IFSA Diversity and Coexistence

Jerusalem, Israel


Fall, Spring
Language of Instruction

Arabic, English, Hebrew

Language Prerequisite


Finance Options
Scholarships, grants, financial aid, monthly payment plan, credit card payments and more!
Application Deadlines:
  • Fall: April 15
  • Spring: October 15—Extended to November 15
Min. GPA for Consideration:
Typical Credit Load:

About Diversity and Coexistence

Explore the intersections between identity, religion, nationalism and diversity in the city of coexistence Jerusalem. In the classroom, and through unique opportunities to engage with local communities, you will gain fresh insights on identity theory and politics of social movements in the Middle East, the United States, and around the world today.

Diversity and Coexistence Benefits

  • The program, located in the multicultural and ethnically diverse city of Jerusalem, allows students to interact with a wide variety of people of different backgrounds, religions, and diversity
  • Take advantage of this unique opportunity to explore the intersections between identity, religion, community, nationalism and diversity and hone your skill to promote global understanding and social justice
  • Take elective courses taught in English
  • Program located at Rothberg International School, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, one of the Middle East's most prestigious universities
  • Live and learn near Mount Scopus in the ancient city of Jerusalem, located within easy access to transportation, supermarkets, shopping, and eateries
  • IFSA orientation covering important health, safety, and security topics pertaining to Israel
  • Enjoy suite-style living with single bedrooms, living room, kitchen and bathroom facilities, air conditioning, laundry facilities
  • Outside of the classroom, you will participate in co-curricular activities designed to engage you with diverse communities and interrogate theories of identity and coexistence

The IFSA Difference

Your success is our success! Whatever your goals, our approach is carefully designed to help you achieve them.
You will experience challenging, rewarding coursework in the highest quality classes, while receiving the academic support you need.
More than a tourist in a foreign country, you will engage in the community, build competencies, and develop yourself as a citizen of the world.
Our programs and practices reflect the value we place on diverse perspectives and are designed to support a variety of learners.
Round out your classroom experience with hands-on opportunities like internships, directed research, student teaching, community-based learning or volunteering, and cultural excursions.
You will have academic and personal mentors to assist with program choice, application, travel, cultural acclimation, language acquisition, class registration, academic issues, health and safety, and everything in between.

Academics at Diversity and Coexistence

The Diversity and Coexistence program invites you to examine the complexities of pluralism and how Israeli citizens from vastly different cultural and national backgrounds forge their identity as individuals and communities. The semester is comprised of a pre-semester language course, one required course, and electives for a total of 17 credits. The core course and electives are taught in English.

Pre-semester Language (5 U.S. semester credit hours): Intensive Hebrew language study on four levels, Aleph to Dalet (Beginners to Lower-Advanced) and Heh and Vav (Advanced and Upper-Advanced). Arabic instruction is available on three levels for both Modern Standard Arabic (formal literary Arabic) and Amia (colloquial Palestinian Arabic). 

Diversity and Coexistence (3 U.S. semester credit hours): Resolving social tensions to attain harmony in a democratic society comprised of disparate social, religious, historical and cultural backgrounds is a global challenge today. This course examines the concepts of social identity, diversity, multiculturalism and coexistence. Modern tailor-made solutions of several nations which have dealt with racial tensions, social reconciliation after periods of violence, and the current influx refugees will be examined. Israel's struggles to reach social cohesion, while positively celebrating its diversity, will be explored through field trips as well as guest lecturers, allowing students to meet with grassroots activists in relevant fields.

Select 3 electives, or 1 elective plus an intensive Arabic or Hebrew language course for a total of 9 credits. Not all electives may be offered in a given semester depending on enrollment and faculty availability.

