Jan. 6, 2014

Provost James Brennan at the provosts' seminar in Tel Aviv.

James Brennan, provost of The Catholic University of America, is spending a week in Israel as a member of a delegation of nine provosts from American universities.

Brennan is visiting Tel Aviv and Jerusalem from Jan. 5 to 11 with Project Interchange, an educational institute of the American Jewish Committee that fosters connections between opinion leaders and policy makers with counterparts in Israel.

During the seminar for the provosts, they will meet with academic and business leaders from Israel and the Palestinian Authority. On Jan. 7 and 8, the delegation will meet with representatives from Tel Aviv University and Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Provost Brennan also will have private meetings with faculty from the two universities.

The trip will feature special presentations on interfaith relations in Israel as well as a presentation from the Arab Israeli Society. A Jan. 9 visit to Ramallah will include a meeting with the chief Palestinian negotiator and former Palestinian chief of the Palestinian Liberation Organization's Steering and Monitoring Committee.

In addition, the delegation will visit Christian holy sites in Galilee and Golan Heights, the Western Wall Tunnels, the Christian Biblical Museum, and the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial.

The other provosts on the trip represent Smith College, Sarah Lawrence College, Bard College, Rice University, Brown University, Dominican University of California, University of South Florida, and the University of Louisville.

Brennan's trip comes amid a public controversy that erupted after the American Studies Association (ASA) called for a boycott of Israeli universities to protest Israeli government policies. Approximately 100 U.S. university presidents, including Catholic University's John Garvey, issued statements rejecting the ASA's move as contrary to academic freedom. To read President Garvey's statement, visit http://president.cua.edu/res/docs/STATEMENT-ON-BOYCOTT-OF-ISRAELI-UNIVERSITIES.pdf .