Regional Short Courses provide an opportunity for AEN members to learn more about contemporary Israel, develop strategies related to countering the delegitimization of Israel on campus, and network with other interested faculty. The purpose of these Short Courses is to bolster the knowledge and skill set of AEN members who we hope will be active as regional leaders in AEN’s efforts to respond to challenges on their campuses. These 3-½-day Short Courses are limited to a small number of participants per course, and take place in regional hubs around the country, with reasonable travel and stay costs paid for by AEN.
On October 3-6, 2021, AEN convened 13 faculty members primarily from Midwestern colleges and universities for an intensive educational seminar at the University of Minnesota. The three-and-a-half-day gathering attracted social science and humanities instructors of various ranks from public and private campuses across the region.
The program featured a keynote address on the Abraham Accords by Ambassador Dennis Ross (watch below), education on contemporary antisemitism and anti-Zionism, discussion of academic freedom and campus free speech as they relate to recent academic departments’ one-sided statements on the May 2021 Israel-Gaza conflict, and training on successful strategies for countering academic BDS and Israel delegitimization on campus. Session topics also included how to meaningfully and productively engage across differences, prospects for peace in the Middle East from Israeli and Palestinian perspectives, and antisemitism and anti-Zionism in modern social movements.
Over the course of the conference, the faculty members exchanged best practices and networked with colleagues confronting similar challenges while also brainstorming how to tackle new campus realities. Participants left the Short Course better informed about campus issues related to AEN’s mission, better connected to their peers, and better prepared to serve as AEN Fellows and change agents on their campuses.