  • Hostility and Dialog: Narratives and Social—Psychological Dynamics of Intergroup Conflict (3 U.S. semester credit hours): Social-Psychological Dynamics of Intergroup Conflict (3 credits, fall semester only) This course aims to enable a reflective investigation and understanding of identities, narratives, and social and psychological needs of groups and individuals in ethnically and culturally diverse societies and in settings of intergroup conflict. It will examine the role played by narratives, identity-based motivations and other psychological factors in escalating intergroup conflicts and in strengthening exclusive and polar identities that deny the legitimacy of the other, as well as the constructive role that these factors may play in promoting processes of intergroup dialogue and peacebuilding.
  • Feminist Judaism,Theory and Practice: (3 U.S. semester credit hours, fall semester only) In this course, students will read some of the most important works of Jewish feminist critique of traditional Judaism and proposals for a Judaism which is in female as well as male image. Students will look at contemporary issues that engage feminist Jews, women and men, such as rituals and language of prayer, and see how theory gets applied in practice.
  • Issues in Israeli Society (3 U.S. semester credit hours) This course examines historical, social and political aspects of contemporary Israeli society. After analyzing the ideologies and groups that played a major role in the formation of Israeli society, class discussion will focus on social and political issues which are at the center of current debate in the country.
  • Media and Nationalism from an Israeli Perspective (3 U.S. semester credit hours, spring semester only) The relationship between nations and the mass media has a deep and long history. This course provides an opportunity to thoroughly explore the ways in which media and nation overlap, intersect and inform one another, using Israel as a case study. Students explore the instrumental role of films, television programs, news and other media in the construction of national narratives. Class presentations of ongoing independent research provide a platform for enriching our understanding of the complexity and variety of ways in which media and nation are related.
  • The Palestinians: Modern History and Society (3 U.S. semester credit hours) This course is a survey of the history, politics and society of the Palestinians in the 20th century. It focuses on the rise and development of Palestinian nationalism and the changing nature of the Palestinian population and leadership since WWI. The course will also examine the social structure, the family, gender relations and the transformation of Palestinian society. It concludes with an assessment of the causes, results and effects of the wars in the region, the negotiations, and agreements between Israel and the PLO/PNA since 1991, as well as the prospects of peace and security in the Middle East.
  • Challenges of Regional Cooperation-A Comparative Perspective (3 U.S. semester credit hours, spring semester only) We often hear discussions and speculations regarding the chances of regional cooperation in the Middle East. Many of these discussions are inspired by the successful history of regional cooperation in Europe in the aftermath of WWII. The goal of this course is to explore the basic conceptual tools and competing theoretical arguments within the academic field of International Relations, which try to explain the nature, scope and degree of success of various regional cooperation schemes, and then apply them to the world around us.
  • Politics and Violence: Selected Topics (3 U.S. semester credit hours, spring semester only) This course offers theoretical tools for analyzing the relationship between politics and violence, drawing primarily from classical sociological perspectives. Empirically, we will cover a range of historical and contemporary cases in Europe, North America, Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. Central themes include the relationship between violence and social structure, state action and resistance, biological and embodied understandings of violence, cultural representations and ethical constraints on its use.
  • Negotiating Middle East Peace (3 U.S. semester credit hours, spring semester only) This course focuses upon the topic of negotiations and conflict resolution in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict since 1977 to present. It is divided into four parts. First, a general theoretical framework for explaining and understanding negotiations in international relations with reference to issues and patterns of negotiations in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Several case studies of successes and failures of negotiations between Israel and its several Arab neighbors. In the last part of the course, students play a simulation and present their papers.
  • Hebrew Language (6 U.S. semester credit hours) Hebrew instruction is available on six levels, from complete beginner (Aleph) to upper advanced (Vav).
  • Arabic Language (6 U.S. semester credit hours) Arabic instruction is available on three levels for both Modern Standard Arabic (formal literary Arabic) and Amia (colloquial Palestinian Arabic).
    • Arabic Immersion Program - Beginners Fusha
    • Arabic Immersion Program - Intermediate Fusha
    • Arabic Immersion Program - Advanced Fusha
    • Arabic Immersion Program - Beginners Amia
    • Arabic Immersion Program - Intermediate Amia
    • Arabic Immersion Program - Advanced Amia (spring semester only)
OTHER ELECTIVE OPTIONS  (3 U.S. semester credit hours each)
  • Religion and Conflict in the Middle East: A Jewish Perspective (spring semester only) 
  • Israeli Narratives of War and Peace
  • Colloquial Arabic Beginners
  • Independent Study: The purpose of Independent Study is to afford the motivated student an opportunity to pursue an area of study in his/her major which is not available in the normal framework of the Undergraduate Study Abroad Program. Applicants for such study are expected to develop a sound rationale for their individual research project. Independent Study requires faculty guidance and must reflect an intensive research project.
  • Exploring Community & Culture in a Global Context: In addition to required and elective courses, IFSA students may participate in an exciting online course with a global cohort from IFSA locations around the world. Enrolling in this course brings your course load to, or above, 18 U.S. semester credit hours and requires approval from your study abroad advisor. Through a creative online format, this course facilitates active engagement with your host community, exploration of cultural identity and examination of diversity in the context of political, economic and sociocultural structures. Students cover topics such as intercultural communication skills, intercultural learning theories, tools for intercultural analysis and the development of personal strategies for engaging with differences of any kind following the study abroad experience. This course is ideal for students who seek transferable skills and specific competencies for successful work in the global marketplace. The asynchronous course format allows you to take part in online discussions, post responses, review peer contributions, submit your assignments, read materials and watch instructor videos at the time of day (or night) that best suits your personal schedule. Check out the course syllabus here.
Special Curriculum Options
Students who prefer an alternative to the Diversity and Coexistence program may enroll in other undergraduate programs at Rothberg International School, Hebrew University of Jerusalem (RIS). Students who elect to take a Hebrew University course outside of the standard Rothberg International School (RIS) and IFSA options, which requires them to stay beyond the published program dates, may encounter an additional housing supplemental fee. Please visit the Rothberg International School program page for more information.
Prof. Ofer Shinar Levanon teaches the Diversity and Coexistence core course designed exclusively for IFSA students. All other language and elective courses are taught by instructors at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rothberg School of International Studies (RIS).
After you return to the U.S., IFSA will send a Butler University transcript to your home university and to your permanent address. The transcript reflects the courses taken, credits attempted, and grades earned during your term abroad. This service is included in your study abroad program at no additional cost

