With the rise of China being one of the most significant global phenomena of recent decades, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has been the pioneer in Chinese studies in Israel with its department of East Asian Studies already established in the 1960s. The department, which in 2010 was recognized by the rector of the University as the “best academic unit,” provides a comprehensive training program in Chinese language, history and politics for both BA and MA students. Nowadays Chinese studies at the Hebrew University are ranked among the top five European centers of Sinological research. This state of international renown would have been unthinkable without the support of the Polonsky Foundation over the last two decades.
The Polonsky Foundation has initiated and supported various activities and projects, all intended to promote and enhance the study of China at the Hebrew University. These activities have been all-encompassing, relating to the wide range of topics we strive to provide for the training of our students. They include, for example, the pioneering Polonsky Foundation Overseas Scholarships which are granted to outstanding advanced students going to study in China; the PhD fellowships with special preference for Chinese studies; the increasingly rich databases owned by the Asian Languages Library of the Hebrew University; the intensive Chinese language summer course in China; the support of an M.A. translation workshop tour to Hunan, China, following the footsteps of the eminent Chinese writer Shen Congwen; and, the unparalleled 2011 International Conference for Asian Studies (ASI2011). All these projects have enabled our students to gain first-hand experience of China and to reach the highest international standards. Over the years the Polonsky Foundation has shaped the new generation of Israeli Sinologists and contributed to the training of China specialists in the fields of business and diplomacy.