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Hebrew U. Opens Abba Eban Center Focusing on Diplomatic History

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A center for the study of Israel’s diplomatic history named after Abba Eban, the country’s doyen of diplomacy, was to be opened formally Thursday at the Hebrew University.

The center will house Eban’s voluminous personal archives, as well as audio and video material collected by the former foreign minister in connection with his public television series and new book, published in the United States this week.

Eventually, Eban told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, he hoped a full chair in Israeli diplomatic history will evolve out of the new center.

The center’s present plans, he said, provide for an annual conference that will include key figures active in various periods of Israeli diplomacy. The center will also present seminars, lectures, and house a large library on Israeli diplomatic history.

“Not diplomatic history in general,” Eban stressed, “nor Israeli history. But Israeli diplomatic history.” He noted that until now, the subject was not recognized as a specialized academic discipline in any Israeli university.

The Eban center was created with donations from two leading figures in British Jewry: Lord Wolfson and Henny Gestetner.

“They felt it was not natural that there is no institution in Jerusalem linked to me,” Eban said. “They asked what could help me in my work. I mentioned my very large archives, representing 41 years of involvement in Israeli diplomacy, as ambassador, minister and Knesset member. I retain a great deal of what I would call `the memory of the country,'” Eban said.

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