Notre Dame reestablishes Jerusalem program

Author: Arts and Letters


After an eight-year hiatus, the University of Notre Dame’s Office of International Studies plans to reestablish its undergraduate program in Jerusalem next summer.

The 2009 Jerusalem Summer Program will take place from May 20 to July 3 at Notre Dame’s Ecumenical Institute for Theological Studies in Tantur, which is located on the main road between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Through structured academic and experiential learning, the program will offer students the opportunity to understand their potential as leaders in a global world through exposure to unique academics, research and cultural engagement in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Some 10 students will live in apartments at the institute and take courses, including Middle Eastern history, religion and culture, international relations and the Arab/Israel conflict, and Holy Land geography and archaeology. The program also will incorporate introductory language instruction in Hebrew and Arabic, as well as supervised visits to Galilee, Haifa, Jericho, Beer-Sheba, Acre and various archaeological and religious sites in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Rev. Patrick Gaffney, C.S.C., associate professor of anthropology and an Islamic studies scholar, has been appointed faculty director of the program and will serve as the primary professor for the offered courses, which also may include lectures by professors from Israeli and Palestinian universities. Stephen Steinbeiser will serve as on-site director and liaison between Notre Dame and the institute.

The Jerusalem Semester Program was suspended in 2000 due to escalating violence, however, the political situation has changed significantly in Jerusalem, and the program has adopted new security measures to minimize risk and maximize opportunities for student learning.

Contact: Liz LaFortune, Office of International Studies, 574-631-7251,

Originally published by Shannon Chapla at on June 23, 2008.