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Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism receives major funding boost

Pears Foundation has announced £1.4 million of funding, which will run from 2015-2020

Pears Foundation has announced £1.4 million of funding for the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, based at Birkbeck. The funding will run from 2015-2020, and represents an ongoing commitment from the Foundation to support the world-leading research carried out by the Institute. Pears Foundation donated £1.5 million to Birkbeck in 2010 which facilitated both the establishment of the Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism and the relocation of the Wiener Library to the Birkbeck campus.

The Pears Institute is the only centre in the UK, and one of just two in Europe, whose mission is to promote understanding of antisemitism. Under the leadership of its Director, Professor David Feldman, the Institute has gained an international reputation for its innovative approach to the study of antisemitism and to exploring the connections between antisemitism and other forms of racism and intolerance. It has held path-breaking inter-disciplinary conferences and published widely, not only addressing antisemitism but also issues around race, multiculturalism, and relations between Muslims and Jews. The Institute is recognised as an important force in shaping public discourse and policy thinking on these issues. It has held over 60 events, including symposia at the House of Commons which brought together scholars and practitioners with politicians and government officials to explore UK and European issues of intolerance, antisemitism and extremism. In May 2014, the Institute published a public policy document, Integration, Disadvantage and Extremism, which was welcomed by Government.

The new funding supports the Institute’s continued growth, with the creation of a new fully-funded post for a social sciences lecturer, to extend the Institute’s teaching, and the continuation of the successful Pears Institute Early Career Fellowship scheme.

Trevor Pears CMG, Executive Chair of Pears Foundation commented: ‘The Pears Institute has quickly established itself as a pre-eminent centre for the study of antisemitism in the UK and internationally. Notably, it has become an important bridge between academic research and public policy. Our continued funding is in recognition of all that Professor David Feldman and his colleagues have achieved in these first five years, and the important role the Institute now plays in how antisemitism is identified, understood and challenged.’

Professor David Latchman CBE, Master of Birkbeck, said: “We are delighted that the Pears Foundation has committed to supporting the work of the Pears Institute. In the Institute’s first five years, Professor Feldman and his team have had a phenomenal impact on the international study of antisemitism and xenophobia. Their engagement with politicians and policy makers has been instrumental in shaping public discourse on some of the most pressing challenges that our society faces. I would like to extend my thanks to Trevor Pears and Pears Foundation for their continued support of this work.”

Professor David Feldman: “The continued and additional funding from Pears Foundation is a tremendous vote of confidence in our work and we are extremely grateful for the Foundation’s vision and commitment to seeking to address the challenging issue of antisemitism through scholarly engagement. The new funding will enable the Pears Institute to extend its innovative research and teaching at Birkbeck and continue its inclusive approach to working with academic and non-academic partners.”

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