Shalem Center receives $5 million to start liberal arts college in Israel


 The Shalem Center in Jerusalem received a $5 million matching grant from the Chicago based Conduit Foundation to start Israel’s first liberal arts college, the Jerusalem Post reports.

The creation of the country’s first liberal arts college took a step closer to becoming a reality on Sunday, with the announcement of a $5 million donation from the Chicago-based Conduit Foundation to Shalem College, which is being spearheaded by the Shalem Center’s Martin Kramer.

In an interview with The Jerusalem Post last October, Kramer, who has been named the institution’s President-designate, laid out his vision for the college, which he agreed would be, “setting out to create a cadre of future leaders who see opportunities; a new elite that puts the collective good first.

“I am a great admirer of Israel’s universities,” Kramer said during the interview. “But they are focused on competing to enter the rankings of the top 50 universities in the world. That leads them to bolster the hard sciences and emphasize faculty research while essentially demoting the humanities and teaching, which count for less in rankings.”

Shalem College, on the other hand, will focus primarily on the humanities and social sciences, and take a broad approach towards its curriculum and admissions policies.

While the prospect of creating Israel’s first liberal arts college has received overwhelming support both domestically and abroad, financial backing for the venture, especially against the backdrop of the ongoing global financial crisis, had been a daunting prospect – until now.

The donation provided by the Conduit Foundation will allow for the college’s establishment and ideally, will help initiate additional funding from other sources. 

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