, and Laureine offered their gift to support two causes they find especially meaningful: the Law School and Israeli-American dialogue.

Despite the political controversy surrounding Israeli-Palestine relations, Schill said that there was “no political component” to the gift.

Andrea Hoffman, the interim director of Hillel, said the organization has not yet made plans to collaborate with the visiting scholars, though she said that Hillel would be happy to work with them to ensure more meaningful cultural dialogue.

“We often don’t think about the nature of academia in other parts of the world, so this is going to be a tremendous opportunity to learn…about academia in Israel,” she said.