Housing & Meals

Housing Type
Residence Hall/Dormitory
Meals are not included in the program fee, although some group meals are provided during orientation and other events. All accommodations are self-catering. No meal plans are available, though numerous student-friendly cafeterias and restaurants are available on and near campus.

The IFSA Team

IFSA has a dedicated team who are here to help you prepare to achieve your goals. Feel free to reach out. We are happy to answer your questions!

Program Advisor

Resident Director

Monica Wasserbach's headshot

Monica Wasserbach

Resident Director Israel Programs

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Academic Affairs Director

Heather Young's headshot

Heather Young

Associate Director for Academic Affairs

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Dates and Fees

Fall 2018

Program Dates

Program Start Date
August 15, 2018
Program End Date
December 27, 2019

Program Fees

Total Program Fee
Students pay a $500 non-refundable program deposit upon confirmation of attendance. The deposit is applied to the tuition portion of the program fee.
Supplemental Fees
Any courses taught at Hebrew University outside Rothberg International School (RIS) or in conjunction with other Jerusalem institutions may require students to stay longer than the published program end date and therefore may be subject to a supplemental housing fee.

Estimated Costs

Books & Supplies
Local Transportation
Personal Expenses
(Includes utilities, laundry, entertainment, expected start-up costs, etc. Does not include personal travel.)
Total Estimated Costs

Spring 2019

Program Dates

Program Start Date
January 16, 2019
Program End Date
June 5, 2019

Program Fees

Total Program Fee
Students pay a $500 non-refundable program deposit upon confirmation of attendance. The deposit is applied to the tuition portion of the program fee.

Estimated Costs

Books & Supplies
Local Transportation
Personal Expenses
(Includes utilities, laundry, entertainment, expected start-up costs, etc. Does not include personal travel.)
Total Estimated Costs