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About the Speaker

Our keynote speaker is the Honorable Daniel B. Shapiro, former United States Ambassador to Israel, who served from July 2011 until January 2017. Previously, he was Senior Director for the Middle East and North Africa on the National Security Staff at the White House, where he advised President Barack Obama and other senior U.S. officials on all aspects of U.S. policy in the region.

Ambassador Shapiro has said that HUC-JIR is “a beacon of tolerance, pluralism, and the pursuit of Tikkun Olam” and “a leading agent in promoting personal ties with Israel.”  During his tenure as U.S. Ambassador to Israel, the American Center, a project of the U.S. Embassy in Israel, supported HUC-JIR’s Teachers’ Room, convening Israeli Muslim, Christian, and Jewish educators from Jerusalem to create shared pedagogies for tolerance and pluralism. 

Ambassador Shapiro graduated summa cum laude from Brandeis University, with high honors in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and an additional concentration in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies.  He received a Master's degree in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University with a focus on modern Middle Eastern history and also studied at Hebrew University of Jerusalem.