Nelson Institute Co-Sponsors Visit and Lecture by Dr. Ra’anan Gissin, Senior Israeli Policymaker


November 7, 2005

HARRISONBURG—The Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs is honored to co-sponsor a November 15, 2005, visit to James Madison University by Dr. Ra’anan Gissin, senior advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who will deliver a public lecture in Grafton-Stovall Theatre at 7:00 p.m.

According to Dr. J. Peter Pham, director of the Nelson Institute, “This visit represents an extraordinary opportunity for JMU faculty and students to encounter a leading policymaker who has been engaged in Middle East security issues and the peace process over the course of nearly three decades: after Camp David, Dr. Gissin was involved in the planning and implementation of the Israeli withdrawal from Sinai; during the 1980s, he served as the spokesman for the Israeli Defense Forces during both the Lebanese conflict and the first ‘intifada’; and, in the 1990s, he was a special advisor to the Israeli delegation at the Madrid Peace Conference and the subsequent negotiations with Arab and Palestinian delegations in Washington.”

In addition to the public lecture, Dr. Gissin will participate in a faculty roundtable organized by the Nelson Institute as well as brief members of the press.

Dr. Gissin’s presence at the Harrisonburg, Virginia, campus is being sponsored by Caravan for Democracy, a private non-profit organization that drives constructive dialogue on college campuses throughout the United States by featuring different speakers from Israel to discuss the challenges Israel faces as the only democracy in the Middle East. Caravan for Democracy provides access to resources and opinions to encourage critical thinking about the issues affecting Israel, how it is covered in the media, and its unique role in the region. Caravan for Democracy hosts a lecture series featuring prominent Israeli figures representing a spectrum of political and philosophical thought who address students and their questions as well as make themselves available for briefings with faculty and media. Caravan for Democracy programs reach twenty campuses each semester and are sponsored by the Jewish National Fund, Hamagshimim, and Media Watch International. JMU Hillel and the Nelson Institute are co-sponsoring this visit.

Dr. Gissin’s public lecture is a JMU Wellness Passport event.