SIGNAL established the first Israel Studies Programs (ISPs) at universities in China. During 2011-2012, SIGNAL opened ISPs in cooperation with Sichuan International Studies University (SISU) in Chongqing, Henan University in Kaifeng, Shanghai International Studies University (SHISU) in Shanghai and Shihezi University in Shihezi, Xinjiang. Each program is customized to the specific character of the university and the province to engage students and faculty in the study of the modern State of Israel and its people in the most effective manner.
SIGNAL sponsored Israel Studies research paper competitions expose an ever-growing number of students to the modern Jewish State. For a full semester, under faculty supervised research, the students focus on a range of topics including Israel’s history, society, culture and politics.
Sichuan International Studies University:
The first Israel Studies research paper competition spanned from November 2010 to October 2011. Over 150 students submitted abstracts to participate in the competition. 76 were accepted. Each had a faculty supervisor. The event celebrating the competition winners took place in Oct. 2011.There were 26 winners – 1 first place – 10 second place and 15 third place winners.
ISU’s ISP in November 2012 held its second annual Israel Studies research paper competition and is currently planning its third research paper competition.
The ISP’s faculty includes professors and lecturers who studied at Bar Ilan University through SIGNAL’s ISP Lecturers’ Training Program in 2011 and 2012. Chen Guangmeng, who attended the Yad Vashem seminar and ISP training program in 2012, and Wu Bing, who attended in 2011, will start teaching at the SISU ISP in January 2013.
Lecturers at SISU last year included: Saul Singer, Ghil’ad Zuckermann, Elana Gomel, Yaakov Kirschen, and Joel Gereboff.
Henan University is located in East Central China, in Kaifeng, home to China’s ancient Jewish community established over one millennium ago. Henan is also home to China’s Hui Muslim minority. The university was formed at the turn of the century with the aim to train its students in Western thought and preparation for study abroad. Since the early 2000s, their main drive has been to further internationalize the university through student exchange. Today, it sends the most students of any university in China to overseas universities. Henan University has one of the country’s most successful Jewish Studies Programs. As in other universities, the Jewish Studies program plays a fundamental role in providing a structure for the nascent ISP.
Shanghai International Studies University:
SHISU’s ISP is built on a strongly established Jewish Studies program. Israel Studies therefore can quickly gain traction as they are building on an existing awareness of the Jewish people. During the Spring semester of 2013, SHISU will conduct a SIGNAL sponsored weekly lecture series; a different Chinese, Shanghai based scholar will give a talk each week on Israel Studies. All the scholars have studied in Israel and will lecture on topics specific to their research of Israel Studies. Scholars include: Liang Pingan and Niu Song from SHISU; Jin Liangxiang from Shanghai Institute for International Studies(SIIS); and Yu Weidong, Wang Shuming and Wang Zhen from Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.
The 1st Israel Studies Essay Competition spanned the entire fall semester with the award ceremony being held on Nov. 21st. Over 60 students attended the award ceremony and 29 papers were submitted.